Don’t Tell Mama!
Sue Gillis, Vermont Woman Publisher

One of my favorite places in New York City is Don't Tell Mama, named after the song from Cabaret. Located Off Broadway, it's a nightspot for famous and not-so-famous cabaret singers. Even though it's an intimate space, packed mostly with New Yorkers, you can usually get a table. Friendly, noisy, full of surprises and talent, it's a fun night on the town. Don't even think about showing up till 11 p.m. Every town could use a Don't Tell Mama as a refuge from daily unpredictable events, especially now as we wake up and go to bed frightened by the horrors coming out of the White House.

By the time you read this, Trump and his horribles will have created more unimaginable havoc, as they do on a daily basis, so this message is fluid. On the faces of such respected men as investigative reporters David Sanger of the New York Times and the Washington Post's David Ignatius and former CIA director Leon Panetta you can read their deep concern and know they fear for the security of the country on all levels.

Photo: Jan Doerler

Narcissism Diagnosis?

Thanks to those who so recklessly voted for Trump in the name of some unknown fairy-tale notion of change, we are now faced with living through an era of reckless incompetence under a man of questionable stability who believes he has been elected to do anything he wants without regard for the Constitution. Mental health experts across the country—out of great concern and patriotism—are beginning to come forward with their observations and diagnosis of Trump, breaking a longtime code of not discussing the mental states of public figures. For in-depth information on this, go online and search Trump and narcissism. Also see the definition of "malignant narcissism" to understand what is at stake and what we can expect going forward.

Trump seems to love the chaos he has created and condoned, as evidenced by his continued incoherent red meat speeches directed to his supporters, emphasizing anger, racism, and greed and positioning himself as the strongman, the daddy who will fix it—and so far they are hanging on his every lie. As for the rest of us, it's near daily fear: let's not forget that more than half of us did not vote for him—which still enrages him. Not even a month into his presidency and we are witnessing national chaos (now worldwide) and public displays of resistance, while Trump regularly bashes the media and legal system and spews his venom at everything and anyone who questions or disagrees with him. All are fair game for his loony reactive Tweets of the moment. His White House administration and cabinet are mess. National security is compromised on all fronts, with no clear leadership and confusing and contradictory remarks run amok. Even though the general public has little in-depth knowledge of just how bad it is, many can sense things are out of control.

Democracy at Stake

Democracy has always been fragile, dependent on leaders with integrity, intelligence, and measured sanity—of which Trump has none. Because the executive branch has more power than ever and because both chambers of Congress are controlled by Republicans, democracy is being tested like never before. This election betrayed our ancestors and their admirable labors for a vulgar clown. The question is where are we headed and will democracy hold up?

Just this past Sunday (Feb. 12), Stephen Miller, the 31-year-old hard-right senior adviser to Trump, repeatedly said on five network shows: "The president's powers here are beyond question. There's no such thing as judicial supremacy." He implied that presidential power exceeds the judiciary, the people of the US, a free press, and anyone else. In other words, Trump, who was unpopularly elected and who is historically the most unpopular president ever, apparently sees himself as a dictator, above the law. Miller's comments and his chilling delivery finally put it all out there for everyone to hear. And just in case you have any remaining doubts, Trump tweeted his praise for Miller's performance. There is no question where Trump is headed. The truth has been revealed, and we as citizens of this country can no longer hide under a blanket, hoping for the best.

Stand Up for Your Beliefs

Women marched in record numbers in 675 cities across America on January 20. Five million plus from cities the size of New York City and Washington, DC, to small towns like our own little Montpelier. I proudly marched with 20,000 women in St. Petersburg, Florida, a march so big that it snaked around on itself (by the way, without police protection). The march in DC was so large that it came to a standstill. No one predicted this kind of turnout, and it was invigorating. More importantly, it showed the world that women were not going to roll over for Trump, and it proved the power of Americans standing up and resisting. More marches are planned on climate change and immigration.

There is more that needs to be done beyond marching. It's important to know what you believe in and defend those beliefs as though your life depends on it. These are mine as adopted and edited by a Facebook friend:

  • I will not "work together" to overturn Roe v. Wade, or restrict reproductive health care for women, including safe, legal, and rare abortions, or deny a woman's right to make her own choices with her physician.
  • I will not "work together" to support Trump's ban on aid to NGOs that provide safe abortions to poor women in third world countries.
  • I will not "work together" to privatize Medicare and cut Social Security and Medicaid.
  • I will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
  • I will not "work together" to build a wall.
  • I will not "work together" to give white supremacists a seat at the table.
  • I will not "work together" to take civil rights away from anyone including LGBT, Muslims, and immigrants.
  • I will not "work together" to weaken environmental protection laws or international agreements.
  • I will not "work together" to abolish the Affordable Care Act without a replacement with similar benefits.
  • I will not "work together" to get rid of or not pass common-sense gun regulations.
  • I will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention, condoning torture of any kind.
  • I will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1 percent and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
  • I will not "work together" to allow the Trump and his pals to use the presidency to illegally self-profit.
  • I will not "work together" to sell national parklands to companies that will destroy them for profit.
  • I will not "work together" to shut out refugees from countries whose governments we destroyed.
  • I will not "work together" to waste trillions on the military when we already have the world's strongest.
  • I will not "work together" to slash funding for public school education or support funding for charter schools without accountability.
  • I will not "work together" to take assistance from those who are the nation's poorest and sickest.
  • I will not "work together" to not increase the minimum wage to a livable wage to $15 per hour.
  • I will not "work together" to not fund scientific research for climate change and health issues.
  • I will not "work together" to put even more big money into politics and not repeal Citizens United.
  • I will not "work together" to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
  • I will not "work together" to deny climate change scientific evidence to increase corporate profits
  • I will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.
  • I will not "work together" to normalize tyranny, bullying, and trashing those who disagree with you.
  • I will not "work together" to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.
  • I will not "work together" with anyone who is or admires tyrants and dictators.
  • I will not "work together" with those who blame minorities for their inability to thrive.
  • I will not "work together" to support a president who obsessively tweets unsecured, incoherent, childish messages and talks about security on unsecured phones in public places, which makes us all unsafe.
  • I will not "work together" to trash our democratic institutions, principles, and policies, including our security and judicial agencies and those who work in them.
  • I will not "work together" to support this president who has not read the Constitution and has shown no knowledge of it or respect for it.
  • I will not "work together" to support a self-acknowledged dictator who thinks he is above the law.
  • Every one of us, no matter how young or old, has a responsibility to resist to save our country. Be proud of your
  • efforts to do your part, whatever that may be. Here are a few tips.
  • Always be peaceful. Violence reverses your message and your intended result.
  • Do not be silent. But do not confront your family, neighbors, or coworkers. When the opportunity arises, state your opinion and leave it at that.
  • Always stand up to bigotry, racism, sexism, antisemitism, homophobia, and immigrant bashing. Say out loud: "What you just said does not stand with me."
  • Boycott businesses that you do not agree with. Write to them and let them know it.
  • Go local. Here you can make the most difference. Volunteer. Show up for the Democratic Party caucuses in your town. Run for office. Get involved. Vote!
  • Run for office. Get involved. Flood the phone lines of red state Congressmen.
  • Open your wallet. Give locally and generously to those organizations and individuals you believe are making a difference, i.e. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, candidates, Vermont Woman.
  • Use Vermont Woman: it's your paper. It's the only one in the country. Reach out to our 25,000 readers. Writers letters to the editor:
  • Donate: Vermont Woman, P.O. Box 490, South Hero, Vermont 05486.

And go to Don't Tell Mama on your next trip to NYC, and kick back, enjoy, and reflect on your efforts to participate in resistance in your own way by whatever means you do best.



Sue Gillis is the Publisher of Vermont Woman.