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In Other Words

"Justice in the life and conduct of the state is possible only if first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens."
Plato, 427 BC - 347 BC

"This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1882 - 1945

"The highest office in the land is that of citizen."
Harry Truman, 1884 - 1972

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does."
Margaret Mead, 1901 - 1978

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. You will be changed, events will change you, but you have to decide not to be reduced."
Maya Angelou, 1928 - present

"If you go to one demonstration and then go home, that's something, but the people in power can live with that. What they can't live with is sustained pressure that keeps building, organizations that keep doing things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time and doing it better the next time."
Noam Chomsky, 1928 - present

Welcome! From throughout our country, these engaging blogs are authored by ordinary citizens with things to say about social, economic, environmental, human, or political conditions in our nation or world. We hope you will sign in and add your comments, too.

April 20, 2017

The Persecution of German Americans During World War I

Posted by Angelo Lopez on April 20, 2017

This week I watched a wonderful PBS documentary on World War I titled The Great War. It talks about the war from the point of view of African Americans, Native Americans, women suffragists and the diverse spectrum of American society. One of the things that I learned from watching the documentary was the extent of the prejudice that German Americans faced during World War I. Wartime propaganda depicted Germans as inhuman Huns, and this led to mutual suspicion of the large German American population in the U.S. This type of anti-German hysteria is sadly a darker part of human nature where a whole group is stereotyped based on the bad actions of a few individuals within the group. In World War II, Japanese Americans were victims of a similar type of war-time hysteria. Today Muslim Americans and undocumented immigrants are facing a similar type of unfair prejudice.

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March 30, 2017

Discussing Public Policy and Understanding Issues Facing the Nation

Posted by Angelo Lopez on March 30, 2017

In this time, news stations like Fox News has injected a hyper partisan political climate that has caused a deterioration of civil discourse on the many important issues facing this nation. The sort of intellectual debate on ideas that are a basic foundation of a democratic republic is becoming more difficult as Americans from different regions have become more ideologically and economically isolated from people with different viewpoints. I am a liberal Democrat, but I have to admit that progressives can be just as partisan as conservatives.

There have been some recent efforts by liberals and conservatives to engage in a civil debate on ideas. A few weeks ago, for instance, Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz engaged in a civil debate on health care reform and both Senators answered questions from members of the audience. I think these type of debates and discussions of ideas are an important part of what makes this country great. One of my favorite books is The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and John and Abigail Adams. These three great Americans were close friends even though Jefferson was an ardent Republican who believed in strong local contral while John and Abigail Adams were fervent Federalists who believed in a strong federal government. They used their letters to debate on their different ideas on government and political philosophy.

To try to understand more about the various issues facing the nation, I've gotten into the habit of listening to discussions and debates in youtube videos by various organizations I respect. To understand an issue better, it's good to listen to people who have spent years researching and learning about the subject. In most of these videos, the speaker takes a short time to speak, then they take questions from the audience. Some of these videos are from institutes, some from colleges and universities. I listen, do some research to listen to diverse views of the subject, then I slowly make up my mind on what I believe. Even when I disagree with some things that the speaker says, I learn from different viewpoints. In listening intelligent arguments of people I disagree with, I learn about the strengths and weaknesses of my own opinions.

Here are some youtube channels I listen to.

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March 18, 2017

Protecting the Free Speech of Those We Disagree With

Posted by Angelo Lopez on March 18, 2017

In the past few months, one of the things that has given me hope during the first few weeks of the Trump administration is the passion of people who are engaging in protests and political rallies. There is a renewed interest in civic activism and in protecting the rights of Muslim Americans, immigrants, LGBT people, Jewish Americans, and other vulnerable minority groups. Recently, though, I have read about incidents in Berkeley and in Middlebury College that has me a bit worried when protests go too far. In Berkeley, protesters committed acts of violence and vandalism to stop Alt Right leader Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at a university event sponsored by a conservative Republican student group. Milo Yiannopolous is a provocative Alt Right speaker who has promoted racism and religious intolerance. In Middlebury College, students shouted down conservative author Charles Murray from speaking at a college event organized by the school's conservative Republican student group. The reason for the protester's ire is Murray's book The Bell Curve, which suggests that some races are genetically superior and more intelligent than other races and that may account for the class stratification in the U.S.

Like the protesters, I too worry about normalizing racism and other types of bigotry. Racism, sexism, homophobia and other types of prejudice should be challenged and protested. I'd support protesting Charles Murray and Milo Yiannopolous through tactics like having audience members turning their backs on the speakers, or boycotting the event so that the speakers talk to an empty room. But if the conservative students group want to invite Murray or Yiannopoulos to speak, Murray or Yiannopoulos should be allowed to speak. There are other ways of protesting rather than shouting people down.

I think the Middlebury administration handled it in the right way. Instead of a monologue where there is no give and take and the audience is asked to just be passive in the face of Murray's views, the college set up a dialogue where Murray's viewpoint could be challenged by a liberal teacher and in a question-and-answer period by the audience.

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The Discrimination Faced by 19th Century Irish Immigrants

Posted by Angelo Lopez on March 18, 2017

Yesterday the country celebrated St. Patrick's Day. It's a day to celebrate the many contributions that Irish Americans have given to our great country. In this time when Muslim Americans, Hispanics and immigrants are facing much prejudice and discrimination, it is important to remember that the early Irish immigrants of the 19th century faced many of the same problems. Many native born Protestant Americans thought Irish were criminals, were racially inferior, and thought the Roman Catholic faith was incompatible with American democratic values.

Christopher Klein for The History Channel wrote an article about the discrimination faced by Irish immigrants in 19th century America titled When America Despised the Irish: The 19th Century’s Refugee Crisis. Klein wrote:

There was a time, however, when the thought of Americans honoring all things Irish was unimaginable. This is the story of the prejudice encountered by refugees from Ireland’s Great Hunger and how those Irish exiles persevered to become part of the American mainstream.

The refugees seeking haven in America were poor and disease-ridden. They threatened to take jobs away from Americans and strain welfare budgets. They practiced an alien religion and pledged allegiance to a foreign leader. They were bringing with them crime. They were accused of being rapists. And, worst of all, these undesirables were Irish...

...The Irish filled the most menial and dangerous jobs, often at low pay. They cut canals. They dug trenches for water and sewer pipes. They laid rail lines. They cleaned houses. They slaved in textile mills. They worked as stevedores, stable workers and blacksmiths. Not only did working-class Americans see the cheaper laborers taking their jobs, some of the Irish refugees even took up arms against their new homeland during the Mexican-American War. Drawn in part by higher wages and a common faith with the Mexicans, some members of the St. Patrick’s Battalion had deserted the U.S. Army after encountering ill-treatment by their bigoted commanders and fought with the enemy. After their capture, 50 members of the "San Patricios" were executed by the U.S. Army for their treasonous decisions...

...In 1849, a clandestine fraternal society of native-born Protestant men called the Order of the Star Spangled Banner formed in New York. Bound by sacred oaths and secret passwords, its members wanted a return to the America they once knew, a land of "Temperance, Liberty and Protestantism." Similar secret societies with menacing names like the Black Snakes and Rough and Readies sprouted across the country.

Within a few years, these societies coalesced around the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant American Party, whose members were called the "Know-Nothings" because they claimed to 'know nothing' when questioned about their politics. Party members vowed to elect only native-born citizens—but only if they weren’t Roman Catholic. "Know-Nothings believed that Protestantism defined American society. From this flowed their fundamental belief that Catholicism was incompatible with basic American values," writes Jay P. Dolan in "The Irish Americans: A History.”

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March 11, 2017

Former White Supremacists Helping People Leave Hate Groups

Posted by Angelo Lopez on March 11, 2017

One of the greatest worries that I have in the past 2 years is the rising incidents of racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism, homophobia and the anti-immigrant harassment around the country. The Southern Poverty Law Center has recently reported that the number of hate groups in the U.S. from 892 groups in 2015 to 927 groups in 2016. The rise in hate groups is concurrent with the rise in the Alt Right movement, a white nationalist movement. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes how Alt Right leaders like Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Mike Enoch are promoting the idea that "white identity" is under attack by multicultural forces and that has led the Alt Right movement to attack immigration, the Black Lives Movement, refugees and Muslim Americans. Richard Spencer has specifically stated that the Alt Right movement has as one of its goals to create a new kind of conservative movement to supplant mainstream conservativism.

Because of this, conservatives as well as liberals are concerned about the Alt RIght movement and the racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia that they are trying to incite in the wider society. Conservatives like David Brooks, George Will, Bill Kristol, Glenn Beck and several mainstream conservatives have denounced the Alt Right and its bigotry and xenophobia. I don't agree with their politics, but I admire the integrity and courage of these conservatives in denouncing the Alt Right and withstanding the criticism of their fellow conservatives. These conservatives realize the long term damage that the Alt Right will do to the conservative movement.

In the 1950s and 1960s, William F. Buckley used his magazine The National Review to fight the attempts of the John Birch Society and other racist groups from gaining a prominent voice within the conservative movement. Conservatives have a similar challenge right now with the Alt Right.

One of the things that gives me hope is a recent article I read in PBS Independent Lens about a group of former white supremacists who are working to get other white racists to reject bigotry in all its forms. Scott Shepard, for instance, is a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan who now fighting racism to atone for his past behavior. Reformed racists like Derek Black, T.J. Leyden (a former member of Hammerskin Nation, a neo-Nazi group), and Duke Schneider rejected their racist ideals when they were forced to confront the humanity of the individuals they were taught to hate. One former white supremacist, Arno Michaels, helped found a group called Life After Hate where former white racists help people leave hate groups and build a more positive life.

Read More Here ...

February 20, 2017

Bridging the Divide Between Working Class Whites and Minority Communities

Posted by Angelo Lopez on February 20, 2017

Every day since Donald Trump became President, I have been worried about the latest actions coming from the Trump White House. From his executive orders banning immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries, to the gag rule imposed on the EPA and the Department of Agriculture from making public their scientific findings, to the attempts to de-legitimize the press, I've gotten more and more worried about the tone that the Trump administration is setting. I called a few friends and asked their advice. A good friend gave me advice that really helped me. He said to view politics as a marathon and not a sprint. If you get worked up at everything that comes out daily from the Trump White House, you'll get burnt out. He suggested to focus on only a few issues and to take breaks every so often from politics just to stay sane.

I've tried to do that. It hasn't always been successful, but I try. Over the next four years I have two personal goals when it comes to politics. I want to oppose Donald Trump's policies without demonizing Trump's supporters. And I want to support efforts to bridge the divide between working class white communities and minority communities that have been the source of so much national strife.

At one time liberal Democrats like the Kennedys, Paul Wellstone, Jesse Jackson, Hubert Humphrey, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman drew strong support from both working class white communities and minority communities. These liberal Democrats held together this coalition by enacting policies that benefited both communities. Among the liberal policies that helped benefited these communities were Social Security, the G.I. Bill, the Minimum Wage, the Wagner Act, Medicare, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Meals on Wheels program. One of the challenges of today's progressives is to heal the breach between minorities and those working class whites who threw their support to Donald Trump.

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February 5, 2017

Groups Condemning Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines

Posted by Angelo Lopez on February 5, 2017

There has been a lot of news lately comparing U.S. President Donald Trump to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. They have many personal qualities in common: both tend to be bullying in their public pronouncements and in their dealings with the press; they tend to simplify issues; they are very critical of dissent and name call anyone who disagrees with their policies.

There are differences between the two men. Duterte has had 20 years of experience as mayor of Davao with dealing with government bureaucracy while Trump has no government experience. Duterte's policies are more left wing, while Trump's policies draw from ideas from the right wing.

Since my political views tend to lean towards the left, I support some of Duterte's efforts at agrarian reform, expanding social programs for the poor and in reigning in the power of mining companies that have been the source of much human rights abuses in the Mindanao area of the Philippines. For instance, I support the The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) decision to close 23 mining operations in several areas in the country that are near watersheds.

But I cannot support Duterte's support of extrajudicial killings in his war against drugs in the Philippines. So far over 7,000 people have been killed by either the police or vigilante groups for only being suspected of a crime. These victims had no opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law. They had no way of seeing the evidence against them.

Many groups have spoken out against the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

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January 22, 2017

A Women's Day March in San Jose California - January 21, 2017

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 22, 2017

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, my niece and I participated in the Women's Day March in San Jose, California. I had never been to a political march that was so large. We wandered around and really enjoyed reading all the signs and talking to the people.

One of the things that filled me with the most joy was seeing people speak out for the rights of all groups who feel vulnerable or afraid. I saw Muslim women with signs supporting LGBT rights and immigrant rights. LGBTQ people holding signs supporting immigrant rights and Black Lives Matter. Women's rights activists speaking out for environmental issues and religious tolerance. And so on and so on. I firmly believe that a person should not just fight for the rights of your particular group, but you should fight for the rights of all people. I'm glad there are other people who agree.

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January 20, 2017

Riding the Celebration Train for Martin Luther King Jr Day

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 20, 2017

On Monday January 16, 2017, my niece and I rode the Celebration Train from San Jose to San Francisco to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr Day and to commemorate the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. My niece has expressed a strong interest in social justice activism, so I thought this could be a good chance for her to experience her first march.

It was kind of a civil rights weekend for us. The previous night we watched the movie "Hidden Figures" and it got us in the mood for the march.

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January 19, 2017

An Immigrants Rights Rally in San Jose, California

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 19, 2017

On Saturday January 14, 2017, I went to an immigrants rights rally in San Jose, California. I was debating whether to go or not, as I'm still recovering from a flu that I've had for about a week and a half. San Jose's City Hall is only a 15 minute drive, though, and my brother and niece wanted to go. So I took my camera and went.

Wandering through the crowd, I met some Filipino American activists who I knew. I introduced them to my brother and niece and we talked about immigrant issues, especially those pertaining to Filipinos and the DACA program.

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January 8, 2017

Democrats Voting in Assembly District 24 in California

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 8, 2017

On Saturday January 7, 2017, I went to Los Altos to vote for the delegates for District 24. When I came, though, I found out that since I moved from Sunnyvale to Santa Clara, I no longer live in District 24. I didn't mind going though. I brought my camera and took photos of the voting and got to talk to friends and fellow Democrats. I want to do anything I can to support the Democratic Party.

I was surprised at how many people were waiting in line to vote. Many Democrats are energized to get involved after the results of November's elections.

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January 2, 2017

Frank Capra, Sid Buchman and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 2, 2017

As the new year begins and a Trump presidency comes closer to becoming a reality, I couldn't help but think of the climactic scene from one of my favorite Frank Capra movies "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". Frank Capra was one of the great filmmakers of the 1930s and early 1940s.

Frank Capra was a conservative Republican. But during the 1930s he was an open minded man who collaborated with more liberal screenwriters to produce his many classic movies. Robert Riskin, the screenwriter of It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes To Town, You Can't Take It With You and Meet John Due, was for instance a New Deal liberal. Sid Buchman, the screenwriter of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, was an American communist. So Capra's films were a mixture of both progressive and conservative values.

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A New Year's Day Mass at the Santa Clara University Mission Church

Posted by Angelo Lopez on January 2, 2017

On New Year's Day, my brother and his family wanted to attend a mass at the Mission Church in Santa Clara University before they took the long drive home. Since I live a 20 minute walk from the university, I decided to join them.

This was the first mass I attended in the Mission Church. I must've seemed like a tourist to the parishioners, because I kept looking at the murals and sculptures all around the church. During the service, they said a prayer for immigrants and refugees and that warmed my heart.

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December 31, 2016

Looking at the New Year

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 31, 2016

As 2016 comes to a close, it's a good time to reflect. On a personal level, the year has had it's good moments and it's had it's bad moments. The good moments outnumber the bad and I have several fond memories with friends and family during the past year. Next year I'm going to try to paint more and to work on a few children's book ideas that I hope to submit to publishers.

As a liberal Democrat, the political scene hasn't been so great. I'm dreading the upcoming Trump presidency. But for the sake of this country, I'm hoping that I am wrong about my pessimism of Trump's administration. In the meanwhile, there are two areas that I will be most focused on politically in 2017.

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December 26, 2016

TAX Reform

Posted by Ken Poland on December 26, 2016

Tax Reform ?
By Ken Poland
Opinion | December 26, 2016
Taxes is certainly on most everyone's mind, this time of year. Everyone seems to have a little difference of opinion on just how to 'reform' taxes. The issues vary by geography, financial position, priority of public needs, etc etc. Local, state, and national taxes must be included in the formulas and who benefits, who pays, and how it affects society is a very important part of the debate.

How much government do you want? What is the function of that government? Who will benefit from each function? Who will contribute to the tax and how will it be equitable in relation to benefits?

We are a diverse society and no single answer is appropriate for all. We have extreme wealth, extreme poverty. There is extreme differences in education, health, age, and culture (race & sexual identity).

The one thing we all have in common is 'humanity'. All humans deserve respect and compassion from their fellow sojourners in life. Government cannot force respect or compassion. Government cannot force responsibility on any individual. Governmant can reward actions that show respect and compassion. Government can reward those who take responsibility.

We tend to think we live in a "democracy". Do we? True democracy allows absolute control by majority, regardless of how it treats the minority. No society has ever been sustained by this kind of government. Rebellion erupts and coalitions form. Dictatorships have tried to surpress rebellions but when the inequities are severe enough rebellion occurs. Survival is an instinct and majority rule cannot take that instinct away. Survival is the core basis on which human relationships are formed. Family, community, and country are all vehicles by which we hope to insure our survival. Majority or dictatorial rule will eventually destroy any of those relationships if minority needs are not met.

We are fortunate to have had some wise fellows who got together and devised a set of quide lines to allow the colonists an opportunity to form a government with just the right amount of restrictions and authority to create an environment that would meet the needs of humanity, as they perceived those needs to be. Was the first plan successful? Not really! They discovered there had to be some give and take (compromise & cooperation). The next try, a few years later, has been astonishingly successful. Was it perfect and sufficient in all matters? No! But, they were wise enough to provide means by which challenges could be made and amendments and corrections could be made. They did not establish a pure democracy. But, instead devised a republic based on democratic principles that protected the rights of a minority. Those minorities included race, religion, gender, economic position, etc. They were a little ambivalent about race, gender and economics. But, they specifically denied any religious favor, advantage or dis-advantage. Slaves (most of them negro), women, and non property owners were not given equal rights and privileges in society. The original constitution was not actually validated until after the first ten amendments were adopted. Since then, many amendments have been adopted and some recinded. Legislatures have adopted new laws, re-written laws, and recinded laws. Administrations have administered and enforced laws. The Judicial Branch has ruled on constitutional and administrative authority. The system works! And, I, for one, think we are indeed the greatest nation and will remain so. That is, if we each avail ourselves the opportunity and responsibility of debating all issues and voting our conscience.

Back to the tax issue! Taxes must be levied equitably in terms of ability to generate the revenue for payment. They must be distributed equitably in terms of individual needs and societal needs. The tax base must be broad and sustainable. We don't all agree on priority or the order of priority on these matters. However, taxes should not be used to attempt to equalize wealth or remove individual responsibility for self.

Taxes (all sources), service charges, and licensce & registration fees are all means of providing funds to operate society. It is mine and your moral and ethical duty to participate and honor that duty.

Click here to see this author's archives and biography

December 10, 2016

Donald Trump, Rodrigo Duterte and Autocratic Tendencies

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 10, 2016

A few days ago a friend sent me a link to an article describing how President-elect Donald Trump praised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's prosecution of his drug war and invited Duterte to the White House. Duterte has in turn praised Trump and said that he may not pivot the Philippines away from the United States after all, as he said he would a few weeks ago. I'm not really a fan of either leader. When I read of some of the things that they've said, I feel like I've entered some surreal world where traditional norms of civility and decorum no longer apply.

Duterte is left wing, while Trump is more right wing, but both share a similar leadership style: lashing out at critics; a contentious relationship with the press; and an admiration for autocrat Vladmir Putin. I think Duterte's use of extrajudicial killings is terrible. While some of Duterte's policies are beneficial to the poor and reign in the power of mining companies that have been the source of much human rights abuses in the Mindanao region, it's impossible to look past Duterte's support of extrajudicial killings. If I could vote in the Philippines, I wouldn't have voted for Duterte.

Both Duterte and Trump display autocratic detentencies. I read that the best approach to both men is to focus on their policies and not so much their personalities. Support those issues we agree on and oppose vigorously those issues in which we disagree. And keep a vigilant eye if they try to chip away at the civil liberties of those opposed to them.

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December 2, 2016

Loving America in the Time of Trump

Posted by Angelo Lopez on December 2, 2016

What does it mean to be an American in the Presidency of Donald Trump? These past few weeks have been anxious times for me, but I've been reading articles advising liberal Democrats how we can still fight for our values within the institutions of the democratic republic that our Founding Fathers built for us. I still love this country, in spite of its flaws. I will continue to speak out and fight for the causes I believe in. Immigrant rights. Defending Muslim Americans from scapegoating. Supporting Black Lives Matter. Fighting for LGBT rights and marriage equality. Helping the poor and marginalized.

If there is any common ground with Trump and the Republican Congress, I'll support those issues. I just don't see that much common ground though. America has had troubled times in the past. I hope to gain inspiration from Americans who spoke out during troubled times: Martin Luther King Jr., Dalton Trumbo, Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Eugene Debs, Muriel Rukeyser, and many more. These Americans kept fighting for America to live up to its highest values when it was easy to lose faith in America.

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November 21, 2016

When Democrats Should Work With Trump and When We Should Fight

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 21, 2016

For the past two weeks I've been reading various articles to try to figure out what to do now that Donald Trump is President. How do I oppose Trump within the bounds of our American democratic republic and while maintaining our American values? Many columnists gave thoughtful suggestions on how to proceed and that has helped me a lot. It's been especially helpful to listen to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders speak of our responsibility to work with Trump on areas of common ground, but to fight Trump when his administration tries to take away the rights of vulnerable groups like Muslim Americans, immigrants, LGBT Americans and women. I believe that the Republicans' practice of obstructing President Obama's every initiative in the past 8 years has been very destructive to our democratic republic and I don't want the Democrats to follow the same path if they don't have to. Bernie Sanders has done a good job of telling Democrats where we can work with Trump and telling us when we need to fight Trump.

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November 14, 2016

Waking Up To A Donald Trump Presidency

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 14, 2016

It's a week now since the shock of the presidential elections result last Tuesday. I've been deeply depressed about Donald Trump becoming President, but I congratulate those who are Trump supporters for being involved in this political process. I mourn with the Hillary supporters, as I supported Hillary too.

I'm sad and disappointed, but I still love America. If we love our country, we have to continue fighting for America to live up to its highest values especially during times when it's easy to lose faith in our country.

Now we have to defend our Muslim American friends from being scapegoated. We have to fight for our Hispanic friends and for those illegal immigrants from having their families torn apart. We have to fight for African Americans who are victims of racial profiling. We have to fight for our LGBT friends, as Trump has vowed to choose Supreme Court nominees that will overturn the ruling on Marriage Equality. We have to continue the fight for equal rights for women. We have to continue fighting for the poor and the marginalized.

That is our obligation as Americans.

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November 6, 2016

Phonebanking for Hillary

Posted by Angelo Lopez on November 6, 2016

Thursday night I phone banked for Hillary for about 2 hours. It was fun. When Hillary's lead in the polls was growing, I was thinking I might skip phone banking for her this year. When the polls began to narrow this week, though, I got a bit scared.

It was an enjoyable experience. A few people hung up on me. But most people were very pleasant. I talked to a few women who were angry at Trump's sexist comments and were determined to vote against him. I talked to one lady who hates both Trump and Clinton and is voting for a third party.

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