Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Big Bluestem Rapid Responders Visit Senators' Offices: No to Jeff Sessions!

Betsy Roe delivers statements
opposing Jeff Sessions  to the Topeka office 
of Senator Pat Roberts.
(The statement from the group follows 
Carl Reed's letter below).

The Big Blue-stem Rapid Responders are a group of 38 Kansans from 7 zip codes who have banded together to speak up for human rights in response to the election of Donald Trump.

On Jan. 24, they visited the offices of Kansas senators to urge that the senators vote No on the nomination of Jeff Sessions.
Carl Reed delivers his letter to the Manhattan office of
Senator Jerry Moran
(Letter below)

January 23, 2017
Senator Moran:

You have an opportunity to show integrity and honesty. You do not have to be swept up in the wave of bigotry and anti-democracy that is the Trump agenda. The men and women who founded Kansas stood against Jeff Davis and would have stood just as strongly against Jeff Sessions. You do not have to continue to produce a voting record identical to senators from the states that blocked Kansas from the union. You can make us proud!

I am sure you are familiar with the letter that President Abraham Lincoln sent to a friend in Springfield, Illinois in March of 1865.

“As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war. God grant that my suspicions may prove groundless.”

Within a month the president was killed. His prayer, however, was answered for one hundred and fifty-one years. Then, on November 8, 2016, Lincoln’s fears were realized. On January 20, 2017, the United States government passed from a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” to a government of the rich and white for the rich and white. President grab’embythepussy has selected Jeff Sessions to enforce that change. Refuse to be a party to the destruction of your democracy.

Carl Reed
1418 Leavenworth

Manhattan, Kansas

January 24, 2017
Dear Senator Roberts:

Please protect ALL Kansans—vote NO on Jeff Sessions!  

There is so much evidence of Mr. Session’s bias! 

But today we would like to present to you just two documents: 

1)      A letter from Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., opposing Jeff Sessions’ confirmation to the federal bench in 1986; and
2)      A letter from Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, beaten to death in Laramie, Wyoming by anti-gay attackers, opposing Jeff Sessions’ confirmation now. 

Mrs. King writes,  “Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts.”   She is referring to Session’s prosecutions of black organizers in Alabama, during which rural African-American first-time voters were repeatedly interrogated, threatened, and harassed.  (For more, see Lift Every Voice and Sing, pp. 183-219.)  She goes on,  “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”   She concludes that in trying to suppress the black vote, Sessions attempted to achieve “with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods.”  We could add, with truth, that suppressing the black vote is what the KKK did for 100 years with beatings, torture, and murder.

We Kansans do not want our senator to elevate a practitioner of racist voter suppression to be attorney general!

Mrs. Shepard writes that Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, but that Senator Sessions was not among them.  Instead, she writes, “Senator Sessions strongly opposed the hate crimes bill—characterizing hate crimes as mere “thought crimes.”   “My son was not killed by ‘thoughts’ or because his murderers said hateful things,” she says.  “My son was brutally beaten with the butt of a .357 magnum pistol, tied to a fence, and left to die in freezing temperatures because he was gay.”  She concludes, “Senator Sessions’ very public record of hostility towards the LGBTQ community and federal legislation designed to protect vulnerable Americans, including the Voting Rights Act [and the Violence against Women Act], makes it nearly impossible to believe that he will vigorously enforce statutes and ideas that he worked so hard to defeat.”

We Kansans do not want our senator to elevate to the position of chief law enforcement officer of the US someone who is hostile to the  LGBTQ community and unwilling to protect vulnerable Americans.       

We are a group of 38 Kansans from 7 different zip codes.    

We expect our senator to protect ALL Kansans.   We expect you to refuse to vote for someone who would make some Kansans more vulnerable and leave them without the equal protection of the law.

Please let us know one way or the other whether or not you can fulfill our expectations. 

Thank you for your consideration!

Big Bluestem Rapid Responders
Margy Stewart, Coordinator
11003 Lower McDowell Rd.
Junction City, Kansas  66441

Monday, January 16, 2017

Deci, Mac, Betsy, & Margy on the Beaver Dam: New Year's Eve, 2016!

Can this be only 2 weeks+ in the past?

On New Year's Eve Day, Betsy and I took our dogs and went hiking along McDowell Creek.

We found a beaver dam that had been constructed around a chunk of earth that had broken loose from the bank and somehow migrated to the middle of the creek.     The beavers then connected it to both banks with sticks and rocks.

Betsy and I walked on those sticks and rocks, teetering precariously, until we reached that chunk of earth.  There we sat in the sun and listened to the creek ripple as it broke through tiny breaks in the dam on either side of us.   Little Mac sat between Betsy's feet and looked at everything wide-eyed.  Deci was sure we were in Fun Land.   So many sticks! and so close together!  And right by the creek!!  

We delighted in Deci's delight!   

Sitting by a splashing creek in the sun is akin to sitting by a camp fire in the dark.  You can't help but speculate and wonder and probe the mysteries all around.

Our thoughts and talk flowed just like the creek.

Happy, happy new year, everyone!