Election 2016: Where Do We Go From Here?

tj

I usually don’t get too political here, because I consider Latinaish to be a “niche” blog with a focus on Latinx and Latin American culture, bilingual/bicultural life, language, and language acquisition. This is my happy place, and I like to wipe my feet before entering so as not to track any dirt in here.

But if you know me personally and/or follow my personal Twitter account, you know that I’m very vocal and passionate when it comes to current events, politics, human rights, and other less cheerful topics. (I contain multitudes, as we all do.) Usually Twitter is the perfect platform for me to be involved and have my say, but today I need to say something much longer than 140 characters, and I also feel that it’s important enough to break with my self-imposed rule of covering only very specific topics, because in the end it affects this community. It affects the readers of this blog who are mostly Latinx, or married into the Latinx community. It especially impacts those of us without papers, DREAMers, and DACA recipients, but also our loved ones regardless of legal status, our family and friends — all of us.

I know that most of us here voted for Hillary, and felt sucker punched on election night. Since then, many of us have gone through various stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression. The last stage of grief is acceptance, but this is a stage we cannot enter, at least not in a traditional sense. If we are to reach acceptance, it must be an acceptance with conditions. It must be “I accept this is our situation, but I will fight it every day and in every way I can.”

Some people like to say those who have not accepted the results of this election are not respecting democracy, (or in less eloquent words, that they are “liberal cry babies.”) This is not true. This would be true if this had been a normal election, and if Donald Trump was a normal candidate. Not accepting the results of an election corrupted by FBI and foreign government involvement is exactly what we should be doing in a democratic society. Not accepting the presidency of an incompetent, dangerous demagogue who daily threatens Constitutional rights is our duty and responsibility to prevent the destruction of our country.

So drowned out the voices of the ignorant, emboldened trolls and hatemongers. Despite what they want you to think, thankfully, they are in the minority. My advice is to not waste your breath, time, or energy, arguing with them. There are bigger things to do.

As most of you know, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump has won more electoral votes. This is why many have turned their attention and hopes to the electoral college who will vote on December 19th, 2016. It is these electors who actually hold the power under the Constitution to select the president. Regardless of why the electoral college was created by our founding fathers, (there is some disagreement on that), and if we should abolish it, the fact is it exists today, and it is a tool that can be used.

And so there has been a movement to contact electors and convince them to become “faithless electors” – to vote their conscience — which is to say, they should not vote for Donald Trump even if their state went red during the election. There is another movement called Hamilton Electors, which is somewhat less popular with those who supported Hillary Clinton because it calls on all electors, even those in blue states, to unite behind a “reasonable Republican candidate.”

Some find it unconscionable that electors in blue states would cast their vote for a Republican, but I ask those of you who are having a hard time with this to take a deep breath, and listen for a moment.

You will never get enough Republican electors to back Hillary Clinton. Let’s just be realistic and clear-headed here. If the vote then goes to the House of Representatives with Hillary as the candidate electors backed, the House of Representatives will simply revert back to Trump. All your efforts will have been pointless.

Choosing a Republican alternative is the only option that has an ice cube’s chance in hell of working. If the vote goes to the House of Representatives in January with a sensible Republican alternative to Trump, that would be very tempting to many at the House of Representatives who have already voiced their concern that Trump is not fit for office. (There are more than 40 Republicans in the House of Representatives who reportedly feel this way.) States only get one vote, so those states with multiple representatives must come to a consensus. A president is elected with a 26 state majority — So this scenario isn’t impossible.

Those who say electors need to vote Hillary because she won the popular vote — in an ideal world, yes — but this is a numbers game, this is not a time to fantasize about what could have been. You will not get Republican electors to vote Hillary – it just will not happen. We must compromise. For those refusing to support Hamilton Electors, you are showing your privilege. Not all of us can afford to be so idealistic. We are in damage control mode. We are in anyone-but-Trump mode, because we fear for our Constitutional rights. We fear he will do the things he has promised. We fear for our freedom of speech, freedom of the press. We fear for our rights as women, our safety as Muslims and Jews, as members of the LGBTQIA community, as POC, as immigrants and refugees. We fear for future generations and the future of this planet when climate change isn’t taken seriously. So much is at risk. We can’t afford to be idealistic.

Whether we agree on this point or not, in the meantime, I encourage you to be active and vocal. None of us can not afford to sit idle and hope the electoral college will save us.

What else can you do?

• Join Flippable.org to get daily and weekly action items. For those intimidated or confused by contacting congresspeople, Flippable makes it simple to know who to contact and what to contact them about. [Updated 12/5/2016 to add another great one to join: Wall Of Us.]

• Sign petitions from organizations such as Change.org, and MoveOn.

• Get involved with Hamilton Electors. (There’s an event happening nationwide on December 19th, as well as other actions you can take.)

• We have midterm elections to win in 2018, you have representatives at the state and local level you should be contacting regularly. Call them, tweet them, write them, email them.

• Denounce each disagreeable Cabinet pick Trump makes via social media, signing petitions, calls and emails to relevant government officials.

• Stay vigilant and call Trump out on social media every time he tramples our Constitutional rights.

• Follow The DJT Resistance on Twitter.

• Protest his “victory tour” rallies if they come to a city near you.

• Show up to the Women’s March on Washington.

• Join the #GrabYourWallet movement and contact companies you’re boycotting because they carry Trump merchandise.

• Donate to and volunteer for organizations like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matters, #NoDAPL, We Need Diverse Books, Immigration Reform for America, CAIR, Greenpeace, American Association of People with Disabilities, and MALDEF.

• Subscribe to responsible news outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, donate to NPR. Call out irresponsible reporting.

• Download the Signal app for double encrypted texting. This protects your messages from government spying or from being otherwise intercepted.

• Prepare for the worst by arming yourself with knowledge of your rights and resources. It is better to be prepared than not to be.

• Ask your mayor if he/she will declare your city as a Sanctuary City.

• If you see racist or anti-Semitic graffiti then grab a paint brush and cover it up. Do not allow hate symbols and speech to be normalized.

• If you see someone being mistreated or discriminated against then take action to stop it.

• Resist, resist, resist.

• Share this post on your social media channels. Spread the word.

Our work is not nearly finished, it’s only just begun.

Additional Reading:

5 Concrete Ways You Can Act Now in the Face of a Trump Presidency

Cantinflas Marathon

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Cine Sony Television will have a four-day Thanksgiving weekend Cantinflas movie marathon. From November 24th to November 27th. Starting at 7 am ET, you will be able to watch over 30 Cantinflas films commercial free.

A few of the popular Cantinflas films airing during the marathon include:

• El Analfabeto (The Illiterate One)
• A Volar Joven (To the Skies Young Man)
• Los Tres Mosqueteros (The Three Musketeers)
• El Padrecito (The Good Priest)
• El Bolero De Raquel (Raquel’s Shoeshiner)
• Ni Sangre Ni Arena (Neither Blood Nor Sand)
• El Barrendero (The Sweeper)
• Su Excelencia (Your Excellency)
• Si Yo Fuera Diputado (If I Were A Deputy)
• El Bombero Atomico (The Atomic Fireman)
• Don Quijote Cabalga de Nuevo (Don Quijote Rides Again)
• El Ministro y Yo (The Minister and I)

If you’re not familiar with Mario Moreno (1911-1993) who was professionally known as Cantinflas, you should take this opportunity to get acquainted. Moreno was not just a Mexican Golden Globe-winning comic film actor, but a producer, and screenwriter who was regarded as “the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico” for his onscreen persona of the underdog who overcame all odds. (Chaplin, by the way, upon seeing “Ni Sangre Ni Arena”, declared Cantinflas to be the greatest comedian alive.) In his life off the screen, Moreno was an activist and philanthropist who became a symbol of hope for the downtrodden and impoverished.

As a linguaphile, one of my favorite things about Moreno is how he became a verb.

“Cantinflas is so popular, he even changed the Spanish language. There’s a verb in Spanish: cantinflear. It means to talk in so many circles and puns that everyone ends up completely confused. It was the character’s signature move when caught in a tight spot.” – [JASMINE GARSD/NPR]

The impact Cantinflas had and continues to have, can not be overstated. His films span decades and served not only as entertainment, but as political commentary which is just as relevant today as it was then — commentary which extends well beyond the borders of Mexico.

Links worth checking out:

Cantinflas, With His Puns And Satire, Is Back (And Still Relevant)

Cantinflas on Wikipedia

Not sure if you have Cine Sony? Click here to find the channel

Mamá the Alien

MAMA_THE_ALIEN_cover

Some of you may remember I interviewed Salvadoran children’s author René Colato Laínez here before, and today I’m excited to not only share his newest book with you, but to offer you the opportunity to win a copy of it in the giveaway below!

Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Laura Lacámara is a bilingual book in both English and Spanish, which is something I always appreciated finding when my boys were little. I love owning books that I can read to them in either language and which are accessible to everyone in the house. I also found books like this to be an invaluable tool (for myself, and for the kids), to learn new vocabulary by comparing the two texts.

Mamá the Alien tells the story of a little girl named Sofia who discovers her mother’s “Resident Alien” card and then begins to wonder what sort of alien her mother is. Is her mother trilingual? Does she speak English, Spanish, and… Alien? The concept of this book is great because it really is a confusing concept for young children to hear this word “alien” in the media to refer to people who have come from other countries when their only frame of reference is the sci-fi outer space definition of the word.

alien-mama-page

The fun, colorful illustrations and the anticipation of wondering what Sofia will discover about her mother will be sure to keep kids interested while teaching them something new, and reassuring those who may be struggling with similar questions about a family member’s or his/her own identity.

Want to win a copy? Enter the giveaway below!

===GIVEAWAY CLOSED! CONGRATS TO Paola R!===

Giveaway Details

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a copy of the book MAMA THE ALIEN by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Laura Lacámara.

How to enter: Just leave a comment below!

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the person responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between August 19th, 2016 through August 24th, 2016. Entries received after August 24th, 2016 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Ancestry DNA: Part 4

carlos-2016

In Part 1 and Part 2, I took you through the process and results of my own DNA test with Ancestry.com – Now it’s Carlos’s turn! Check out Part 3 for Carlos’s thoughts before taking the test. Part 4 (this final post) is Carlos’s results!

Carlos’s results are in! His took much longer to arrive, (40 days compared to the 22 days I waited.) Maybe the Ancestry DNA test has become more popular since I did mine. At first I thought maybe it was taking so long because we did it around Saint Patrick’s Day and you tend to see a lot of their commercials encouraging people to see if they have Irish ancestry around that time of year, but that can’t be it, because I also did mine around Saint Patrick’s Day last year. While we were waiting for the results, Carlos joked that it was taking so long because they discovered he’s el eslabón perdido (“the missing link”) and they were busy gathering researchers from around the world, which was a very Carlos-ish joke to make.

Anyway, I won’t keep you in more suspense than is necessary. Let’s get to the results!

When I asked Carlos if he had any predictions, he had answered, “Maybe that I’m mostly indigenous” – And it turns out he was correct! Carlos is 57% Native American. It’s just a shame that Ancestry DNA can’t go into more detail than that.

native

We can assume this is most likely Central American tribes descended from the Mayan and/or Aztec, but we really have no way of knowing for sure.

Carlos also got 27% Europe. Unsurprisingly the majority of that (16%) is from the Iberian Peninsula.

iberian-peninsula

What about the rest of that 27% though? That’s where we start getting some interesting results.

4% Italy/Greece
3% Great Britain
2% European Jewish
2% Ireland

This means Carlos and I have some ancestry in common! (It also means I can no longer pinch him on Saint Patrick’s Day for not being Irish.)

italy-greece

great-britain

European-Jewish

Ireland

We’ve got 16% left, any guesses before we go on?

Well, here’s some more surprises. Carlos is 12% African.

The breakdown is:

North Africa 5%
Senegal 2%
Mali 2%
Ivory Coast/Ghana 2%
Africa Southeastern Bantu 1%

And here are the maps with more detailed information on those:

africa-north

senegal

mali

ivory-coast-ghana

africa-bantu

Now we have just 4% left, and that is broken down as:

Caucausus 3%
Middle East < 1%

caucasus

middle-east

That’s it! Here’s a picture of the full breakdown (including expanded trace regions) and the world map showing all his ancestral areas:

carlos-regions-expanded

carlos-dna-map

A few last questions with Carlos:

Tracy: Which result surprised you the most?
Carlos: Jewish and Irish.

Tracy: Has this changed anything for you? How you see yourself? How you see the world?
Carlos: I don’t know yet. I’m still kind of processing it.

Tracy: Was there anything you were disappointed not to see?
Carlos: Well, I’m not disappointed, but I’m surprised that I’m not East Asian at all. I was kind of expecting I would be because of the way my [paternal] grandmother looked. I also wish the technology was advanced enough to give me more detail about the Native American result.

Tracy: What is your advice to other people considering doing the Ancestry DNA test?
Carlos: I recommend it, they should do it.

Ancestry DNA: Part 3

Image source: Flickr user charamelody

Image source: Flickr user charamelody

In Part 1 and Part 2, I took you through the process and results of my own DNA test with Ancestry.com – Now it’s Carlos’s turn!

Around this time last year I asked Carlos if I could order the DNA test for my birthday present. Ever since then Carlos has been wanting to do his own DNA test, but has always balked at spending the money on it. I decided that since my birthday is coming up again, this year my present will be Carlos’s test. You may wonder how something for Carlos is a birthday gift for me, but I’m just as curious about his results as he is, and I can think of few things I want that would be this much fun. So we ordered the test today. Below is my interview with Carlos to see how he’s feeling and his thoughts on the topic. Because I already covered the “how to” of the DNA test in Part 1 when I did mine, we’ll skip discussing the technical aspect of Carlos’s test. Part 4 will be posted when we receive his results!

Tracy: How are you feeling about the DNA test? Nervous? Anxious? Excited?

Carlos: I’m not really nervous, more curious than anything else.

Tracy: What do you think you’ll find out? Any predictions?

Carlos: No, I’m not sure. No idea. Maybe that I’m mostly indigenous?

Tracy: Why do you say that? Did anyone in your family speak an indigenous language or anything?

Carlos: I don’t know, because of my skin color, I guess. No one in my family spoke Náhuat that I know of, I don’t know if older generations spoke it.

Tracy: What do you already know, or think you know, about your roots? What family stories, recipes, or traditions did you have growing up that offer clues to your ancestry?

Carlos: I don’t have any clues. My family didn’t pass down traditions the way people do here [in the United States]… I mean, my family’s traditions were like everyone’s traditions – just Salvadoran traditions, Salvadoran culture.

Tracy: Were both sides of your family Catholic?

Carlos: Yes, as far as I know.

Tracy: Who are the oldest relatives you remember, and what do you remember about them?

Carlos: My mom says some of her father’s side of the family was light-skinned, but for my dad I don’t really know anything. My dad looked more Japanese than anything, and his mother looked Asian too.

Tracy: Your mother’s side of the family, as far back as you know, was from Chalatenango and your father’s side was from Ilobasco, right?

Carlos: Right, as far as I know. I don’t know any family history farther than that.

Tracy: Wait, you told me a story once about one of your family members in Europe, didn’t you? Who was that? Was she born in Europe?

Carlos: Oh, that was one of my [maternal] grandfather’s grandmother’s sisters…I think. She was born in El Salvador but she learned French and went to be a nanny in France. During World War II they had to flee and the family got separated. She took the child up to the mountains and kept him safe. When the family was reunited they were so thankful that they took care of her the rest of her life.

Tracy: She stayed in France and died there?

Carlos: No, she came back to El Salvador but they sent her money the rest of her life… Something like that. I’m never sure about these stories.

Tracy: Anyway, you said she was born in El Salvador, so that wouldn’t make you French.

Carlos: No.

Tracy: What if you get a really unexpected result? Do you think you’ll want to explore that culture and your roots a bit more?

Carlos: Yes, definitely.

Tracy: When I got my results I shared them with my sisters so they would know more about their heritage, but you don’t have any full-blooded brothers or sisters; all your siblings are half-siblings. Do you think you’ll share your results with any of them even though they won’t know what parts of your ancestry results are also theirs?

Carlos: No, it’s more for me to know, and for our boys to know the other half of their heritage.

Playlist: Paz

During the month of December, blogueras Romina of Mamá XXI and Laura of Mamá Especial Cuenta Conmigo are posting messages of peace on their blogs and social media channels as part of the #MamisPorLaPAZ initiative they created.

You can read more about it here but I decided to contribute at least one post to the cause by creating this playlist for peace.

What song or video that fits the theme of “paz” would you add to this list? Share in comments! (And feel free to join initiative on your own blogs and social media channels.)

Juanes – Odio Por Amor

Natalia LaFourcade – Un Derecho de Nacimiento

UNFPA El Salvador – Yo Decido Vivir en Paz

Espinoza Paz – Si Amas a Dios

Señor Tenga – Mensaje de Paz

Playing for Change – United

Julieta Venegas – Un Poco De Paz

Juanes – Paz, Paz, Paz

A few videos (not songs) worth watching:

Naciones Unidas El Salvador – También soy persona

Unsung Hero – TVC Thai Life Insurance

The Most Astounding Fact – Neil deGrasse Tyson

El sexo débil

el-sexo-debil

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Soy muy exigente con las telenovelas que miro. No he visto ninguna con lealtad desde Herederos del Monte, pero El Sexo Débil es una que creo que voy a ver hasta el final. Sólo he visto dos episodios hasta ahora, pero me encanta la trama y los personajes mujeres fuertes. He aquí una descripción de la serie:

Los hombres siempre han pensado que el machismo es sinónimo de respeto, liderazgo y valentía; que el ser macho es provocado por sentimientos que un hombre no debe revelar, o al menos, lo exige la sociedad. Eso ocurre con los Camacho, una familia de hombres dedicados a la medicina cuya característica principal es el ser machistas. Eso causa que, un día, cada una de las mujeres de los Camacho abandonen a sus parejas: Álvaro es abandonado por tener celos de su esposa, al ser ella más exitosa en lo profesional; a Dante lo deja su novia actual por un sueco que conoció en París; a Julián lo abandona su prometida por haberle sido infiel varias veces; y a Agustín, el patriarca, lo deja su esposa por no escucharla durante tres décadas de casados. Bruno, el menor de los Camacho y el único que queda con una relación estable, es homosexual.

Tras este acontecimiento, los Camacho tendrán que enfrentar sus miedos solos, coincidiendo con la llegada de Helena, una mujer que abandonó a su prometido el día de su boda y que cambiará la vida a todos los hombres de esta familia. Wikipedia

Si quieres ver la telenovela conmigo, puedes ver los episodios en la página web de NBC Universo, o en el canal NBC Universo lunes a jueves 7:00 pm ET/PT.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

I’m very picky about the telenovelas I watch. I haven’t watched any Spanish-language soap operas with loyalty since Herederos del Monte, but El Sexo Débil is one I think I’ll watch through to the end. I’ve only seen two episodes so far, but I love the plot and strong female characters. Here’s a description of the series [my rough translation of the Spanish-language Wikipedia page]:

Men have always thought that machismo is synonymous with respect, leadership and courage; that the male shouldn’t reveal his feelings, or at least, that’s what society demands. That goes for the men of the Camacho family, men dedicated to medicine whose main characteristic is being macho. One day this leads to each of the women leaving their partners: Alvaro is abandoned by his wife for being jealous of her professional success; Dante’s girlfriend leaves him for a Swede she met in Paris; Julian is abandoned by his fiance for having been chronically unfaithful; and Augustine, the patriarch, his wife leaves him for not listening to her the entire three decades of their marriage. Bruno, who is gay and the youngest of the Camacho family, is the only one left with a stable relationship.

After this event, the Camacho men will have to face their fears alone, coinciding with the arrival of Helena, a woman who abandoned her fiance on their wedding day and who will change the lives of all the men in this family.

If you want to watch this telenovela with me, you can see full episodes at the NBC Universo website, or on the NBC Universo channel Monday to Thursday at 7:00 pm ET/PT.