An Open Letter to my Online Community

Dear Family,

I chose the word “family” because that’s what you are. You are – and have been – my chosen family in this wonderful wacky world of the internet. And I love you. I’ve been so glad to have you in my life. I have found joy and a sense of belonging because of you.

One year ago, a schism happened in our family. As time passed, and details emerged, the schism grew. Some people chose sides, others tried to remain neutral. Relationships were lost.

And while my conscience directed me to draw a line and choose a side, I tried to straddle that line anyway. I did cut ties with the abuser and those who directly and physically shield him. But with those in the community who chose to remain neutral and “mind their own business” – I stayed silent. I loved you, I cheered you, I supported you. I kept you in my heart.

And I still love you.

But sometimes love isn’t enough. Sometimes you can love someone and still have to walk away because you can’t support choices they’ve made. And that’s where I am today.

Yesterday, information was made public about sexual assault that occurred within this family. Many of you didn’t know about that assault, nor about the previous patterns of manipulation and physical abuse perpetuated by this man. I could justify and rationalize that some people could still support a liar and cheater because they didn’t know the whole story.

Well now that story is complete. You know what happened. Information is freely available. There are police reports and legal affidavits detailing physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Some of these reports involve minors.

Make no mistake about it – this man is a predator and an abuser.

Some of you have come out and said you simply don’t believe it, instead choosing to believe that these allegations were made up. Some of you have said that you will continue to mind your own business and that there are two sides to every story.

And by doing so, you are giving an abuser power.

Choosing not to take a side is taking a side. You are silencing his victims. You are enabling him.

And while I love you, I cannot be in your life if you are supporting this man – even indirectly.

I believe her. And I will not give him power by staying silent anymore.

Please know that if I stop interacting with you, it’s not because you aren’t in my heart. If you find yourself in a place after you’ve processed this for awhile and you do choose to stand against him, I will be there for you.

Be well.

Mandi Kaye

Call to Action – Trump’s Financial Interests

Not only has President Trump failed to release his tax returns, but he’s also been very dodgy when it comes to revealing where his financial interests lie.

Traditionally, US Presidents divest themselves of any holdings that may even appear to be a conflict of interest:

  • Jimmy Carter put his family peanut farm into a trust.
  • Richard Nixon sold off his assets.
  • John F. Kennedy put all of his assets into a blind trust.

These are only examples, but they make a point.

Has Donald Trump done this? NO.

President Trump has claimed he would do the same, but has failed to follow through.

Today’s call to action is to call the House Oversight Committee at 202-225-5074. Make sure you identify yourself as an American citizen and then demand a Bi-Partisan Review of all President Trump’s Financials and Conflicts of Interest. 

Call to Action – Jeff Sessions

The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed their vote on Jeff Sessions as Attorney General of the United States, and it will now be held on January 31, 2017.

If your Senator is on the committee, please call them and ask them to vote no.

Republican Members

Grassley, Chuck (IA) , Chairman
Hatch, Orrin G. (UT)
Graham, Lindsey (SC)
Cornyn, John (TX)
Lee, Mike (UT)
Cruz, Ted (TX)
Sasse, Ben (NE)
Flake, Jeff (AZ)
Crapo, Mike (ID)
Tillis, Thom (NC)
Kennedy, John (LA)

Democrat Members

Feinstein, Dianne (CA), Ranking Member
Leahy, Patrick J. (VT)
Durbin, Richard J. (IL)
Whitehouse, Sheldon (RI)
Klobuchar, Amy (MN)
Franken, Al (MN)
Coons, Christopher A. (DE)
Blumenthal, Richard (CT)
Hirono, Mazie K. (HI)

After the committee vote (regardless of outcome), the nominee is then voted on by the full Senate. Only once since 1945 has the Senate confirmed a position that was deemed unfavorable by the committee.

Call the committee members.

Call your Senators.

Do not allow Jeff Sessions to be confirmed as United States Attorney General.

A sample script has been made available by The 65:

I’m <______>, a constituent. I want <Senator ______> to vote AGAINST Jeff Session’s confirmation. The Attorney General must make sure that our laws apply equally to ALL Americans, and Session’s record shows he’s not up to the task. In addition to the accusations of racism that resulted in his rejection for federal judgeship, he has a long history of civil and human rights opposition. He has staunchly opposed immigration reform, the Voting Rights Act, and efforts to address pay equity for women. In addition, he supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, voted against expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation, and criticized a federal law that protects disabled children in the classroom. Jeff Session’s values are in direct opposition to an America that upholds liberty and justice for all. I expect <Senator ______> to reject Session’s confirmation, and I’ll be paying close attention to the vote.

2nd Action of Today – NC Medicaid Expansion

Governor Roy Cooper has pledged to expand Medicaid as outlined under the Affordable Care Act.

Because of that, North Carolina lawmakers have filed a lawsuit.

The lawsuit names federal and state Health and Human Services officials as defendants, but not Cooper. The lawmakers argue that Cooper cannot act unilaterally to expand the program under a state law adopted in 2013, countering the governor’s contentions that the statute impinges on “the core executive authority” of the executive branch.

Under Medicaid, the state and federal governments pay medical costs for low-income families and individuals, mostly poor children, some of their parents, the elderly and disabled. Expansion under the Affordable Care Act would raise income limits to cover more people, including more childless adults.

State leaders have refused to expand Medicaid coverage. The Republican-dominated legislature went so far as to approve legislation in 2013 that bars the executive branch from expanding the program.

The General Assembly is back in session, so please call Berger and Moore to let them know you do not support this absurd lawsuit and it needs to be dropped.

Sen. Phil Berger
(919) 733-5708

Rep. Tim Moore
(919) 733-3451

I Am Part of the Problem. But No More.

I have always been the sort of person who shouts her convictions through social media, but has never had to step up in the world because someone else was always there to do it for me. And in the end, things generally turned out okay. DADT was repealed. Same-sex marriage was legalized. Good things happened that stopped the bad.

That means I am part of the problem.

Our President was inaugurated six days ago. And in six days has done more damage to America than I can recall in my lifetime. I am a middle class white woman, and I don’t feel safe anymore. If I don’t feel safe, then I can’t imagine how those people who are different than me feel in this country.

No one is safe anymore.

So here’s the first of my real world, offline actions:

I will call my elected representatives every single day to tell them where I stand.

Every. Single. Day.

At both their DC and local offices.

Today I will call and urge my representatives to vote against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos. Senator Burr is on the Education Committee and needs to understand just how much we oppose Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. This vote will occur on January 31, 2017.

If you’d like to join me, here’s what you need to know (at least if you’re in NC):

Senator Richard Burr (R):

  • DC (202) 224-3154 
  • Winston-Salem (800) 685-8916

Senator Thom Tillis (R):

  • DC (202) 224-6342 
  • Charlotte (704) 334-2448

Congressional Representatives by District:

If you’re not sure which district you’re in or who your representative is, enter your zipcode here.

North Carolina Congressmen

You should choose a single issue (at most two) to call about each day, and then make six calls per day. One each to both the local and DC offices of your two senators and your congressman.

For more information on why calling is so important (please don’t email), please read this Facebook post.

If you’re uncomfortable speaking on the phone or figuring out how to articulate why you’re calling, you can find scripts at both The 65 and Indivisible.

A Big Fat Middle Finger to Mike Pence


Planned Parenthood is an organization that I absolutely and fully support.

Yes, I support their abortion services (I am, after all, pro choice). But what most people fail to understand is that Planned Parenthood is so much more than that.

Only three percent of what Planned Parenthood provides is abortion services. According to the most recently available annual report (2014-2015), STI/STD Testing & Treatment was the top service provided, closely followed by contraception.

What else does Planned Parenthood offer? Cancer screenings. General family practice services for both women and men. Pregnancy tests. Prenatal services. Advocacy and Education.

We need Planned Parenthood. 

And now that Governor Mike Pence is the Vice-President Elect of the United States, we need to do all that we can to protect it.

In 2007, Mike Pence sponsored the first bill to defund Planned Parenthood. He continued to do so until one finally passed the House in 2011. That was the same year he threatened to shut down the government by not approving the budget if the bill didn’t pass.

He signed every single piece of anti-abortion legislature that came across his desk as Governor of Indiana.

He believes that condoms are “too modern” and a poor defense against STDs.

This is the man who is about to be the second in command of America. And this is the man who so desperately needs the education that Planned Parenthood provides.


So I just made a donation in Mike Pence’s name to Planned Parenthood, as many others are doing. He will be notified of the donation. This may seem like a small, ineffective thing to do – but it accomplishes two things:

  1. Money is given to help keep Planned Parenthood able to provide healthcare to those who need it.
  2. Mike Pence is the recipient of a big fat middle finger telling him that there are loads of us who don’t appreciate his archaic views and demands to control reproductive health.

And if Planned Parenthood isn’t your thing, there are many other organizations you can donate to in “honor” of Mike Pence:

The Next Day. What Now?

If you’re anything like me, you spent yesterday grieving:

It isn’t a political defeat that we’re lamenting, it’s a defeat for Humanity.
We’re not angry that our candidate lost. We’re angry because our candidate’s losing means this country will be less safe, less kind, and less available to a huge segment of its population, and that’s just the truth.

And while I still mourn the loss of the country that I believed I was a part of, it’s now time to move forward. I was listening to new episode of The Light Bulb podcast by Storywonk this morning, and Lani said something that resonated with me (and also made me cry – again):

I’m angry. I’m furious. I find this whole thing just so incredibly upsetting. But I can’t make a difference holding onto that. I can’t make it better. And so I have to believe that there is space in my heart to forgive the people that allowed this to happen.

I’m still angry too. But my anger makes me self-righteous and indignant – and you can’t cultivate change that way. Yesterday I said that I want to be a kind, reasonable, and rational human being who strives to make this world a better place in spite of what may be happening around me.

So how do I do that? How do we do that?

Sanderson Jones, founder of Sunday Assembly, provides some suggestions:

Act with love: Smile at someone in the street. They probably want to know they’re in a world of love and kindness. Make the world a less scary place for your neighbours and friends.

Choose your way: what you choose to focus on affects how you feel. Choose the right things for you, and take time before you react to others.

Listen: Hearing people that agree with you is great but more important to listen to those that don’t.  Find spaces where you can be with difference, live with difference and listen to difference without judging.

Contribute: in every street in the country there are people who disagreed with you. Make their world better however you can. Work out your way to be a part of a positive future and take action.

Some tangible ways to make this happen include:

  1. Donate $ to causes that share our values and seek to improve humanity. Those include the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, your local LGBTQ center, and The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
  2. Volunteer. Get involved with your local political chapters. Find grassroots organizations and help spread the word or organize a fundraiser. Now’s the time to start planning for the mid-term elections. If you’re looking for something less political, volunteer to take calls with the Suicide Prevention Hotline or The Trevor Project.
  3. Pay it forward. Do something to make a stranger smile today. Leave a book in the subway. Pay for the meal of the person behind you at the drive-thru. Share your umbrella with someone on a rainy day.

While there’s a lot that needs to be done in the political arena to correct the missteps made in this election cycle, it’s more important for us to show unity. We are one country, not two (divided as we may be).

The only way to fight hate is with love.

The Day My Country Broke Up With Me


I’m finding it hard to describe my emotions this morning. Angry, disappointed, but also heartbroken. There is a physical ache in my chest. The last time I felt like this was when the person who I thought was the love of my life broke up with me. And honestly, that’s how I feel this morning. I feel like the United States of America just broke up with me.

I knew we were having problems. I knew we were in trouble. But I naively believed that we could work it out. I honestly believed that when this election was over, the country would have united as one. Instead, we are more divided than ever.

I’m not sure what the next steps are. I know that I don’t feel welcome. I don’t feel as if I belong here. And I am a white, middle-class woman. I can’t fathom how minorities feel. I can’t begin to understand how the LGBTQ community feels.

Now, more than ever, is when we need to step up. My country let me down, but that doesn’t mean I have to let my country down. At the end of the day, I am a human being. You are a human being. And I will do everything in my power to show compassion and kindness to those around me.

“When they go low, we go high.”

I want to be a beacon in the dark. I want to be a refuge. I want my community to rally and exclaim that WE ARE NOT THIS. I want to speak out against inequality and discrimination. I want to stop and help when I see injustice happening. I want to give a stranger a hug.

I want to be a kind, reasonable, and rational human being who strives to make this world a better place in spite of what may be happening around me.

My country may have broken up with me this morning, but I didn’t break up with it. I may be hurt and emotionally exhausted, but I am ready to rally.