My Letter to the Electoral College

I wrote to the electoral college, as many have done this week, without any expectations. I know the outcome of the election won’t change. But raising our voices is not about invalidating the election — it’s about reminding the world and our fellow Americans that not everyone has given up. I’m not going to sit back, secure in my white privilege, to “wait and see” if Trump is really “all that bad”. I’m not going to throw anyone else under the bus in hopes that I get one or two things out of this Presidency that I wanted.

I can be polite. I can be diplomatic. I will not be silent.

My letter is pasted below.

Dear Elector,

I understand that you hold an honorable position as a member of the electoral college, and are in a state which allows you to vote, if necessary, against your individual state’s Presidential choice in order to secure the right President for our nation. I am writing today to ask you to do just that.

I have voted in 24 years worth of elections. Sometimes, the candidate I thought best won, and sometimes, they didn’t. Sometimes, I’ve been thrilled with the election results, and other times, I’ve been surprised at my countrymen’s choices. Never before, though, have I felt the need contact members of the electoral college and ask them to reconsider their votes.

Donald Trump as an individual, and the collected entourage and appointees that come with him, are a direct and immediate threat to our American way of life. Already, only a week after the elections, where Hillary Clinton has overwhelmingly won the popular vote, Mr. Trump has acted against the interests of the people by refusing to divest himself of his companies before making political appointments and decisions. He has acted against our citizens by putting his bank account ahead of the Presidency, both in vocally supporting business in which he has a stake, and in the very presence of his children in transition meetings, since they are going to be running the Trump empire. Mr. Trump’s appointees are grossly racist, including Steve Bannon, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and Jeff Sessions. They are grossly homophobic, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence and Ken Blackwell. These men have long histories of advocating hate and fear, and are actively working to rescind the civil rights we have only recently made significant progress in applying to all people, equally. Given legitimacy by the election, Mr. Trump has already promised to do much more, and much worse.

Add to that the clear and admitted interference in our election by Russian agents, and Mr. Trump’s clear and admitted ties to Russia (a foreign government)… These are just the things we know about, can prove, and are admitted to by Mr. Trump and his team. This doesn’t include the vast number of things merely threatened by Mr. Trump and his team which may not be acted on for another 6 months or so, once it’s too late to stop him.

I don’t expect enough of you to change your vote that Mrs. Clinton would be elected President instead. It is my hope that enough of you stand up, now, in the face of overwhelming proof of the danger Mr. Trump would bring to our country, and say “no”. Even a few, even as a protest, your dissent would show that we will not give blanket acceptance to Mr. Trump’s regime. We will not normalize hate. We will not allow a con man to prey on our fears for his own profit.

Alexander Hamilton said that you and the other members of the electoral college are “most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.” I believe that, too. I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process. I am only asking for you to do exactly what your position was designed to do — defend our country against a demagogue who would make himself a tyrant and a king.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Carrie Cuinn

Follow Friday Open Thread: You Tell Me Who’s Saving the World

Last week, I recommended: American Civil Liberties Union, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Immigration Law Center, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center

This week, I want to know who you think I should follow. Tell me who’s got the best advice, the righteous and eloquent anger, the platform for change, the solid plan to defend our liberties, our citizens, and our planet.

I’ll update this post with suggestions as they come in.

Follow Friday Five: The “Surviving A Trump Presidency” Edition

Last week, I recommended: LONTAR Journal, NatureFutures, Gamut, Reckoning, GlitterShip

This week?

This week, America elected Donald Trump as President, and the whole world shifted. Publishers, authors, editors, and other creatives and critics are still important (perhaps even more than before) and I’ll get back to sharing and promoting those folks next week. Today, I want to alert you to five groups that promise to stand with us in these trying times, and if necessary, stand between us and the Trump presidency.

Please share their information, and support them if you can.

From the ACLU website

From the ACLU website

The American Civil Liberties Union has worked to defend individual rights and the liberties guaranteed to us by the US Constitution, for almost 100 years.

Whether it’s achieving full equality for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people; establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance; ending mass incarceration; or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion; the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. to safeguard everyone’s rights.

Donate here.

Follow them on Twitter @ACLU

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was originally founded  in 1909 by Moorfield Storey, Mary White Ovington, and W. E. B. Du Bois, to protect and support African Americans, but their mission has expanded to “ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.”

The NAACP’s goals are:

Economic Sustainability

A chance to live the American Dream for all: Every person will have equal opportunity to achieve economic success, sustainability, and financial security.

Education

A free, high-quality, public education for all: Every child will receive a free, high quality, equitably-funded, public pre-K and K-12 education followed by diverse opportunities for accessible, affordable vocational or university education.

Health

Health equality for all Americans including a healthy life and high-quality health care: Everyone will have equal access to affordable, high-quality health care, and racially disparate health outcomes will end.

Public Safety and Criminal Justice

Equitable dispensation of justice for all: Disproportionate incarceration, racially motivated policing strategies, and racially biased, discriminatory, and mandatory minimum sentencing will end. Incarceration will be greatly reduced and communities will be safer. The death penalty will be abolished at the state and federal level, as well as in the military. Learn more.

Voting Rights and Political Representation

Protect and enhance voting rights and fair representation: Every American will have free, open, equal, and protected access to the vote and fair representation at all levels of the political process.

Expanding Youth and Young Adult Engagement

Expanding the presence of youth consciousness in every aspect of the Association through significant attention to expanding engagement with key age demographic (1979 and after). Young adult engagement will be key in policy research, development and advocacy on all levels.

Donate here, and find your local chapter for more ways to get involved here.

Follow them on Twitter @NAACP

The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods.

Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants.

At NILC, we believe that all people who live in the U.S.—regardless of their race, gender, immigration and/or economic status—should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Over the years, we’ve been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues, and play a major leadership role in addressing the real-life impact of polices that affect the ability of low-income immigrants to prosper and thrive.

Donate or learn how you can attend a local training here.

Follow them on Twitter @NILC_org

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From the Planned Parenthood website

Planned Parenthood is the country’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. They’re also one of the biggest targets of Republican/”religious right” politicians.

For over 100 years, Planned Parenthood has helped women to take control of their lives and health by giving us birth control, medical checkups, access to doctors… they’ve saved women from being forced to get pregnant against their will, they’ve saved women from breast cancer (through early detection and care), they’ve saved LBTQ+ people who were struggling with coming out, finding support, transitioning, and more. They’ve saved women and children by offering low- and no-cost prenatal and postnatal care.

But because one section of America believes they have a right to control female bodies through legislated morality, Planned Parenthood is in danger.

They’re committed to remaining open, and remaining a staunch defender of women — and immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ communities, and disabled people — regardless of what Trump’s government does:

We have made so much progress together in the past eight years — including emerging from the worst recession we’ve had in close to a century, expanding health care coverage to more than 20 million Americans, beginning to break down barriers of discrimination and racism, and upholding marriage equality.

It’s up to us to keep fighting to protect the communities we care about. It’s up to us to fight for Planned Parenthood health centers, so they can continue to serve the people who rely on them — people who come from communities that need our continued support in this new reality: immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ community, people of faith, and more. It’s up to us to stand strong. It’s up to us to make sure that Planned Parenthood health centers will be there wherever and whenever they are needed, no matter what.

Their full statement is here.

Click here for nationwide volunteer opportunities (including as a clinic escort) and click here to donate. Local chapters also list more extensive volunteer opportunities, so take a look at your specific chapter (here’s New York’s page) for more.

Follow them on Twitter @PPFA

(Also, check out the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization that provices education and advocacy to protect and advance women’s health and rights. Follow them on Twitter @PPact.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center:

The Southern Poverty Law Center is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.

For more than four decades, we’ve won landmark cases that brought systemic reforms – toppling remnants of Jim Crow segregation and destroying violent white supremacist groups; shattering barriers to equality for women, vulnerable children, the LGBT community and the disabled; protecting migrant workers from abuse; ensuring the humane treatment of prisoners; reforming juvenile justice practices; and more. Today, with a staff of 75 lawyers and advocates, we’re focused on impact litigation in these practice areas:  Children’s Rights, Economic Justice, Immigrant Justice, LGBT Rights, and Mass Incarceration.

They monitor hate groups across the county, offer extensive resources (including online), and manage the interactive Hate Map. They identify and expose growing hate movements, including extremists in the American right. They also pursue legal action to bring justice to those who need help to get it.

Learn more here. Donate here.

Follow them on Twitter @splcenter (En español: )

The Worst Sentence I Ever Tried To Write

A few years back, I discovered the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest — a search for the fake opening line of the worst of all possible novels. Sponsored by the English Department at San Jose State University, the contest is an homage to the opening line from Paul Clifford (1830), which you probably know best from this:

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I wrote (and submitted) my own version of the worst opening line in the world, never heard anything about it, and forgot it, until I found it yesterday while searching for a different file entirely.

I present it here, for you…

I stood for hours under that street light waiting for him to get off work, wondering all the while if his lateness in achieving an exit from his wretched place of business was in fact because of stray, lingering customers, or if in his position as manager of a “gentleman’s club” he had finally succumbed to the lurid pleasures of the flesh his harlot employees offered to other less scrupulous men who (one would hope) did not have the kind of quality wife waiting for them that he did, a wife who would stand outside in the pouring rain even when he’d asked me to stay home on numerous occasions, on account of him being so concerned for the state of my health, though something could be said for the fact that a woman standing under a streetlight in the pouring rain in only her pink fuzzy bathrobe and bunny slippers might not be so good for business.

I didn’t win the Bulwer-Lytton the year I sent it in, which is to say that I failed at writing a sentence awkward enough to be truly terrible.

At least now, when I’m feeling low about my writing, thinking that it’s awful and shouldn’t see the light of day, I know: whatever I write could always be worse.

And that cheers me up.

Follow Friday Five: LONTAR Journal, NatureFutures, Gamut, Reckoning, GlitterShip

#SFWAPro

I realize that I’ve been lucky to know some incredibly talented people in publishing, at all stages of their careers. People that you should be familiar with, too. For at least the next few months, I’ve set up regular posts to go out on Fridays (coinciding the with the popular #FollowFriday movement on Twitter) to highlight people and projects I want you to know more about.

Last week, I recommended: Barbara Jane Reyes, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Dr. Adrienne Keene, Alice Wong,  and the Gay YA project.

This week? Magazines!

LONTAR Journal is a biannual literary journal produced in English by in Singapore. Their focus is entirely on Southeast Asian speculative fiction. They publish a mix of established and new authors, and they are open for submissions on a rolling basis:

The editors of LONTAR are looking for quality literary writing with elements of the fantastic, which is in some way connected with the cultures, traditions, mythologies, folk religions, and/or daily life in Southeast Asia*. While we are happy to look at works by writers outside of the region, we want to actively encourage Southeast Asian writers to submit your work.

They’ve had fiction from Geoff Ryman, Ken Liu, Paolo Bacigalupi, Sabrina Huang, E.C. Myers, Eka Kurniawan, Dean Francis Alfar, John Burdett, Nikki Alfar, Ng Yi-Sheng, Kate Osias, Zen Cho, and Eliza Victoria in their pages, along with poetry from Bryan Thao Worra, Chris Mooney-Singh, Ang Si Min, Jerrold Yam, Tse Hao Guang, Shelly Bryant, Anne Carly Abad, Arlene Ang, David Wong Hsien Ming, Daryl Yam, Michael Gray, Joses Ho, and Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé. They also publish non-fiction and the occasional comic.

Their print issues are hefty, lovely, tomes, and their editorial eye is locked onto a part of Asia that doesn’t get as much love from American SFF readers as, say, China. Read them to get a broader view of the world than you have now, and to support the idea that SFF really is a global community.

You can find them online at lontarjournal.com and on Twitter @lontarjournal

Nature magazine publishes flash science fiction under the collective title “Futures“. They accept unagented submissions, pay a pro rate, and have an interesting target word count: 850-950 firm. I love their focus on hard science, and they publish a wide range essays, interviews, and even podcasts as well. The editorial team is thinking globally now; recent offerings include interviews with Ken Liu and Liu Cixin, talking about Chinese translations, and an essay by Ben Peek talking about Australian SF.

Their fiction has been hit or miss for me in terms of originality — it’s all good, but sometimes I feel as if I’ve read the themes a hundred times before. When they do something novel, though, it’s wonderful. Check out “Mortar flowers” by Jessica May Lin, “The Plague” by Ken Liu, for example.

You can find them online at nature.com/futures and on Twitter @NatureFutures

Gamut is a digital magazine that bills itself at actively seeking diversity in neo-noir and speculative fiction. (You can read a sample here.) Their Editor-In-Chief, Richard Thomas, says:

I want to support the voices that aren’t getting enough recognition, and pay a great rate (at ten cents a word we are twice the going professional rate). I want to surround myself with talented authors and artists that inspire me. We need more markets like this, publishing edgy fiction that straddles the line between genre and literary fiction, and based on the four anthologies I’ve edited, the books I’ve published at Dark House Press, and my own writing—I feel like we’re in a golden age of dark fiction, and there is a demand for it.

They’re new, launching in January 2017 after a very successful kickstarter, and they’ve already got a staff of 15 people, which means they’ll either be ready for a long and well-organized run, or they’ve got too many cooks in the kitchen; time will tell. I think they’re worth keeping an eye on, though.

You can find them online at gamut.online and on Twitter @gamutmagazine

Reckoning is another new magazine, an annual journal of creative writing on environmental justice. According to editor Michael J. DeLuca, “environmental justice” is:

the notion that the people (and other living things) saddled with the consequences of humanity’s poor environmental choices and the imperative to remedy those choices are not the ones responsible for them.

He created the magazine after guest editing an issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet,

Reckoning is open for submissions (as long as you send in work that shows “your searingly personal, visceral, idiosyncratic understanding of the world and the people in it as it has been, as it is, as it will be, as it could be, as a consequence of humanity’s relationship with the earth”), and their first issue is out this winter.

I’ve know DeLuca for several years now, and he’s the kind of editor who doesn’t let his singular vision force him into accepting anything but the best work. I can’t wait to read this magazine.

You can find them online at reckoning.press and on Twitter @reckoningmag

GlitterShip is a podcast-only magazine creating audio versions of LGBTQ stories from authors of all backgrounds, twice a month. Edited by Keffy R. M. KehrliGlitterShip records (mostly) previously-printed genre fiction, so there’s a chance you may have read these stories before, but you won’t have heard them like this. Plus, all 29 of their episodes are available to read in text format on the website for anyone who can’t (or prefers not to) listen to the podcast.

If you’re looking for a new way to get your speculative fiction, podcasts are easy to access and great for listening during long commutes or your morning walk. I put them on when I’m cleaning the house, or driving, or when I’m too tired to read and I want to lie on the couch, eyes closed, absorbing fiction by the least amount of effort possible.

Try it. You’ll like it.

You can find GlitterShip online at glittership.com and on Twitter @GlitterShipSF