I’m not a cynic by nature. Nor am I angry. I am a little dramatic, and always emotional, but I am also thoughtful and try to look at the big picture. Steve, my husband and life-balancer, has taught me to count to ten before I act, and I am trying, I really am.
But it’s been five days, and I am watching the country I love being dismantled, faster and with less sensitivity than I had ever imagined. Everything I care about is on the line, and I am afraid that if I play wait and see, then it will be too late. This morning I thought to myself, “Well, the good news is he isn’t pretending to care about women, children, gay rights, race, the poor, the sick, the environment, guns, science, facts, freedom of speech, the press, democracy, fairness, or doing the right thing. He’s at least sparing us false optics.”
And then I was exhausted. You, too?
The phrase “resistance to the patriarchy” hasn’t been in my vocabulary. But that photo, on day one, of him signing the global gag rule (or the Mexico City Policy), surrounded by middle aged, (presumably) rich white men, it made me sick.
Most of us are in our sixties, and are tired of fighting. We’re weary. Which, of course, is what they’re counting on. That those of us who are comfortable and safe, will care more about maintaining our own status quo, than about each other.
I think I have a little fight left in me.
Last night I went to bed dreaming of resistance. Of flags, declaring our commitment to each other, hanging from our homes. Of showing up, being visible, making ourselves and our families count. My friend Dianne has this as her Facebook photo, and I think it would make an awesome flag.
I continued to dream of Resistance Centers, at least one in every community, where we can gather to write, organize, share and act to fight what is happening in Washington. Churches, cafes, empty storefronts, warehouses. Where we can meet to connect and understand that we aren’t alone. In my dreams, this is what we did, together. We resisted. Every day, we resisted together. And when we were weary, we propped each other up.
This morning I told Steve I needed to talk, and since it was before my first cup of coffee, he knew it was trouble.
“What will our resistance look like? How will we support those who need us? How will we use our own power (and quite frankly, our privilege) to show that this isn’t ok? We’re writers and designers and we’re educated and comfortable, and damn it, we can’t just watch this happen.”
Steve warned me that we don’t really know exactly what t. can do, at least not yet. That perhaps I could write some 35-word stories about what I cherish. Trees, dignity, civil rights, that kind of stuff. He wasn’t being dismissive, but he was encouraging me to proceed gently. I get his point, and those stories may come, but I think this moment calls for something stronger.
I think this is the moment where personal is political. All the time. And it probably won’t be pretty or polite.
I do understand I am just one person, and that when I speak, it’s usually to those who agree (the others gave up on me long ago). I don’t really know how to do this, but I can’t just wait, or worry about how I might be perceived. I am making this up, looking to others for inspiration, and believing that if I show up, with my whole heart, and use my voice, it will matter. I recognize I am in the safe zone. I am white, middle-aged, have a comfortable income, own my home, and am (obviously) well-fed. We are not marginalized. But your family might be, and your family is my family. Your children are mine. Everyone matters, and everyone deserves human rights and dignity (also, food, shelter and healthcare). And by the way, by everyone, I am including my beloved trees.
My resistance looks like this: Stand up, speak up and support each other.
I am starting by sharing what inspires me. I am continuing to send handwritten letters of support to mosques around the country. I will go to Friday’s community event, here in Davis, to support the Islamic Center that suffered a disturbing act of vandalism this week. I am sending postcards, calling and emailing government officials, so I can be counted. And, I am probably going to buy a flag of the earth for my home, just so those who walk by will know who and what I stand for.
My resistance will become more vocal and more visible. It will require daily actions. It may piss a few people off, and will certainly annoy a few more (maybe even you). I may not do it right, and it may change as we work our way the next 1400+ days. I am not going to be a spectator here, and my resistance means that I will stand beside you, and for you, and prop you up when you’re weary.
We can’t ignore him, or each other. And we will all do the best we can, in whatever way works for us. Weary or not, here we come.