The Decency Project

This is a guest post. Pretty much, anyway.  A good friend, Nate Manning, wrote the following on his Facebook timeline, and I shamelessly ripped it of, posting it here without edit.

It’s kindness and decency in action.

“Rant alert: On the way to work I saw a woman with her baby standing on the side of a busy intersection next to her broken down Explorer in the left lane. When I pulled over and asked if anyone was coming to help her, she said her husband was coming up from the Tech Center (about an hour away with rush hour traffic) and no one had even asked her if she needed help. So another woman and I got out to help. The issue was we were on a busy street during rush hour right before a large intersection in the left lane, and we had to get her over into the right lane to get the car out of the way. I got in the middle of the right lane to get traffic to stop, but people just kept going around me. Finally, I got right in front of a car and yelled at her to stop, and was rewarded with a dirty look. The mother got her baby in the Explorer, put the car in neutral and the other woman and I pushed it a couple hundred yards to a parking lot where she would be safe and out of the way until her husband arrived.

“I’m not posting this for props. I just wish it’s what most people would do, but I’m not so sure anymore. In the Colorado I grew up in there would have been 10 people stopping to help as soon as her car broke down. Now I feel like the Colorado I know has changed and people don’t help people, much less even smile or say hello. I guess the people who care about complete strangers must have moved down to Houston. If total strangers can wade through chest high contaminated flood water to help someone stuck in their car and save their lives (and this same scenario has played our countless times over the last couple of days all over Southeastern Texas), helping a stranger with a broken down car on the side of the road is nothing. What the hell is wrong with people who couldn’t be bothered to help, much less stop their cars to let those who were helping through?

“So, take some time today to do something nice for a stranger. I don’t care if it’s smiling at them, letting someone in during traffic or buying the person behind you a cup of coffee in the Starbucks drive through. Do it in honor of all the bravery being shown in Houston and those surrounding communities. Do it to help us bring this divided country together. Do it because it’s the freaking decent human thing to do.”

Trump  would not get this, which, once again, recalls the pathos of his existence for which we should all have compassion. He won’t get it, but most of the rest of us do.

Tomorrow,  let’s each of us perform a random act of kindness. It’s the decent thing to do.

The Decency Project

We do not fight Trumpian outrages with logical arguments or WTF outrages of our own, because they don’t seem to be working. Instead, we counter with decency, love, and kindness, and hence The Decency Project. Among the many mundane joys one will never find in T-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s household are dogs.

The shelter dog above expressed several changes when she learned the White House was thinking of adopting her. As you can tell from the final frame, she’s asking to please just stay in the shelter. I totally made that up, of course, but hey. It could be true.

And who can tell us more about love, kindness, and decency than the furry fellows below? But again, they also speak to the pathos accompanying decency: Trump will likely never experience the unbounded, simple joy a dog brings home, and yes, that’s sad.

Here are a few Trumpistanian remarks reflecting an intrinsic ignorance of the dogness that so many of us know and love.

“@GlennBeck got fired like a dog by #Fox.”

“I hear that sleepy eyes @chucktodd will be fired like a dog from the ratings starved Meet The Press?”

These go on. Just change the name of the individual being “like a dog.” Who can forget the time he recalled watching Sen Marco Rubio “sweat like a dog?” Mitt Romney “choked like a dog.” Brent Bozell came to Trump’s office” begging for money like a dog.” Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson “like a dog.”

To refute the above: Dogs don’t sweat, they pant, so Rubio’s off the hook. Dogs choke now and then, but they’re far more likely to puke, which Romney only did in private while watching the Republican primaries. And a dog would never beg for money. Cat poop, okay, but not money. And if a dog were going to cheat, in a carnal way, it wouldn’t be with just one other dog.

The message, then, is this: If Trump is annoying you today, pet your dog.

The Decency Project

It’s one of those times when the mundane becomes the sublime, which is why this photo is part of the Decency Project.

My past few days have been blessed by pictures neighborhood parents posted of their children starting their first day of school.  Admittedly, it’s a retrograde passage of my life, since I recall the first day of school for each of my children as though it just happened.  It’s one of those seminal moments in a parent’s life that lasts forever, and like hashmarks on the door jamb showing the rate of your child’s growth, these instances mark the growth of your personal history and lend it worth. An objective correlative, it you will.

An unfortunate fact of the Decency Project is the inherent pathos invoked when juxtaposed alongside on Donald Trump. Can you imagine a picture of him as a grinning little boy off to his first day of school? Did his parents even want one of him?

Can you imagine him having one of his own children? Or, for that matter, his children of their children?

For me, the answer is no, and it’s pretty sad, really. The rest of us, the 99.9999 percent of Americans, enjoy lives packed full of these cherished moments, and the likelihood that Trump does not and will not invokes a certain compassion for him, at least for me.

 

 

 

The Decency Project

Day 283 or so of The Apocalypse, and T-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is still the American president. Every day since he began his evil journey from the bowels of Trumpistan, people, pundits, politicians, you name it, have proclaimed, “He can’t last–he’s finished this time.”

Well.

Refuting him with facts doesn’t seem to work. In fact, as George Lakoff has pointed out,  logical refutation is not only useless, it instead reinforces the outrages Trump utters. Snark and satire amuse, but haven’t slowed him a whit. Those speaking principled opposition create their own echo chamber and seem to feed the beast more than wound it. It’s very frustrating.

It’s time to try something different, and I’m proposing the Decency Project, whereby we offer up ideas and notions that replace Trumpisms rather than simply oppose them. Even the name itself–Decency–suggests replacement, since nothing decent exists in Trumpistan. The idea comes from something one of my neighborhood groups, the Family Co-op, did recently with its Kindness Project, whereby members painted rocks with kind or inspirational sayings and hid them like Easter eggs throughout the neighborhood.

The Decency Project will post pictures or videos or whatever of decent events, people,  or actions that happen in the U.S. every day that Trump and his ilk can only look at with envy. Without further explication, I post the following, of fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara swearing in 30 immigrants as new American citizens and leading them in the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s an ironic and sublime moment Trump will never, ever be a part of.

If you like this project and feel compelled to join me, please do so!

Day 281 of the Apocalypse

My father used to tell the story of the guy who rounded the cliff too fast in his new car and tumbled over the edge. He was lucky enough to grab a branch as he fell down the mountain, but after hanging onto the branch for a few hours, he became quite tired. “Can anyone hear me?” he shouted. No response.  “God? Hello, God? Can you hear me?” he yelled.

A voice boomed down from the heavens. “I can hear you,” the voice said.

“Can you help me?” the man said.

“Do you believe in God?” the voice replied.

“Oh, yes! Yes!” the man said.

“If you believe in God, let go of the branch,” said the voice.

The man thought about it for several seconds. “Can anyone else hear me?” he said.

Each of us has experienced those moments in which we feel ignored by an impersonal, even unjust universe. We shout our frustrations to someone who may or may not be in charge, because it’s the best we’ve got and it’s all we can do.  But nothing happens. Nothing changes.

Today is the 281st of the Apocalypse known as the election of one Donald Trump, whereby the hordes from Trumpistan rode in shouting their racist, sexist, nationalistic cant and stole the reins of our country. The outraged among us have marched, attended town halls, contacted our elected representatives, and otherwise done whatever we could think of to resist, only to be answered with silence as the outrages continue unabated.

On Friday, August 12, a white Nazi sympathizer plowed into a crowd of anti-white nationalist protesters. Two police officers also died when their helicopter crashed. A handful of elected leaders offered statements of outrage, though most politicians were either silent or uttered a few hackneyed, anodyne syllables of CYA.

Of note, though, was pharmaceutical giant Merck’s CEO, Kenneth Frazier, who resigned from Trump’s Manufacturing Advisory Council as a matter of conscience. Trump, if you’ll recall refused to call out white supremacists or white nationalists.

More noteworthy, though, are the other members of the council who said nothing. Ms. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup, issued an Orwellian newspeak response, saying, “…Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is unwavering, and we will remain active champions for these efforts. We believe it is important for Campbell to have a voice and provide input on matters that will affect our industry, our company and our employees in support of growth.  Therefore, Ms. Morrison will remain on the President’s Manufacturing Jobs Initiative.”

Below is a list of the others on the council with hyperlinks to contact them. It was the best I could pull together, but let them know what you think in a respectful way.

UPDATE: Under Armour’s Kevin Plank has stepped down and made a forceful statement!

UPDATE: Brian Krzanich Intel CEO, has exited the council and made a statement!

UPDATE: Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing has resigned, citing conscience.

UPDATE (8/16/17): Inge Thulin, CEO of IBM, has resigned from the council. So did Denise Morrison of Campbell Soup. A few minutes ago, Trump tweeted that he was disbanding the council.

Andrew Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company,  anliveris@dow.com

Michael Dell, Dell Technologiesmichael@dell.com

Bill Brown, Harris Corporationhttps://www.harris.com/about/contact-us

John Ferriola, Nucor Corporation info@nucor.com

Jeff Fettig, Whirlpool Corporation  https://www.whirlpool.com/services/contact-us.html

Jim Hackett, Ford Motor Company, media@ford.com

Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson  https://www.ccc-consumercarecenter.com/UCUConfiguration?id=a0758000004NIaL

Greg Hayes, United Technologies Corp.  makethingsbetter@utc.com

Marilynn Hewson, Lockheed Martin Corporation  http://m.lockheedmartin.com/m/us/contact.html

Jeff Immelt, General Electric  https://www.ge.com/contact/general

Jim Kamsickas, Dana Inc. , jeff.cole@dana.com

Klaus Kleinfeld, Arconicmediainquiries@arconic.com.

Brian Krzanich, Intel Corporation  https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/forms/corporate-responsibility-contact-us.html

Rich Kyle, The Timken Company  http://www.timken.com/contact-general/

Thea Lee, AFL-CIO  pressclips@aflcio.org

Mario Longhi, U.S. Steel  https://www.ussteel.com/newsroom

Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company, https://www.campbellsoupcompany.com/connect-with-campbell/email/

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing  http://www.boeing.com/contact-us.page. Scroll down a bit.

Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar. New CEO is Dave Calhoun.  http://www.caterpillar.com/en/contact.html

Scott Paul, Alliance for American Manufacturing  http://www.americanmanufacturing.org/pages/contact

Kevin Plank, Under Armour  mediarelations@underarmour.com

Michael Polk, Newell Brands  Corporate Communications

Mark Sutton, International Paper  http://www.internationalpaper.com/contact-us

Inge Thulin, 3M, https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/help-center/

Richard Tumka, AFL-CIO  pressclips@aflcio.org

Wendell Weeks, Corning  https://www.corning.com/worldwide/en/contact-us.html