What is lost? The clash of Me vs. We.

I keep seeing people, most especially Trump supporters (and most likely why they are Trump supporters) complaining about welfare programs, pivoted against single payer healthcare, or even that healthcare is a human right. I hear them complain about our younger generations wanting a free ride, with publicly supported post secondary education (that would be college and trade schools) and even against providing equal learning opportunities in childhood education. I hear them oppose government assistance for childcare, public spending in schools to support children with disabilities and even increasing the minimum wage so that those who work full time jobs are not living in abject poverty. What I continually hear from the middle class, under-educated segment is that they had to endure in an unfair system that did not promote their talents, that they had to scrape by, so future generations should, too. What I hear from the wealthier of this population is that if people want things like a good education and healthcare, then they shouldn’t be poor and lazy.

They claim the people wanting these things are selfish, greedy and looking for handouts. But I can’t help but see this another way. The opposition to these programs and progress are the greedy ones. All they think about is themselves. Their whole perspective on life is based on greed. Me! I! My! Mine! It is like a mass case of arrested adolescence where no one bothered to mature past the ‘me’ stage of a two year old. They cannot see the benefits to our society because they do not care about the society, only about their microenvironment inside it. They cannot see past their own greed to understand what is truly gained by the progress of humanity towards a healthier, more equal society. They celebrate the obstruction or dismantling of the safety nets we have created and refuse to see what is lost.

Now, I can go into the statistics, the math, the logistics of why their mentality is wrong and not what was intended for our society. I can explain how our capitalist economy was never meant to reign unchecked. Historically, corporate profits were heavily taxed. Why? How did that work? Wouldn’t that destroy jobs and the economy? Well, no. It actually did what trickle down economics did not. Corporations had to use their money to grow their business, pay their employees better and make investments for the future. If they didn’t, they paid a high tax. They were penalized for keeping too much money at the top with high percentage tax brackets for those making inordinate sums of money. That was how the system successfully worked. This was how families could survive on a single income, because the income disparity was far more rational than what we find today. I can explain how minimum wage was introduced to ensure that anyone working a full time job made a decent living. The minimum wage was a working class protection against corporations who would use the desperation of someone needing a job as an asset to boost profits by paying poverty wages.

While these truths are compelling, and weighted with solid fact and history, they are not what I particularly want to address. I want to broaden this discussion beyond these things to a greater understanding of civilizations, both historical and fundamental, and what is required from a successful government to ensure the continuation of a thriving population. What should the people expect from their society?

Great civilizations flourished because they were in a state of constant transformation and had a clear idea of what held them in power: the citizens. Throughout history, once any civilization or empire became too imbalanced between the wealthy and working class, revolution ensued. Societies which predicted and met the growing needs of the people and the demands of an increasing population would flourish, while those locked in greed would fail. Countries across the globe have recognized that with an increasing population, the responsibilities of governments must change to ensure the welfare and best interests of their people. If they wish to continue to grow and evolve in a changing world, ever more dependent of a global economy, they must meet these challenges and provide the adequate necessities for their citizens’ success. That is the fundamental purpose of a civilization. If any nation remains too stagnated and does not grow to meet the increasing needs of its people, it will fail. Corruption will become paramount, greed will create a larger and larger divide between those who have much, ever wanting more, and those who have little or nothing. A successful government knows that too many citizens with little or nothing means an army of people with little or nothing to lose.

The world and the potential of humanity is ever changing. Technology increases at exponential rates. Money and goods circle the globe at fantastic speeds. The United States of America is in competition with a host of other nations battling in the world market. Money comes from everywhere and goes everywhere. Because our nation is failing to grow and provide for its citizens, failing to prepare them to participate in this economy, the US is beginning to fall behind. But how do things like Universal Healthcare, Post Secondary Education, Endowment of the Arts, Childcare, Maternity and Paternity Leave, Equal Rights, Special Needs Programs, Food Assistance and Welfare actually make our country more successful in the world market?

Well, a healthy society is more productive. Universal Healthcare means earlier diagnosis of illnesses, which most often translates into more effective and less costly treatment. It removes the strain of medical costs from the majority of the population. It also allows for quick dispensing of treatment of vaccinations in the event of large outbreaks or epidemics. As populations grow and become more condensed, the necessity of universal healthcare becomes paramount to a stable society.

Post Secondary Education is easy to defend. There are so many social benefits, it is alarming we have turned education into a commodity. Technology is wiping away core segments of jobs. Automation is taking them. You do not need telephone operators to transfer calls in a business, that is what automated answering systems do. People can push buttons or select tabs on a screen to place orders for anything from food to furniture, even cars. Mobile banking is reducing the need for bank tellers. Self checkout at stores means fewer checkers. Automation in factories provides more consistent quality, fewer accidents and less labor expenses. These jobs, and many more like them, are disappearing and will not return. But there are jobs, many job opportunities which have been created by our transforming world. Unfortunately, they require specialized training or degrees. Providing this education means we fill those positions with our citizens, promoting a stable economy. But there is much more. It also means every child has an opportunity at a successful job regardless of their economic circumstance. It means no one is trapped by poverty. It means every person is able to pursue a career which interests and intrigues them. It allows primary and secondary schools to strategize a child’s education based on their interests and talents. This is a proven path to success. More than merely creating a better quality of life for individuals, we know that the better educated a society, the less crime it has. This was one of the fundamental reasons the United States developed free education to begin with, and kept extending it. A better educated society is more peaceful and harmonious, with less incidents of both petty and violent crime. A High School education used to be adequate to fill a majority of decent paying jobs. That is no longer the case. With the cost of college or trade schools so high that it is outside the reach of many, or the debt incurred is disproportionate to the income of the skills learned, we are creating a surplus of people only qualified to do jobs which no longer exist, and a shortage of skilled professionals for the new employment markets. Those new markets are largely unattainable because it simply requires too much money to get that job. What happens when large segments of people are jobless or underemployed? Poverty, crime, illness, anger, discontent.

The Arts are the expressions of our society. They inspire growth and reflect on the very elements which make us human. There is not a single long enduring civilization in history which did not promote the arts. In fact, artists, poets, storytellers, musicians, actors, writers, and sculptors were held in high esteem for they provided a center to life, something every person could identify with, a common thread of creativity that people can aspire to greatness not merely through monumental achievements, but in ordinary lives, like in love and honor. Beauty was something anyone could attain. The Arts are a fundamental core to every great civilization.

Now, I can continue through the list. I can express how every program is essential to growth in our society. I can continue to tell you what we gain by a maturing out of this two-year-old mentality. But what is lost by remaining stagnant? Well, the poor will become increasingly poorer and larger segments of the population will fall below poverty levels. As families and people become desperate, crime will rise. More and more of our jobs will be outsourced because we do not have the skilled workers to fill them. The family structure will continue its demise. Drug, alcohol and substance abuse will continue to increase. The middle class will become a minority with a crippling weight of tax burden as the oligarchy assimilates the government to its own profit. When our children live without hope, when the burden of even meager success is too high or unattainable, then we lose our artists. We lose our culture. We lose the genius creativity which would propel us forward. We lose the future of science, we fall behind in technology. We lose our identity, our history and our future. This is what happens when societies, in an abundance of greed, stop growing and nurturing their citizens. Eventually there is nothing but eternal greed at the top (because there is no such thing as ‘enough’) and discontent and anger at the bottom. A crumbling foundation, without fail,  will bring the tallest building down.

We lose everything.

 

We are One woman, One World.

 

Ann Lavendar Truong

Photo credit: Matt Black, Huffington Post

Post Note!  Lavendar Thoughts will soon be host to some very talented guest bloggers! There are simply too many things for just one woman to say! We are also designing  new website which will not only feature this blog as a running segment, but additional articles from contributors across the country and around the globe, united in the the universal purpose to bring equality to all people. The new e-zine does not yet have a release date, but I will keep you informed on the progress. If you feel inspired to join this cause as a contributor, please message me and I will give you the details on that process. Together, we can change the world.

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AnnLavendar.com     LeeLooPub.com   Author Mishka Williams  BrickWilson.com    UtimateGalacticUniverse.com

Breast Cancer Is No Joke, Senator Roberts

A gathering of distinctively Y chromosomes, also known as the House Freedom Caucus, converged on the White House to demand the dismemberment of women’s healthcare Thursday, March 23. Perhaps they think that being male gives them an unbiased perspective of women’s healthcare needs. Maybe they think women are just too close to the issue to judge it without prejudice, so they are really doing the female half of the population a favor by ignoring their input and relying solely on the judgement of men. You know, men who do not have ovarian or cervical cancer and have a far lower incidence of breast cancer. These men want everything that uniquely covers women to be excluded  from mandatory health coverage and listed as optional, thus making it a literal pre-existing condition to be a woman.

Senator Pat Roberts even had a joke, at the expense of all women who have been stricken with breast cancer, as he sarcastically stated,

“I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.”

Well, Senator Roberts, if you were a woman, you certainly wouldn’t want to lose them, or be forced to pay much higher insurance premiums simply because you have breasts. Here are some facts for you to ponder:

Here are the projections by the American Cancer Society for 2017:

  • About 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
  • About 63,410 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
  • About 40,610 women will die from breast cancer.

While yes, men can develop breast cancer, let us put this in perspective. Approximately 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime as opposed to 1 in 1,000 men.

The death rates for breast cancer have been decreasing since 1989, in large part, due to public awareness and early detection screenings, which include (you guessed it) mammograms. Millions of women are alive today because of mammograms, Sen. Roberts. Millions. Despite this, breast cancer is still the second deadliest cancer among women in the United States. Without coverage for early detection, how many more women will die as a result of this disease? How many women are you willing to sacrifice, Sen. Roberts, simply because it is an illness you are unlikely to develop?

Also, I was just wondering when the Trump administration was going to hold a conference comprised of women to discuss the necessity of medical coverage for prostate exams? I have been digging through Trumpcare and simply cannot find where they are saying that prostate exams should be optional coverage.

You know, I am a woman and I do not have a prostate!  Surprise! I wouldn’t miss my prostate exams, either. But, the truth is, I don’t want to take prostate exams away from men. Maybe it is just those duo X’s I have making me more compassionate, but I’d rather like to think it is because I am a decent human being who doesn’t get my jollies by watching people needlessly die. Make no mistake, that is what we are talking about. These hardliners in the GOP want more of the people they think of as unsavory to just die. To these people, if you aren’t wealthy enough to afford designer healthcare, then you are subhuman. You don’t deserve to live. And only white men have the right to determine your rights to life and liberty. You have only to look at this room, this meeting regarding the future of women’s healthcare, to see exactly how much the white patriarchy is still in control of the GOP.

For the millions of women who have survived breast cancer, and the millions more who have died, and the hundreds of thousands who will be diagnosed in the coming months, breast cancer is no joke. RESIST.

We are One Woman, One World

Ann Lavendar Truong

Resources

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/about/how-common-is-breast-cancer.html

http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/trump-health-care-summit-white-guys

Additional resources for the Resistance! (Thanks Dr. Fisher for sending me this link)

https://www.countable.us/

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

AnnLavendar.com     LeeLooPub.com   Author Mishka Williams  BrickWilson.com    UtimateGalacticUniverse.com

Touched By Trump: Gorsuch Must Be Blocked from SCOTUS

Judge Neil Gorsuch is an imminent threat to women’s rights and the premise of equal rights and civil liberties in our nation. He has an atrocious record for siding against actual citizens in favor of corporations, exalting businesses above the stature of the people. This is another uniquely Republican idea to maintain wealth at the top and create an ever-increasing venue of poor, dejected workers who will gladly take whatever crumbs they are given, socially brainwashed into believing they should be grateful for a meager paycheck. Gorsuch has a record of opposing measures to ensure equal rights for women and minorities. He would eagerly cast the deciding vote to overturn women’s reproductive rights.  Gorsuch is everything the alt-right extremists want in a SCOTUS Justice. That means he is exactly what the majority of US Citizens would deplore.

Considering the testimony yesterday by Comey and Rogers, maybe Democrats should take a straw from the GOP hat and suggest that it looks like we will have a new president soon, so why not wait? They didn’t want to even give Obama’s nominee a hearing. At this point, anyone touched by Trump is suspect, especially considering the majority of this administration should be in jail. Sorry Gorsuch, you may have nothing to do with the the Trump Treasongate, but we cannot afford even the smallest chance of putting a foreign enemy sympathist on the Supreme Court of the United States. If all the horrible decisions you have judicially made against the interests of citizens were not enough, this, alone, disqualifies you. You’ve been touched by Trump and you can’t wash that off.

Resist!

We are One Woman, One World

Ann Lavendar Truong

photo credit: Getty Images

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

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The Beginning of the End? Trump Administration: Putin America First

After Trump has spent his first sixty days in office systematically dismantling our government and the various agencies designed to better serve our citizens and communities, is today the beginning of the end? Is there light ahead? This morning both the NSA and FBI are testifying before congress. The NSA confirmed and stood by their assessment of Russian cyber-assault interference in our election process. This is old news. However, Comey, the Director of the FBI, confirmed before congress an ongoing investigation both into the cyber interference by Russia and the potential collusion with Russia by the Trump Campaign. This is big news.

As details are still unfolding, I hope to report back on this with more information. The signs, at this point, are pointing toward impeachment, or resignation, with a giant question mark as to what will happen next. Mike Pence, being part of the Trump campaign, could also be considered complicit. Further, the entire election would be seen as invalidated.  Would we simply run down the list or file a lawsuit to hold a special election? There is truly no precedent for treason of this potential scale.

The good news is that this should hold off any serious appointments by Trump. Any person he seeks to place in positions of power must be treated with the highest of scrutiny. If the GOP want a reason for the Democrats to delay confirmation on SCOTUS, we can always use the Republican excuse for not confirming Obama’s nominee: we shouldn’t appoint a Supreme Court Justice when a new president will soon be taking office. That sounds fair to me. After all, the last thing we want is a Russian agent on our Supreme Court. At this point, we cannot take for granted that anyone in line with the Trump Administration is really putting America first. More like, Putin America first.

Continue the Resistance! We need answers. We deserve justice.

We are One Woman, One World

Ann Lavendar

photo credit: esquire.com

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UnAffordable Healthcare Act

The GOP’s new double-whammy bills to both repeal and replace the ACA, which Trump is affectionately calling TrumpCare, [insert eye roll here, please] is the Republican’s answer to solving the majority of society’s woes. Amazingly, this bill could drastically reduce the number of homeless, raise the median income in our country to highs never seen before, and make both Social Security and Medicare solvent, permanently! Really! How is that, you ask? Let’s take a look and break it down!

  • The Bill promises massive cuts to Medicaid and to phase out the Medicaid Expansion over the next three years, with complete elimination by 2020. Hmm, they say hindsight is 20/20. I wonder what we will look back and see then.  The Medicaid Expansion portion of the ACA extended coverage to approximately 11 million low income US Citizens. That is a lot of people who will begin to see a reduction in their healthcare options until it dwindles to nothing by 2020.  This also includes repealing the subsidies the government now provides to help lower income people pay for deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses for insurance purchased on the marketplace.
  • The new Trump Doesn’t Care Act will also de-fund Planned Parenthood, intentionally targeting women’s reproductive healthcare, specifically preventing them from offering services like birth control (click here so I can say, “I told you so.”) and mammograms to more than 2.5 million women across the country.
  • The plan offers a tax incentive to Insurance Companies who PAY THEIR CEO MORE THAN $500,000 A YEAR. Because, yeah, that somehow helps families with their healthcare costs. Yip. Now, instead of subsidizing premiums so lower income families can afford healthcare coverage, we are going to subsidize and reward Insurance Carriers for paying their CEO’s more money! Now that is how you help the working class. I don’t know why we didn’t see that obvious connection before!
  • While the new bill does keep the provision protecting people with pre-existing conditions, that only stays effective so long as the person maintains continual health coverage. If it ever lapses for two or more months, that protection is gone. FOREVER.  So, people who lose health coverage through their work (we will get to why that will likely be popular shortly) or are victims of the Medicaid Expansion Rollback, or who find their insurance plan suddenly costs more than than their rent or mortgage, will have precious little time to replace it with something else. Oh, and it gets even better! If your coverage happens to lapse for two months or more, insurance companies not only can exclude your pre-existing condition, you are penalized by being charged a 30% higher premium for an entire year. Now that money doesn’t go to the IRS or the government to help with healthcare programs and subsidies. No, the insurance company gets to keep it, just because. So, this measure will ensure that lower income people who lose their health coverage and can’t find a replacement that is affordable quickly (if at all) will likely never be able to afford medical insurance. But hey, they probably don’t want access to affordable healthcare anyway. If poor people really wanted healthcare, then they wouldn’t be poor, right?
  • The GOP solution to no more subsidies is a tax credit based on age and income. So, if you are in your twenties and make less than $75K a year, you might qualify for a $2,000 tax credit. That number increases with your age up to $4,000 per year if you are 60+. A family has a maximum tax credit of $14,000. That doesn’t sound too terrible, right? If you are in your twenties, that is about $166 a month for health insurance. But here is the catch: only people who do not have a healthcare plan available to them through their employer and who do not receive any form of government provided healthcare qualify for this tax credit. So, even if you are paying $300 a month for your portion of employer provided insurance, you do not qualify. Even if you are paying the full price for your Medicare premium, you do not qualify. And, under this bill, insurance companies can charge much higher premiums, literally five times the cost, for older people than younger. Last time I checked, $2,000 multiplied by five was a lot more than $4,000.  But wait! There’s more to this infomercial! The GOP has foreseen that some people might not be able to afford these skyrocketing premiums, so they are allowing insurance companies to offer a vastly scaled back alternative, with high deductibles and only catastrophic coverage. So, these people can see only a small increase in their premium if they accept reduced coverage down to almost nothing. That’s a deal, right? Paying more for less! The new GOP answer for healthcare options.
  • Let’s take a closer look at what that tax credit might actually accomplish, shall we? How about the loss of health benefits through your employer? But, wait, you work for a large company, they are required to provide health insurance benefits to their employees, so you are good. Guess again. This bill repeals that requirement, which will have significant repercussions to healthcare. First, large companies who enjoy paying a vast number of employees poverty wages (looking right at you, Wal-Mart) will no longer be required to offer health insurance to full time workers. Those workers will not be compensated for that loss in their paycheck. They will literally just be working for even less money. Sure, they can get the meager tax cut that will not come anywhere near covering the average medical plan. So, in turn, the poor just got poorer. Companies who offer benefits packages as incentives to their employees may also feel less need to stick with the healthcare business. Here is why. Healthcare benefits, both what the employer pays and the the employee contribution to it, have thus far been non taxable. They have always had the option of just giving their employees a lump sum or an allotted amount to purchase their own benefits, but that money is taxable, which means the employee gets a big chunk less money and has to make up that difference out of their own pocket. With the tax credit, it will basically offset that tax burden for the employee and they can get whatever coverage they want. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? Except, that $10,000 extra they give you for health insurance means your salary just went up $10,000. It would effectively mean that anyone making $65,000 before would see a reduction in their tax credit. It also means they will not be able to collectively bargain for insurance rates to get better premiums and the older they are, the higher that rate. Yet, the tax credit incentive is likely to motivate many companies to reduce their own human resources costs by eliminating healthcare packages. Oh, and if your employer provided healthcare is terminated, you will have less than two months to replace it. It will likely mean the phasing out of healthcare incentive packages provided by employers. When you take away collective bargaining, there will be nothing to keep premiums in check.
  • Oh, and we certainly cannot forget, that if you purchase a plan on the open market that happens to cover abortions, you are not eligible for the tax credit, either.
  • The Congressional Budget Office says it cannot score the bill. Which basically means they have no way of calculating how much it would cost. Well, I have a good idea about that. Likely, not a whole lot. I am betting it will be really cheap. Why? Well, a large portion of people now covered under the marketplace will not be able to even remotely afford the non-subsidized premiums. Now, so you can get a handle on this, right now a very basic health insurance plan on the marketplace for a married couple is running about $750 a month. That is what the Insurance company says it really costs. (this is variable, of course, but an example from someone I know who purchases insurance through the ACA on the marketplace. So it is a real figure).  With the ACA subsidies, that premium is reduced to $73 per month. Now, this is reasonably affordable for a young couple who doesn’t make a ton of money. They, and pretty much everyone like them, cannot afford the non-subsidized marketplace premiums, even with the tax credit. Even if they each get a $2,000 tax credit, that will only be seen next year when they file their taxes, they will still need to come up with and additional $4,124 over what they were paying before for the exact same coverage.  That is not reasonable, which means they will be unlikely to continue coverage, just like everyone else in their situation. If they do not continue their coverage, they will not be eligible for the tax credit. Which means, now you see it, the government spends nothing. So, when you include the dramatic federal decreases to Medicaid and the tax credit that few people will ever use, this plan gets cheaper all the time.
  • The Republicans out touting this bill, trying to boost public support and whip the party into backing it, really aren’t even attempting to hide their disdain for the poor, or the fact that literally millions of US Citizens will lose access to affordable healthcare. House Representative Jason Chaffetz, (R) from Utah, has been plastered across the news and internet promoting the idea that the poor just don’t deserve healthcare. I hope this quote is painted across billboards when he is up for re-election. “Maybe rather than get that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own healthcare.”  Yes, Rep. Chaffetz, because that makes so much sense. Because there are so many marketplace policies out there for $31 a month. That is the equivalent of what these poor people are paying for that iPhone compared to the $325 a month you think they should be able to invest in their healthcare. The GOP shows, every time they open their mouths, that they have no clue how the majority of us live. Most people do not have the money to go out and buy the new iPhone, Rep. Chaffetz. They pay it out over a two year contract with a service provider. They don’t have an extra $749 just sitting around. But two months of your healthcare plan would pay for that phone. The GOP just doesn’t believe poor or low income people deserve healthcare. They don’t deserve to have the same kinds of fun or nice things the rich do. They don’t deserve fair, livable wages. They don’t deserve reproductive rights. They don’t deserve equal opportunities at education. They don’t deserve decent food. They don’t deserve clean water. They don’t deserve safe housing. They don’t deserve the American Dream, because, if they did, they wouldn’t be poor, would they? We get it, Chaffetz. We understand you perfectly.

So, you see, with millions of people priced out of health coverage options and no Medicaid safety net for the majority of them, the inflated rates and reduced coverage being proposed to Medicare (and again, loss of the Medicaid safety net for the majority), people will lose access to our system of overpriced, commodity based, healthcare. People will die. A lot of people will die. And the people who die will be the poor and lower income, the homeless and the elderly. So that just solves all the GOP’s problems, doesn’t it? They can literally reduce homelessness, raise the median income (because you can’t average in the income of dead people) and make Social Security and Medicare permanently solvent (again, you don’t need to pay benefits to dead people) without spending hardly anything! They may have to kill off a few million ‘undesirable leeches,’  but that’s easy, just pass the UnAffordable Healthcare Act to do it. Problems solved.

We are One Woman, One World

Ann Lavendar-Truong

citations:

https://thinkprogress.org/gop-obamacare-replacement-plan-6878fd85a8fd#.5eapq1e66http://www.rawstory.com/2017/03/healthcare-sold-separately-internet-ruthlessly-mocks-trumpcare-vs-obamacare/#.WL6n2K6jYFE.twitterhttps://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/us/politics/affordable-care-act-obamacare-health.htmlhttps://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/03/american-health-care-act-obamacare-cliff/518769/?utm_source=atlfbhttp://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/03/holy-cats-republican-health-care-plan-even-worse-i-thoughthttps://www.medicareresources.org/blog/2015/11/04/is-medicare-on-the-brink-of-insolvency/http://www.ifyouonlynews.com/healthcare-2/chaffetz-tells-you-to-stop-buying-iphones-to-afford-insurance-under-trumpcare-in-wtf-moment-video/

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

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To Trump: Hear My VOICE.

Trump’s VOICE is hateful and nothing more than a propaganda machine to push his divisive rhetoric. When they do not have a story for “illegal” immigrants, it will quickly turn to the “legal” ones. This will become (and in many places already has) a war against anyone who is not a citizen, or doesn’t “look” like a citizen; more xenophobia at its worst.

My husband is a legal permanent resident, since the ’70’s. He is supposed to be 100% protected from deportation. He grew up here, escaping Vietnam as a small child. Legal residents are now scrambling to naturalize into citizenship because they are afraid those promises, like the one made to him,  will become meaningless, that with the stroke of a pen, the rights and safety they were guaranteed will be invalidated.

And how long until even their right to protest or have an opinion is stripped from them? How long before their opinion of our president or his policies  becomes a qualification or disqualification for legal residence or citizenship? How long before an immigrant protesting is stripped of their legal status and deported, their assets seized? With a stroke of a pen it can happen. As those who have been illegally detained by customs officials despite the judicial ruling against the Muslim Ban can tell you, the power of the Presidency is far reaching, and most especially in relation to immigration. It has the power to effectively silence dissent in the immigrant population.

I am ashamed of a country that has caused such fear among the people who live in it, turning them blindly upon one another. I am ashamed that our promise to the world, to all those seeking opportunity, safety, hope and freedom, has been rendered a lie. It is up to us to destroy that lie, to raise our flag into the air and wave its promise truthfully to the world once more.

People should never be illegal. We will never save ourselves by hiding, closing our doors, and fearing our neighbors. Cowards are never heroes and they never forge a path to greatness. We must stand together and be brave, to resist against the clamoring of cowards lost in the nonsense of their fear. We must fight against those who spur and use that fear to their own greedy ends.

I will fight for my husband. I will fight for my neighbors. I will fight to restore the idea of what our country should be, for our hope and our future. So, if Trump wants a VOICE, he can hear mine. Because, resisting him is my birthright. I do not fear retribution. Unlike those I am willing to fight for, no stroke of his pen can take my rights or my voice away. He cannot silence me or those citizens who stand with me. Together, we can ensure a future where every person has a voice, where no one is silenced, where being alive is not a crime… Where birthright is replaced by birth and rights are inalienable.

We are One Woman, One World.

Ann Lavendar-Truong

photo credit: AP/John Amis

Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!

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