Mood: Optimistic


On Thursday nights, Amy and I meet with our original webinar alums. We’ve been meeting for most of the pandemic and we’ve grown into a tight knit group of friends spanning ages, marital status, and geography. We marvel at our virtual friendship which has been an enlightening forum to process the highs and, mostly lows, of 2020. This past Thursday night, the whole conversation was amazingly positive and wonderfully mundane.


G. went to the Florida Keys for an overnight and spent time with someone other than her family for two whole days. And even though they were in Florida, everyone was cool with wearing their masks the whole time! S.’s dog had a good health check up and she received a vaccine shot - but not at the vet’s! H. is getting back into hip hop and has been on her new rowing machine. A. was experiencing good results on a new medication and I was babbling on about how great grandparenting is.


The whole conversation was delightfully...humdrum, which I experienced as very, very positive, especially since it was just one week after our first insurrection. No, I don’t think that this is a new low for my standards of optimism. President Elect Biden had just addressed the country that afternoon and it was refreshing to see a good old fashioned leader talk for an entire half an hour about an in depth plan that will benefit Americans. The address was all about us, not him. Imagine! That actually feels optimistic!


I wasn’t an ardent Joe supporter. But early in the game, Amy and I talked about how unlikely it would be that any of our favorite candidates for the democratic presidential nominee would actually be chosen as the candidate - given the sheer volume of contenders. We realized that we would have to support the eventual candidate no matter what. And even though I said that, I really did not want Joe. I wanted younger, more progressive and hopefully female.


While I felt pretty strongly about that then, this Thursday, when Uncle Joe looked deep into my eyes and spoke, seemingly, directly to me about his plan, I was encouraged. I felt cared for. I felt good! I realize that we are still reeling from the insurrection and the continued reporting, arrests and ongoing investigation. But, we must keep our eyes on the prize(s). There was not a coup. There will be a transference of power. We have reclaimed the Senate. There are three vaccines.


These are (still) crazy and unprecedented times in our country. We have a long way to go. A. LONG. WAY. But it’s Martin Luther King Day, possibly the most hopeful American ever. At Perfect Avocado Retreats, we are honoring MLK day by remembering that his hopes and dreams were not a reflection of his reality. When he said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice”, there was nothing in his experience that would support that statement. Martin Luther King was a master manifester and big dreamer.


Lastly, because good news can be elusive nowadays, I’m including an excerpt from Susie Tompkins Buell's newsletter, The Rising. It’s a newsletter created to help share information, to inspire involvement, and to encourage joy! If you like it, you can subscribe at sbuell@buellofficesf.com.


GOOD NEWS, VICTORIES, & HEROES

Justice & Accountability

  • The House voted to impeach Donald Trump for a second time in a swift and bipartisan condemnation of the President's role inciting last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol. CNN

  • An Arkansas man caught on video beating a Washington, D.C., cop with an American flagpole during the U.S. Capitol riots was charged on Thursday. Daily Beast

  • A retired firefighter identified as having thrown a fire extinguisher at police officers during the Capitol riots has been arrested. USA Today

  • A rioter who stormed the Capitol last week wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase "Camp Auschwitz" was arrested. CNN

  • A man photographed with a Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol building last week amid the deadly insurrection was arrested. TPM

  • Prosecutors have arrested and charged the "Proud Boy" seen smashing the Capitol windows with a police shield. Daily Beast

  • Every deleted Parler post, many with users' location data, has been archived. Gizmodo

  • A majority of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s constituents in Missouri believe he should resign after he led the effort to object to the 2020 election result after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Daily Beast

  • Nine people, including the former Michigan governor, were charged for their role in the Flint water crisis. BuzzFeed News

Look For The Helpers

  • "He gave his life as the Congress of the United States was performing its role under the Constitution and while others may have walked away, he stood firm. We are in a debt of gratitude." Sen. Bob Menendez on Brian Sicknick, the U.S. Capitol Police officer who was murdered in last week's riot at the U.S. Capitol. USA Today

  • A Black officer faced down a mostly white mob at the Capitol. Meet Eugene Goodman. Washington Post

  • “In listing people to be praised for protecting our democracy against a seditionist mob, please include the press. Reporters filed harrowing stories under threat of violence. Some were physically assaulted. Amidst talk of the “First Amendment,” this must be part of the discussion.” @DanRather

  • Upset by veterans who stormed the Capitol, these vets decided to clean up trash the mob left on the streets of D.C. Washington Post

The Coronavirus Pandemic

  • According to trial data, Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine is safe and appears to generate a promising immune response in both young and elderly volunteers. CNBC

  • Anyone flying to the U.S. will soon need to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19. KRON4

White House-Elect

  • President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion proposal to help the country recover. Simplified

  • President-elect Biden has selected former South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison to chair the Democratic National Committee. Axios

  • Biden can fight climate change, guarantee housing, and halve poverty — without the GOP. Vox

Black Lives Matter

  • A white man was sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing a Black college student in what prosecutors described as a racially motivated hate crime on the University of Maryland’s main campus in 2017. USA Today

  • Colorado’s attorney general is opening a grand jury investigation into the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black massage therapist who was confronted by police while walking home and died days later after being placed in a chokehold. CNN

Criminal Justice

  • Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Ayanna Pressley unveiled legislation that would seek to end federal capital punishment. NPR

  • Eddie Lee Howard was wrongfully sentenced to death in 1994. Now, after decades of fighting, he has been exonerated. CNN

  • Ohio will no longer sentence kids to life without parole. The Appeal

  • The Illinois General Assembly passed an expansive criminal justice bill on the last day of the lame-duck session, which, among other changes, would end the use of cash bail. NPR Illinois

More Good News

  • The National Rifle Association announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. ABC News

  • A new set of rules that would make it nearly impossible for LGBTQ+ migrants to claim asylum in the United States was blocked by a federal court. them

  • Eight months after armed militias and anti-lockdown protesters breached Michigan's state Capitol, officials banned all open carry weapons from the statehouse. ABC News

  • These businesses and institutions are cutting ties with trump. New York Times

  • New York City is severing all contracts with the trump organization. PBS News

  • A new study has shown, combining two FDA-approved drugs may help stop some people's use of methamphetamine. Axios

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