Among My Many Delights: Political Juxtaposition in Trump World

We all saw the failure of the repeal of the ACA.  We saw the GOP welch on their bet and fail to push the repeal of Obamacare through and the fall of Flynn.

Juxtaposition is among my delights.  By far, the greatest layering of themes and concepts is to see the tides are turning with respect to social justice in a positive way from macro to micro, fed to local.

This was a week in resistance. Against the national backdrop of effective call based actions to protect healthcare, I spent last Sunday, March 26th, with NJ Together, led by Hudson’s Frank McMillan, who have worked for 9 months on door knocking and advocacy campaigns.

Having pinpointed their first LLC property owner worthy of an action, River Edge Management/Trendy Management LLCs run by Esther Kaplan, 175 residents gathered to confront her.  In Jersey City, there is a theme of landlords who benefit financially from failing to service their tenants’ lack of heat, moldy ceilings, flooding, holes in their walls, poor sanitation, a lack of light in dim and murky halls among neglecting to provide homes their tenants would be proud to build memories in, to have holidays, dignified encounters.  I suppose in that ilk, the name of the LLC is apt.

Esther Kaplan didn’t come.

Mayor Fulop attended, as did Council President Rolando Lavarro, Councilman Danny Rivera, Councilman Chris Gadsen and Mayoral Candidate Bill Matsikoudis.

This event became highly politicized quickly, but it needed to be.  When dealing in a world of continuums and juxtapositions, it’s clear that we need to maintain that the Lord of the Manor is not the master of today.

There was the pledge from Mayor Fulop to begin work the next day — rightly so and they did. Council President Rolando Lavarro reported that several units were inspected the following day and that Councilman Rivera attended the inspections personally.

This is no new pattern; it dates back to when landlords were literal lords. We have been battling the trickle down phenomenon since well before the pillaging of villages.  The disregard for human dignity by wealthy landowners is nothing really new, is it?   Lest we forget where the terms come from, landlord is a term derived from the caste system; the word villain once meant villager and evolved into a word denoting criminality due to the criminalization of poverty.

In writing this piece, a source commented, Koren, this is deep policy, not a political issue. However, as described in Policy Paradox by Deborah Stone, or echoed in the French Revolution – et al revolutions, War Hunger Sickness and Death are the result of non-innovative political decision making. In that ilk, deep policy will always be perceived as political by myself.  But I digress.

Bill Matsikoudis, candidate for Jersey City Mayor, stated that the code enforcements up to this point have been poorly enforced thus far and any promises to enforce should be taken with a grain of salt.

It seems to me that the administration hit the ground running.

Juxtaposition and full circling are indeed my academic delights.

Resistance manifested again in the form of art shows and talks speaking to the threats to the National Endowment for the Arts.  Opportunity costs were at the forefront and the point I sought to endear people to  — the thought that access to intellectual stimulation will allow people to have alternatives to actions inspired by boredom, like substance abuse and so on — hopefully was an apt attempt to preserve culture by maintaining funding for arts districts which bolster tourism and preserve jobs.

The return on investment in the arts has been shown to far exceed that of private sector with respect to returns, but it is no wonder why those most skilled at exercising the first amendment would be first to be silenced. Echos of NJ resistance were aestheticized in imagery in this art show of visual arts activists — the Police and community engagement actions hosted by the NAACP, BluewaveNJ, NJCF.  The resistance training provided by the Working Families Alliance, one in conjunction with the Hudson County Young Dems.  Much of the imagery foreshadowed my last exercise in resistance of the week.

Saturday, I traveled to Staten Island to sit with Dylan Schwartz who is running for the NYC Council South Shore seat against 51st District Councilman Joe Borelli, the minority whip of the NYC Council who also co-chaired Trump’s campaign in the Republican primary.  In visiting my friend and fellow YD, I was delighted to be brought to an action hosted by Cesar Vargas, Esq., New York’s first undocumented lawyer in partnership with veteran organizer Mercado Gonzalo, the Executive Director of La Colmena.

Together, we spotlighted our stories, stories of people desperate to understand what it must feel like to be at risk, stories of undocumented parents whose children are newly at risk for being placed in the system, stories of war refugees, political prisoners and our shared connection to the issue at hand.  That not only is it simply the right thing to do to seek to keep people working, to have families stay together, but the social cost and financial cost — if you really want to monetize human life — are much too high.

A week of resistance involved direct targeting of the modern day caste system towards towards stopping the plight  of illegal 30-50% rent increases and inhumane conditions, artists painting the immigrant experience and the cross state connection where a NY resident from Mexico fights to free her husband from a facility in NJ.

I have a dear friend who asks of me: Dame Luz which I have learned means Give me Light … or explain perhaps.  The scene as depicted is that there is a power shift.  I’ve enjoyed the realization that the juxtaposition of a disorganized, chaotic administration backdropped behind well organized and planned out action with quantifiable and qualitatively sound results is fully the new narrative.  That purple hearts on the war on women can now be the narrative as opposed to before.

That perhaps we can learn enough from the past to avoid violence – a-k-a the result of failed politics and governance.  Further, the juxtaposition of journalistic sourcing as a result from refusal is an amplification of opportunity cost because the less we hear from stubborn leaders pushes those seeking stories to hear more from those affected by deep policy choices made by those leaders – like the tenants who spoke, or artists losing funding or those with detained loved ones and therein lies a strategy: images, stories and compassion.

As we watch the splintering power structure,  or the forest burned down, opportunity is arising from the forest bed.  I am very interested in hearing from new people.  Moreover, I am LOVING the silent treatment from the old ones.  My grandmother would say, a face will never be benefited by the spiteful removal of one’s nose. Resistance is the new party perhaps.  Love me, or leave me alone, I guess.

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