Rain or Not, I March

Rain or not, I march. Tomorrow, that will be in the Women’s March Los Angeles.

From 1980 to 1982, I was in the flag corps of the North Garland High School Marching band. In the 1980 or ’81 football season, the band took the field at halftime in a pattering rain that turned into a downpour so hard the flag corps couldn’t lift our knees in our soaked long skirts. By the finale, we were fighting to spin double flags weighed down with water.
We left the field laughing, so baptized we even had rain under our hats.
I loved it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Now, I’m not thrilled about a possible rainy march, I’m arthritic in nearly every major joint, and lots of places are not-fun obstacle courses. (And it would be WORSE and it WAS without the ACA.)

But I’m able-bodied enough to still walk, mentally, the best I’ve been in a decade. I’ll honor my gratitude that I have healthcare, I’ll be a testament that ACA brought me back from the brink. I’m walking for people who can’t whatever the reason.

I’ve played mini-golf in the rain. I photographed gravestones for an article in the rain.

I bike-slogged uphill in San Antonio, in the rain, untreated arthritis and the cold making my legs ache worse than usual, in 45F, (“Uphill! Both ways!” “You had a bike?!”) with people in passing cars mocking me, so that I could keep critical psych appointments (pre-ACA, I was seen through a teaching college).

I’m marching because every damn thing about this election was garbage. Because the lying #unpresidented has drained the swamp into our country’s management. Because he colluded with an enemy of our country and human rights.
Because Black people get terrorized by our police just for being black. They get beaten, and sat on and choked and shot and killed for nothing and white people (#mostlymen) of the right status get away with everything.
Because LBGTQ people are so loathed they’re tortured, homeless, and their families will be declared unlawful. Tens of millions of dollars are spent trying to exterminate them. (Even though gay couples are quantifiably #familyvalues #goals.)
Because the Jewish family I married into is a target for Nazis that the #unpresidented has never disavowed.
Because the #unpresidented and his Swamp believe Muslims belong in concentration camps.
Because, as if our country couldn’t be any shittier for Native Americans, the Swamp wants to poison what little land they have left.
Because our human rights are being whittled away by the 1% because they look in the mirror and see garbage and think it can’t possibly be them so it must be us.
Because they really, truly want us to die.
Because #thisisnotnormal.

You can only get so wet, then you can’t get any wetter. As these things go, if this is a test, it’s laughable.
If it’s a blessing (it certainly is for California), it’s grace coming down in buckets.

Rain or not, I march.

Trump, the Obvious Broke-Ass Man

Dear #notmypresident refuses to divest his interests or release his tax returns.

A couple months back, I floated the theory that he was broke. It’s not a big leap: NMP’s been bankrupt repeatedly, and he has a lifestyle that would be difficult to maintain. He puts his name on anything. He’s $1.5 billion in debt to banks in the the U.S., Germany, Russia, and China. (Which is why he told China to keep a drone they snatched–so he could later say, “Hey, I don’t owe you anything. You kept one of my drones.”) He’s always working an angle to get more money or to not pay someone. He’s a bum.

Now I’m sure NMP is broke. He’s not making money, he’s hemorrhaging it, and selling ornaments and influence to shore himself up.

NMP has to charge for his New Year party, raise his rent at Dump Tower, and try to make his plane Air Force One so he can soak us  Americans, his employers, a premium rate for its use.

NMP doesn’t want to divest because he’ll lose the paltry (relative to his million- and billionaire cabinet picks) cash trickle he has. He also knows his businesses are worth functionally nothing and no one will take or buy them. He’s got a giant split up the back seam of his pants and thinks his dumb MAGA hat is hiding it.

NMP doesn’t want to release his tax returns because the truth will be definitively out: he’s a crook, a paupered con man who doesn’t even have the glamour of success. The truth makes NMP swell up and squeak on Twitter because he’s allergic to the stings of reality.

(Or it could be he’s not filed taxes for years. Nothing to see there, folks. Nothing at all.)

Letter to a #notmypresident Elector

Today I’m the lucky recipient of a letter from the proud MAGA*-waving Kansas elector Kelly Arnold who was proud to proud vote economic prosperity blah blah in response to me (and many others) asking for him to vote for an actual leader, rather than an orange bigot. Here’s my response:

I hope it’s become abundantly clear to you that Trump will lead no one but his cronies to prosperity, that he’s patently dishonest and disrespectful of the office and our current president, and despises anyone who is not white and male.

Most of all, he is hurting his employers, the American people. I hope you consider that I, and many hard-working people like me will definitely suffer and may die without healthcare. That my friends will be incarcerated for being Muslim, black, poor, or Jewish. That my gay friends will again become people with zero rights.

If, at some point, you see that you’ve not voted for a competent and intelligent conservative, but rather than a broken and venal autocrat who believes this world is his to pillage, please reach out again.
Perhaps I’ll believe you really see Trump for who he is, perhaps that you see your fellow Americans as your respected brothers and sisters. Perhaps I’ll believe that you’re genuinely sorry.

As for right now, I’d be happy to see you and all Trump voters in your own awful country, away from people who voted for clean water, economic justice, and other human rights. Where you can try to make do without kindness, wisdom, and community, as many under Trump will. And all while having your pockets picked to threads by, to quote Don Henley, “This tired old man [you] elected king.”

I leave you with the out-of-context but appropriate words from Nick Cave regarding zeal, “I truly do and say thank you and again I say thank you but no…no thank you.”

Good day,

Lea Hernandez

*Which certainly means “My Awful Goblins Ate”

On Not Paying Creators

imageI’ve been a comics pro for thirty years now, and watched many companies come and go. A lot of the companies that went had one or both of these things in common: they either didn’t pay their bills, or they insisted that the road to respect was papered with a contract that required a creator give up most or all rights.

I’m writing about this today because of this story: “Billionaire” Trump Can’t Pay His Transition Team’s Salaries.”

Good ol’ Orange Dictator has a habit of not paying for things. He’s ripped off countless small businesses, refused to pay the caterer for one of his weddings, and so on. And he’s about to be president of the United States. (#notmypresident)

If one of the most visible people on the planet is crappy about paying his bills and treating small business owners like vending machines he can shake for a free soda, why would a comics company no one outside of comics has heard of worry about paying a creator or giving them a fair deal? OD’s transition team was well aware of his habit of not paying, they just thought he didn’t dare to not pay them.

Don’t kid yourself that you have the magic or the pull to get paid or get a good deal from a unscrupulous publisher. Don’t assume that yours will be the property a crum-bum executive won’t exploit.

While bad apples in comics aren’t easily identified by having orange skin and flapping yellow hairpiece, your gut should be a reasonable guide. If it sounds to good to be true, it is. If a company keeps going out of business and coming back, there’s trouble. If you find yourself casting about for a “second-best” idea to pitch to a company, you don’t trust them. Run away. Orange skin and bad feelings are how nature says Do Not Touch.

Dear Bill Gates…

…comparing Donald #putinspet Trump to JFK is to ignore the bigotry, the misogyny, the crimes.

You are normalizing a person who wouldn’t rent to black people, who sexually assaulted women, who has stolen hundreds of millions of dollars, who knew Russia was undermining our elections.

Normalizing a person who admires a dictator who kills journalists, jails political rivals and gay rights activists is messed up as hell, Bill Gates.