“The gods are strange. It is not our vices only they make instruments to scourge us. They bring us to ruin through what in us is good, gentle, human, loving.”

—Oscar Wilde, “De Profundis

I’ve been thinking a lot about “kindness” lately (perhaps for obvious reasons) and the rise of cruelty as a cultural phenomenon, yes, but also as it’s being wielded as a political tool. On the one hand the right uses cruelty to try to intimidate us (think, for example, about the acts of violence committed by the unmasked or the threats of violence that have now become commonplace at school board meetings—suffice it to say the “Fuck YourFeelings” crowd has a lot of  . . . feelings). On the other hand they mean to demoralize us.  Consider the ability of people like, say, Donald (my uncle) to commit even the most egregious crimes with impunity. This amoral strategy presents an ongoing challenge to our sense of fairness, justice, and sanity.

So, what can we do  together to use our kindness and empathy in order to ensure the American Experiment doesn’t fail? First of all, we need to urge our leaders to recognize the very real threat the current Republican party poses to American democracy. Democratic leadership must be made to understand that to concede an inch to the other side is to make common cause with fascism.

For our part we must embrace the idea that democracy is always worth fighting for. We have to remember, however, that we always have to be fighting for democracy—it’s not an end in itself, it is a process. We need to be neutral as to the facts (h/t mainstream media) but always biased towards democracy.

WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT THE GOOD IN US

You don’t have to pay a dime in order to support this endeavor—I’m just happy to have you here. Anybody who picks the free option will get at least one newsletter a week, survey results, unannounced extras, and the occasional pet pic—e.g.:

If you’re willing and able to chip in $6 a month to keep this going here a few reasons why you might want to:

Paid subscriptions allow me to dedicate as much time to The Good in Us as possible. This includes interacting with the community as much as I can and allows me the latitude to support and amplify other work and other creators I believe in while creating resources with which I can pursue other worthy projects.

For $6 a month you will also get:

  • All newsletters, including Random Thoughts on a Monday—a look back at the week that just passed and ahead to whatever we might have to brace ourselves for in the week to come; occasional Hot Takes, in which I overreact in real time and then write about my reaction to the infuriating thing with a blow torch. 

  • Access to the bi-weekly feature #GetTheFascistsOffTheLists in which I document who on the right is dominating Facebooks, podcasts, bestsellers lists. It’s not pretty but I think it’s necessary.

  • Membership in the Laboratories of Hope in which every week a special guest tells us what gives them hope and how they hang onto it. We will also try to figure out how to keep hope in our own lives despite the desperate times in which we live.

  • Full access to PetStack(TM) in which I share the ways in which Sebastian (the 24-year-old African Grey), Linden, (the six-year-old cat of awesomeness), and Nemo (the rescue Leopard Gecko of unknown age) variously enrich, complicate, and pretty much run my life. (And any other critters that cross my path—or whose paths I cross)

  • The ability to participate in weekly Surveys, including Good Guy of the Week— because every once in awhile it’s nice to focus on what went right for a change.

  • Commenting privileges and access to The Relay—our community—which is where the magic will happen.

You can get an annual subscription for $60 which includes all of the above and two months free (paying monthly ends up costing $72 dollars annually).

You can also become a Founding Member for $250 a year. This includes all of the above plus a cool t-shirt or tote bag when they become available. I promise you, it will be worth the wait. And I would be inexpressibly grateful.

If for any reason you are unable to pay but are eager to engage, please reach out to me at marytrump@substack.com and we’ll work it out.

COMMUNITY

THE RELAY

Community, or at least the idea of community has always been important to me and over the last year and a half the necessity of community has been amplified. It turns out I like Twitter— a lot. (I worry that this is genetic). I don’t simply like it, though, I’m drawn to it. It makes sense to me. And even though it’s linear there’s a community of like-minded people from whom I can draw strength. But it isn’t a great platform for interacting as a group. And the interlopers and trolls lurk. The Relay will be a chance for us to do what can’t be done anywhere else—create a vibrant, active, and challenging place for those of us who are in this fight together.

We will be like this seagull:

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME

I will try to meet this moment with the measured urgency it deserves, exercise restraint when necessary, embrace righteous fury when called for, and demonstrate the willingness, always, to admit when I’m wrong and try to do better (I know for a fact that this is not genetic).

As the Sexy Bassoonist in “Only Murders in the Building” would say, “Woof. That’s a lot.” But I’ll do my best to live up to it.

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT FROM EACH OTHER

Because I want this to be a safe space for everybody in the community, here are some guidelines:

  • No smoking

  • Proof of vaccination required

  • (Judicious) swearing encouraged

  • Treating each other with respect is compulsory.

    • This applies even to those with whom we disagree. Agreeing with everybody all of the time is boring. Constructive disagreement can be a catalyst for rethinking our entrenched positions or developing better ways to express our beliefs. (I say this as somebody who has very decided opinions.) That is what The Relay is for.

My hope is that together we will find an answer to the question: “What, after all, do we owe each other?

Thank you, again, for being here. I am so looking forward to the ride.

Mary

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