Photo Essay: March for Democracy/March for Women Jan. 20, 2018 (By Sasha)

IMG_5229

Once again we joined the March for Democracy and for Women in Sarasota. Last year the crowd was estimated at over 3,000. This year I’ll wager that it grew to over 4,000 (I was counted at 3,015 as I crossed the Ringling Bridge and there was a huge crowd behind me and in the park.)

 

Even some kayakers took to the water in protest.

Last year’s march was one of anguish the day after the Trump inauguration and people were consoled to find so many others who felt the same. This year’s march felt different; it was energized. It focused on taking action in the form of resistance, voting, support for progressive candidates, and work to overturn Trump’s actions and agenda. People supported causes: DACA, immigration, Planned Parenthood, the environment, LGBTQ rights, the ACA, peace not nukes, the news media, and democracy in general.

Here are some photos that capture the vibe of resistance (and even the sense of humor of many of the demonstrators):

IMG_5127

IMG_5197

IMG_5210img_5234.jpg

The Salt Life: Hey, Nation! We are freezing too! (by Sasha)

Here in Florida we have viewed countless accounts of the freezing weather throughout the nation–but there has been hardly a word from the national news media about how we here on the Suncoast of Florida are suffering.

So here is my corrective to that lack of news coverage: It’s like brutally cold here and we are struggling, bigley!

IMG_5109To begin, the temperature today ranged from the low 30s to a high of 54. That’s right, no fake news here, this is an actual photo of a thermometer in Sarasota, FL at 3:30 p.m. Horrifying, is it not?

IMG_5103

 

At lunch time today, outdoor cafes were frigid and we had to eat…INDOORS! It was like so crowded!

 

 

 

People were seen wearing not only closed toed shoes, but egads–SOCKS! And women covered-up in woolen shawls! And STILL they were cold!

The world’s No. 1 Beach, Siesta Beach, was…EMPTY!!! Unheard of!siesta empty

IMG_5113

 

Ignore that sunshine and blue sky, the pool was too CHILLY for swimming. Even Lido Beach closed their pool. Brrrrr!

IMG_5100

 

 

 

 

There was a run on space heaters at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Target! It was madness and survival of the fittest!

 

It reminded Karma of her days in Syracuse, NY, and Koda was glad to have his fur coat!

 

IMG_5118

 

And in rare film footage, even Jack’s beloved Miata was seen tucked away in the garage with–HORRORS!–the top UP!

 

 

 

Keep us in your prayers, Nation. We survived Hurricane Irma, and we’ll use those skills to get through this as well.

 

 

 

 

 

The Salt Life: Where is Tom? (by Jack)

Screenshot 2018-01-14 13.32.59If you are a reader of the Sarasota Herald Tribune you have no doubt noticed that journalist Tom Lyons’ column is no longer a part of the paper. In August of 2017 Tom resigned. His column performed an important function in the community. In many ways he became the voice for those who were the victims of unfair treatment by government officials, bureaucrats, employers, HOAs, and other authorities. His column was based on a fundamental democratic cultural assumption (perhaps naïve) that if an injustice was made public community opinion would function as a corrective and force authorities to correct the problem. His simple stories illustrated that democracy was not about institutions (e.g. voting) as much as it was about cultural attitudes and beliefs.

Lyons resigned because of personnel changes that he found unacceptable. Management at the paper made Lee Williams (a.k.a. The Gun Writer) the editor of Special Topics, in effect, making him Tom’s boss. Williams and Lyons “did not play well together” and Lyons decided to quit rather than work with him as his “boss.” He put it this way: “I have long had a strong personal antipathy for the man . . . assigned to become my supervising editor. The reasons for my feelings for the man may not matter. . . . Assigning this particular editor to me was a sharp stick in the eye.”

Many local government officials are most certainly breathing a sigh of relief knowing that Tom Lyons is not going to be second-guessing their decisions. Indeed the columnist who has replaced Tom, Carrie Seidman, has indicated that she will not be taking on the kinds of issues Lyons did. “My style is conversational, not confrontational, my focus on unifying rather than taking sides,” she wrote in her maiden column. But more than that, her columns are less about other people and more about her and her experiences. She writes about downtown flooding because she had to drive through a flooded intersection, she writes about the decline of newspapers because friends of hers are losing their jobs at them, she writes about racism after taking a walking tour of Newtown.

The contrast between Lyons and Seidman is stark. Lyons advocated for the person getting screwed and he identified exactly who was screwing him/her and he demanded answers. He used his column to offer a critical take on news stories and address issues behind the scenes that were not otherwise reported. Seidman is self-referential, and even when addressing situations of injustice fails to trace who the responsible authorities are who could solve the problems and instead concludes that somehow the royal “we” need to come up with solutions. It is the difference between exposés and taking a stance about abuses of power versus human interest stories that draw no conclusion.

I don’t know where Tom is today. My guess is he’s playing his guitar and fishing. In any case I miss his columns. He made Sarasota a better place (even though he never followed through on a couple of my “tips”), and given the state of American democracy today, a voice like his is needed more than ever.

The Salt Life: Progressives, are you ready for January 20th? (by Sasha)

img_2722

One year ago Sarasota held a massive protest the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as President. This year we march again with the theme: Don’t Agonize! Organize!

So much to protest and so little time!

Saturday, January 20th

12-4 at Bayfront Park (gather near the Unconditional Surrender statue–ironic, no?)

Bring your signs!    Resistance is NOT futile!

For more information or to spread the word:

https://www.sarasotadems.org/event/march-for-democracy/