Help To Veto HB 2315 in Tennessee

Here’s a phone number:

615-741-2001

When you dial it, you can leave a message for Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to veto the extreme immigration bill that the TN Legislature just passed. This bill is called HB 2315.  It is designed to undermine the existence of so-called “Sanctuary Cities” by authorizing every police officer to detain anyone for immigration reasons and initiate mass deportations.

THE GOVERNOR HAS UNTIL MAY 22 TO VETO HB2315!!

Please call and urge him to VETO this dangerous bill!

Here is an excerpt from a statement issued by the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):

“HB2315 sets a dangerous precedent by severely restricting the ability of local police to make common-sense, public safety decisions, and forcing local governments to bear the risk and expense of federal immigration enforcement.,” said Stephanie Teatro, Co- Executive Director of TIRRC

 Over the course of many weeks of committee debate, members of the General Assembly heard concerns from local law enforcement, city and county officials, and others. The sponsors were unable to answer basic questions about the legal, practical, and financial implications of the bill or address the concerns about its broad impact and likely unintended consequences.

“During committee debates, the Senate sponsor invited the anti-immigrant hate group FAIR to testify, while the House sponsor used an ethnic slur when presenting the bill,” Teatro continued. “We’re alarmed and disappointed that legislators sided with the interests of the most extreme fringe of the electorate, rather than heed the warnings from law enforcement and local governments.” 

The passage of the bill comes on the heels of a massive ICE raid in Bean Station, Tennessee, where nearly one hundred people in a meatpacking plant were arrested and detained in the largest worksite raid in a decade. Workers at the plant reported rough treatment and detention despite having work authorization, a clear violation of the law and basic, constitutional rights.

It is appalling to me that in a country founded by colonialists and built by immigrants and their children that we have not figured out ways to be compassionate and fair to all of the new immigrants who want to build new lives in America.

Criminalizing immigrants and detaining them indefinitely against their will is inhumane. When you factor in the immense costs involved with operating detention centers and deporting thousands of people, these are resources that could be utilized to support immigrants instead of mistreating them.

If given the chance, most, if not all immigrants, would go through all of the legal and proper channels to become a legal resident or citizen. Unfortunately, there are immense costs involved (in terms of  thousands of  dollars in processing fees and money needed to pay lawyers), impossibly long wait periods that have been known to take several years, and an arbitrary system that does not treat all applicants equally.

If you live in America, there is a chance that you have a friend who is an immigrant from another country. There is an even greater chance that you are descended from immigrants in your own family. In either case, the humane treatment of immigrants is something that relates to all of us in this country. Instilling fear and locking people up is not a solution.

Please call Governor Haslam and urge him to veto HB 2315.

-Roqué

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Developing a New Social Media Philosophy

Developing a New Social Media Philosophy

At some point in recent time, we all got swept under the assumption that we need to have social media as an integral part of our daily lives. Someone somewhere decided that this was good for us, and this mentality became viral.
Nowadays, it is perfectly normal to constantly check how many likes you have on Facebook and to post endless selfies on Instagram and Snapchat.

Does the qualification of being “normal” necessarily make it right? Does the convenience of social media make it absolutely imperative to engage with it all of the time?

At this point, my answer to both questions is no.  I have reached this conclusion only because I have found that the disadvantages of your forum of choice (whether it is Twitter, Instagram, FB, or something else) far outweigh the advantages.

Let’s make a couple of lists.

Advantages of Social Media

  • Constant interaction with friends near and far
  • Sharing one’s life with friends, family, and colleagues through posting pictures, stories, and other content
  • Free and unlimited usage
  • It’s funDisadvantages of Social Media
  • Highly addictive
  • Personal information is used by companies for marketing purposes and other nefarious intentions such as influencing voter behavior
  • Encourages disingenuous posts by users that are misleading and present a false reality
  • Cultivates online stalking behavior
  • Time-consuming
  • Provides exposure to news and media content that is fake or unsubstantiated
  • Creates a false sense of worth through likes and comments
  • Distracts from more important work in one’s life that involve creativity and deeper focus

Obviously, these are my own perceptions,  but all of the points included in these lists are the most significant to me.  We all drank the water and somehow, have become convinced that social media is not only okay but also essential to our connection with the world and our sense of personal identity.

I am not going to drink this water anymore, and I am formulating my own strategy of how to achieve a healthy distance from social media in ways that magnify its benefits and significantly minimize its risks.

Here are some of the new social media practices I will try out:

1. No more hashtags.

Hashtags are supposed to attract attention to your posts, and to some degree, they do. The problem I find is the kind of attention they attract. Hashtags seem to create a paper trail that maps out what you value and what your interests are. These are exactly the kinds of things that advertisers are looking for. I am basically advertising my own sensibilities out to the world for companies to exploit. Why would I do that? From now on, no more hashtags

2. Limit likes on Facebook to close family members and friends

Again, one’s likes create a map of one’s preferences and inclinations. By limiting them to the activities of a small handful of people, this map ought to be deemed useless. I will not be liking any products, services, and content that gives companies more insight into my wallet and time.

3. Only post content that adds value to others or has meaning to me.

I generally do this anyway, but you won’t find me posting a bunch of selfies. I’ll showcase my photography, blog posts, music and shows, creative work, and anything that involves thought, depth, and hard work on my part.

4. Limit my time on social media.

At this point, the only social media app I have on  my phone is Instagram, and I use it to distribute all my content to FB, Twitter, and Tumblr.  Facebook is only accessed on my laptop. This is still a work in progress, but my usage has decreased since I’ve unloaded my cell phone of all that stuff. Eventually, I want to get to a place in which I only access FB once every two or three days.

These four practices are what I have so far, but I plan on initiating more strategies that refine and limit my social media usage in the future. From now on, I proceed knowing that the most important part of my life are the actual face-to-face interactions and relationships that I cultivate every day.  Social media cannot be more important than this, even though it certainly wants to be.

I will write more about how this is going and the progress I am making.

-Roqué

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Posts In Review

This week, I just wanted to highlight some of my recent posts here at Bloom.

There has been a lot of news lately about the misuse of personal information from 87 million Facebook users by a company called Cambridge Analytica. If we stand idly by and allow these infractions to happen, then we become complicit. Here are my thoughts on the matter, and what I am doing about it.

Fight the Power of Social Media

Speaking of news, we are under the auspices of a US President whose behavior and leadership style have been unprecedented. Despite who our leader is, we do not have to follow his example .  .  .

How To Live In the Era of President Trump

Lastly, I have lived long enough in this life to have learned a few important things. Those who learn, learn best by teaching. Here are some of my lessons I want to share .  .  .

My Daily Rituals for a Meaningful Life

I would love to know your thoughts on these topics.

Have a wonderful week.

-Roqué

 

Laughter Makes an Asian Happy

Yes, laughter makes an Asian happy. That particular Asian is me. I’ve been posting lately about such serious issues related to abuse in the workplace, President Trump, the dangers of social media, and the challenges of being a person of color in America.

It’s time to take a breather and to laugh because laughter is a free and immediate high. A quick adrenaline rush. An infusion of joy. It’s right up there with chocolate, sex, and cat cuddles.

Here are some Youtube videos that I have recently enjoyed .  .  .

I’ve lived downstairs from noisy neighbors. This is pretty much how it goes:

I’d say these are more inventive and amusing than hilarious, but the bits with the Mikey the Cat are the best. Videographer extraordinaire Zach King is a national treasure .  .  .

Of course, cats .  .  .

Puppies!!!

Lastly, I’ll leave you with this  .  .  .

No matter how productive, miserable, or joyful you are, laughter will lighten all moods.

-Roqué

 

 

 

Fight the Power of Social Media

Peony the Elephant

What I have been doing lately may be subtle or even inconsequential, but I have been taking  small steps to fight the power of social media. Earlier this week, news was released about a company called Cambridge Analytica that compromised the personal data of close to 50 million facebook users in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. This is only one egregious abuse of access that large corporations and private entities are granted by social media companies, but it is a significant one–one of possibly countless others that are occurring without our knowledge or consent.

These kinds of invasions are compounded by the use of algorithms and powerful data analysis tools that comb through millions of our posts, hashtags, and photos in order to hone in on our sensibilities, personal tastes, and behavioral patterns. This information essentially becomes valuable fodder for businesses and corporations to use to target prospective customers. These entities can design marketing campaigns based upon vast amounts of social media information that we are freely handing over to them through our daily engagement.

This feels like a subtle form of surveillance and, ultimately, mind control that influences our decisions and inclinations.

Ok then, what can be done about this? Since social media and its encroaching power are relatively new phenomena, there does not appear to be a fail-safe way to guard oneself against it without completely disengaging. This does not mean that we should not try.

Here are some simple safeguards that I have implemented that guide my social media usage:

  • NEVER post personal information such as your street address, the name of the company you work for, phone number, or any other identifying information that could be used against you.
  • LIMIT your use of social media as much as you can. I have removed facebook and facebook messenger from my cell phone. I only check facebook on my internet browser when I am on my laptop. Otherwise, just use social media less. Maybe only allow yourself one-half hour of engagement per day? The less engaged you are, the less free information about your life that you are giving to the world.
  • CHOOSE one social media site to focus your output. These days, I primarily use Instagram because I love that its engagement is centered on photos and captions. As a creative person, this interface is simple and ideal. I have my instagram account set up so that it also posts on facebook and twitter simultaneously without having to visit those other sites. If facebook or twitter suits your needs better, than go with either of those. The smaller your window to the world, the less accessible you and your information can be.
  • UNDERSTAND how addictive social media is. These sites are designed to translate your usage into a formula that engages your attention for as long and as often as possible. Be aware of this and let this knowledge inform your behavior.
  • DESIGN posts that convey your vision of the world and your values instead of giving too personal a glimpse into your life. For example, do not post a photo of the front your house. Instead, post a photo of a flower that you grew in your garden. Do not post about the gifts you received for Christmas. Instead, write about the quality time you had with family and how it made you feel. Think about the message and the energy you want to put out into the world. You should dictate your own conversation, not the other way around.
  • DO NOT USE HASHTAGS, but if you have to, use them sparingly and know that they are like little lighthouses that attract companies who want to sell you products that relate to the ideas you espouse.  Again, this relates to how you want to portray your personal life on social media. Take control of the information and proceed with caution.
  • BUILD YOUR OWN PLATFORM. What I am doing with my website roqueinbloom.com and this blog is using my own platform to share ideas about my life, my ideals, and my activities.  This personal space on the internet exists without some multi-national corporation or foreign government mining my data.  Sure, hundreds of my friends and colleagues from facebook may probably never visit my website, but the friends who will are the only ones that truly matter. (Of course, I also have the ability to post links on social media back to my blog and website every week, thereby using social media to my own personal advantage.)

This is just a small handful of steps I have been thinking about and taking toward my ongoing social media usage. These will not be the only steps I take, and I will be posting more of my ideas surrounding social media and internet usage.

At the very least, I want to invite you to think about how you engage with social media.  Understand how addictive it is and how it can use all that you post and disclose for or against you without your consent.

Either way, it’s up to you how much of your own power and privacy you want to surrender.

-Roqué

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My Daily Rituals for a Meaningful Life

I have a lot of goals and dreams in my life, and I am cultivating daily rituals to help me accomplish them.  These are incremental steps that I take on a regular basis to help me get further along in my goals. They may not seem like much, but in the overall scheme of my life, they make a huge impact.

Here are my daily rituals that I try to live by:

1. Drink lots of water every day in the morning.

One of the first things I try to do after waking up is drink one or two glasses of water. I also have coffee in the morning, but water is absolutely essential. After six to eight hours of sleeping in bed, your body needs nourishment. This is also an easy way to wake up and refresh your internal organs after a long night of sleep.

2. I make my bed after I get up every morning.

This happens immediately after I get up. Not only does this make my bedroom look more orderly and calm, but it makes coming home later in the day more pleasant. My bed is my sanctuary, and if it looks clean and cared for, it becomes a much more inviting oasis. Coming home to a messy, unkempt bed is a lot less pleasant.

3. I write every day.

These days, I have created numerous opportunities to write in my daily life. What I mean by “write” is the exercise of composing my thoughts clearly and expressively on paper or on my computer.  I have the options of writing for an assignment at school, in my daily journal, my blog, or for a post on social media. Usually, all or at least one of these options is available. I have found this to be the best way to learn how to communicate. If you can write well, you can speak well. These skills are valuable in any situation.

4. I play music every day.

I am passionate about performing music, and it is a lifelong pursuit no matter where I am or what I am up to. I know how to play the piano, the cello, and the ukulele. The piano takes up the lion’s share of my music time, but I love the contrast that the two other instruments create. Playing music engages my mind and body in a way that feels effortless, fun, and creative. Whether I am learning a cover song, writing one of my own, practicing several pieces from my original catalog, or just making stuff up, the act of using my body to syphon music out into the world is extremely fulfilling.

5. I spend time with my cat every day.

I am an animal lover at heart and a cat person. I try to spend at least 15 minutes of my time just focused on my cat Steinway. Cuddling and petting are the main activities, and these are moments when I can extend my attention to something other than myself. It works out best whenever I get home from school at the end of the day. He is often ready to purr and give me numerous cat kisses if I lie down to greet him. The affection from an animal that loves you unconditionally is healing and comforting.

6. I express gratitude outwardly every day.

I say out loud something for which I am thankful. Usually, my partner and I ask each other what we are thankful for every morning. This is a daily practice for us, and I also say “Thank you” to people as much as possible.  When you cultivate thankfulness, you become aware of the abundance in your life. This is as close to happiness as I have found on a daily basis.

7. Read a minimum of 20 pages of a book every day.

Let’s do some math. If you read at least 20 pages of a book every day, that amounts to 7,300 pages. Let’s say the average book is 300 pages long. After a year, you will have read about 24 books. There are people who have not even read that many books in a lifetime.  Reading not only exercises your mind and fine tunes  your comprehension skills, but it invites new ideas and sensibilities into your mental vocabulary.  You can learn something new, laugh, cry, and be enlightened through reading books.

Again, these daily rituals may not seem like much, but for myself, here is the big picture:

1. I want to live a long life in good health. Water sustains everything on this earth. It also sustains me.

2. I want to have mental and emotional well-being. Caring for a pet, having a safe and clean place to rest, and continually being grateful are the building blocks  for a strong heart and mind.

3. I want to be an accomplished musician. Playing music every day strengthens my musical muscles.

4. I want to write a book someday and be an articulate and effective communicator. Reading allows me to learn how others communicate, and writing as a daily practice helps me express my ideas better. Like everything else in life, practice makes you better and stronger.

If you have a goal in your life or something that you deeply value, look for ways that you can integrate them into your daily existence. Weave them into the fabric of your life and watch how they can make you stronger, more focused, and more aware.

The goal becomes the process, and this is always good.

-Roqué

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Intention Defined and Embraced

One of the topics I explore here at Bloom is intention, and I wanted to take a moment to define, embrace, and celebrate its significance in my daily life.

First of all, what is intention?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is defined as “a determination to act in a certain way”.  Note that it is not the act itself that grounds this definition but the determination to carry it out that does.  In my experience, one’s intention is the foundation for any act in life.  The presence of an intention means that there is an awareness of one’s actions and its consequences.  There is a purpose to every movement.  There is a resolve for every reason.

Simply put:

INTENTION=

determination+awareness+a sense of purpose+mindfulness+resolve

Intention is exponential.  It reaps dividends.

Back in 2006, I moved to Nashville, TN with the intention to be a more active performing musician. Mostly, I did not know what I was doing, but I let my intention inform my actions.  First off, I started out playing open mics in the city.  Then, I booked shows at small venues and even recorded a full-length album.  By now, I have performed at several great venues and even some festivals.  My intention to perform more informed all of my decisions.  It made my path clear and focused.

It has always been worthwhile for me to know what my intention is in every scenario.  All else falls into place once this determination is made.

Of course, the intention is not the end of any road.  There is still follow-through and maintaining motivation to cultivate. I have found that setting an intention is a way to energetically say to yourself, others, and the universe for that matter where your true desires lie.  This does not guarantee an easy road ahead, but it is a fundamentally important and empowering start.

-Roqué

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Asian Representation in Popular Culture

I recently wrote a post about the dominance of White people and culture in every facet of society here in America (you can read the post HERE.), and I have been thinking a lot lately about Asian representation in popular culture. Surely there are more than just classic martial art films? (Cue the sound of crickets endlessly chirping away.)

I look over at the African-American community. They have come such a long way. Last year, the film Moonlight won best picture. They have won Oscars in all of the major acting categories. They have formidable pop stars. (Beyonce and Rihanna anyone?) Rap, R&B, and Hip hop have become mainstream mainstays. They have brought us jazz, blues, and Michael Jackson. A man by the name of Barrack Obama showed us all how its done, and recently, they have given us Black Panther–the first real African American super hero franchise. They are AMAZING.

Then, I look over at the rest of us–the Asians, Latinos, and everyone from the Middle East. We have yet to fully stake our claim at the table.  You can argue that many opportunities are being denied us, but what we must ultimately do is stand up and show up.

Unless we actively share our art with the world, no one will hear our voices. As a person of color, I need to rise above the limitations, the whitewashing, the gentrification, and the marginalizing. I need to stand up and be heard.

The cultural landscape is not completely devoid of empowered Asians. I wanted to highlight a small handful of them here who are officially kicking some serious ass. They are forging a path for the rest of us. We will all stand up and follow .  .  .

Nathan Chen

He is, arguably, the Michael Jordan of figure skating. It was refreshing to see a Chinese-American be the face of the US Olympic team in the media and in commercials leading up to the winter games in Pyeongchang, Korea. Even though we’ve already had titans like Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan before him, it felt as if this time someone of Asian descent was legitimately embraced as marketable and worthy of  hype and attention.

By the end of the competition, he made history by being the first of any Olympian to land five quad jumps in a single program in competition. He’s bad ass, and I’m so proud of how the whole country rooted for him.

Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen

Asian women have been dominant forces in American figure skating over the past few decades.  Again, Kristi Yamaguchi and Michelle Kwan come to mind. Carrying on in this tradition are Mirai Nagasu who was the first American woman to land a triple axel in Olympic competition and her teammate Karen Chen. Both of them have been US Champions and Olympians.  Gritty athleticism, hard work, and pure talent have taken them this far. I hope many more will follow.

Francis Lam

The show “The Splendid Table” on NPR has been a longstanding favorite among food enthusiasts in America and all over the world.  When its founder and host Lynn Rossetto Kasper announced that she was retiring, there was much trepidation surrounding the show’s future. It was not long before it was announced that Francis Lam would take over as host of the show. Armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of food and cooking, as well as an easygoing and comforting over-the-air presence, he has taken the show into new directions toward international flavors and delicacies. He is the son of Chinese immigrants and is so good at his job!  Listen to the Splendid Table on NPR! He’s totally worth it.

Vienna Teng

In the indie music scene, she is well-known, revered, and beloved. Vienna Teng is a singer/songwriter and pianist whose music is rich with poetic lyricism and gorgeous melodies. I’ve been to her shows, and she is the real deal. Her piano work is first-rate. There is a gentle shrewdness behind each of her songs. She gives us narrative arcs that force us to cram our minds into tight and uncomfortable spaces, only to set us free by the final chords. Currently, she splits her time between a successful  indie music career and work as a climate change consultant for international corporations. Isn’t that amazing? If you haven’t heard her music yet, check her out.

I will be featuring more Asian artists and content creators in the future, and I too, will stand up to be heard.

You’ll see.

-Roqué

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The Life Lessons I Have Learned

If you’re going to take the time to read what I have to write , then I need to share information that might be helpful to you, and this week, I want to share a couple of life lessons I have learned. These are important concepts and intentions that have helped to shape who I am and how I go about my day. I have many lessons to share, but today, here are two worth noting.

Lesson #1: Generally, endlessly staring  at a screen is addictive and adds less value to your life.

Television, mobile phones, and tablets cultivate a passive existence. Staring at a tv or binging on Netflix may be hugely entertaining, and watching movies can offer a break from a stressful reality.  However, doing countless hours of it leads to a passive and sedentary life. Every minute that passes by while you stare at a screen takes away time that could be spent having a conversation with a friend or loved one or actively doing creative work that you love.

In my case, I gave up on cable television many years ago. I decided to prioritize everything else over watching tv. The benefits of this have far outweighed the losses. Sure, I became unaware of the latest shows, plot lines, and movies, but it meant that I got to focus on my music and art. It meant that I got to cultivate a clean and beautiful home. It meant that I could take a luxurious nap or a walk outside. Television is a window that lets you stare passively out into the world. I would rather open a door, walk outside, and explore the world myself.

For many of us, this would be a difficult transition to make. The best way that helped me was to cut off the distraction from the source. Ending my cable subscription not only saved me money, but it created a barrier against hours of passive, sedentary, and addictive television. I have applied this mentality to anything that forces me to fixate my attention onto a screen. I limit my time on Facebook and Instagram to no more than 15 minutes each per day. This means I do not get caught in an endless comment loop or argument, and I gain valuable time to focus on time-sensitive work or long-term goals.

I am not saying that all television and passive entertainment is evil. I do allow myself to watch a movie or binge on Netflix once in a blue moon as a way to relax, but I aggressively go for moderation with the knowledge of how addictive all of it is. I impose time-limits, and I stick to them.

Lesson #2: Drinking a lot of water is one act that provides multiple benefits.

I have made it a habit every day to drink as much water as I can. At school, I carry a water bottle that I fill up when ever it gets empty. At home, I drink water in the morning and before I go to bed at night. Here are the benefits that I have discovered from drinking water:

  • It helps with the flow of food digestion in your body.
  • It rids your body of toxins.
  • It helps you to stay full longer and to eat less during a meal.
  • It helps your skin stay hydrated and prevents dryness.
  • It gives you a boost of energy and minimizes lethargy.
  • Its lack of sugar and salt means that it does not negatively impact your blood sugar or blood pressure like other drinks do.
  • It makes you feel refreshed and is a way to cleanse and invigorate your body on the inside (the way taking a shower can do so on the outside.)There may be countless more ways that drinking lots of water improves your well being, but I have enjoyed these particular benefits in my life.

The one complaint I have heard from people about drinking water is that it makes you urinate a lot. I would agree that it does; however, taking the time to pee offers a momentary break in your day to relax, breathe, and let go. This is what I do when the opportunity presents itself, and it has turned out to be a great way to help me stay present and focused throughout the day.

Also, wherever I go, I make a mental note to know where the bathrooms are. Holding it in too long is uncomfortable and not good for your body.

There you have it. These are two simple life lessons I follow that have offered exponential value on multiple levels to my life. Avoid and/or restrict addictive media on any screen (tv, mobile, etc.), and drink water many times a day.

Thank you for reading, and if you find any of this helpful, I hope it leads to a more wholesome and worthwhile existence.

-Roqué

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How To Live In the Era of President Trump

This has not been easy, but over the last year, I have given President Trump the benefit of the doubt. There is often a learning curve in any occupation, and being President of the United States is right up there with parenting and sewage/sanitation worker as one of the toughest jobs in the world. During his first year in office, I have watched, I have listened, and I have learned.  I’ve taken the time to observe his behavior and to build my own mindset and protective shield.

First of all, in the interest of transparency, I was not and, at this point, do not plan to be a Trump supporter. I would have preferred that Hillary Clinton had won. Her platform simply aligned more closely to my beliefs and outlook. Her defeat was a bone-crushing loss for me as it was for millions of others.

Nonetheless, I wanted to see how Trump would traverse through the steep learning curve of his ascendance. Maybe he would surprise me and be a leader that I did not know he was. At this point, here are the impressions I have gathered:

  • He is often reactionary and defensive. Just read his twitter posts.
  • He likes to elicit strong reactions from people and incite controversy. Again, look at his twitter posts, his engagement with North Korea being a prime example. Divisiveness is his M.O.
  • He is often at odds with members of his own White House staff that he selected. The high turnover rate over the past year speaks for itself.
  • Russia. In spite of his denial of any collusion, there are numerous reports from various valid sources that something has transpired or is ongoing. Whether it was a whole lot of a connection or very little, this is the monkey that cannot seem to get off his back.
  • He thinks poorly of women. The recording of him talking to a friend about grabbing a woman’s genitalia just floored me. Women are more than just their genitalia, Mr. President. It is a sad commentary about the world we live in that a man such as this defeated a woman to obtain this job.
  • He has no objection to using people’s lives as a bargaining chip for political gain. I am referring to his desire to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) if he does not get his border wall. Clearly, this is his way of playing hardball, and it may get him the result he wants. This behavior is unconscionable, and it leaves thousands of DACA recipients, many of whom are children, at the mercy of deportation and separation from their families and livelihood.

I could go on and on, but I have expressed all I want to say about my observations of this man.

The question I have left is this:

How do we live in the era of President Trump?

Well, I have a few simple suggestions.

  • Become as informed as possible. Watch news and read articles from multiple sources. This will allow you to obtain a broader view of what is happening.
  • Do not get your news from social media. Algorithms and, apparently, foreign countries like Russia can manipulate what you see on Facebook, for example. This feels like a form of mind control, and we owe it to ourselves to think independently both for ourselves and our children.
  • Do not follow Trump’s example. Instead of being reactionary, be thoughtful and considerate. Respect women and all people (as well as everyone’s genitalia for that matter). If you disagree with someone at your job, don’t just fire them. Do the hard work that creates actionable solutions.
  • Register to VOTE and then VOTE. If you do not use your voice, you have no power.
  • Seek out leaders in your community who lead with compassion. These are leaders who prioritize people and their struggles over political gain and personal ambition. Lift them up in their campaigns and as they do their work. Think about President Trump and find the opposite of that. Pursue the opposite of that.
  • Focus on coalition and community-building. As individuals, we can only do so much. If we build collaborative partnerships with groups of people who share your compassion and willingness to effect change, your power grows exponentially.
  • Let compassion be your guide. DACA recipients are not a bargaining chip. They are innocent people and children who deserve kindness and the best of what humanity can give them.

Ultimately, we live in a time when we must step up to be better than and greater than we were before. We must seek out and lead with compassion. We must be more discerning than ever. We cannot be complacent.

There is a leader within each of us, whether we are guiding other people, our own friends and families, or ourselves.

If we collectively lift up and support the least of us—the downtrodden, the poor, the disabled, refugees, our immigrant neighbors and friends—our sum total is elevated. This simple math should guide us in these trying times.

Let’s go this way. Let’s live this way.

-Roqué

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