Feeling sorrow and anxiety today, interspersed with rare moments of faith that there may still be a way through all of this unfolding before our eyes. Is it a coup? A corporate take-over? What do you do when you feel that your President is the enemy of your freedom? The freedom of your nation?
I don’t really see how we can redeem this debacle without a massive, unified grassroots movement, which means looking away from all of the pretty sparkly distractions we are so addicted to, the shock events, the social media bullying, including even the multitude of protest-worthy acts currently deluging us from the Oval Office….which feels now less like an oval and more like an ellipse with excessive eccentricity.
But how do we prioritize one problem over another? Hunger, poverty, misogyny, rampant and frequently lethal racism that has been validated at the highest political offices this country holds, lack of education, lack of support for the arts and health care and the deadly ableism being perpetrated with the potential axing of Medicare, Medicaid and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ACA & “Obamacare”), long overdue criminal justice reform, turning-point-era climate change, cabinet appointments and Executive orders and ethics violations, oh my. We are in a Constitutional crisis, and I won’t just get over it.
It seems to me I can speak for myself. To a larger extent it’s my responsibility to speak for my family, my children, for my art — to speak out on women’s issues, climate issues, and others near and dear to my heart including justice and equality for marginalized populations like Muslims, blacks, LGBTQ. I’m reminded of Thich Nhat Hanh’s words, “If you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.” This advice may help keep many of us out of resistance fatigue, out of a sense of overwhelm, and help keep us focused and motivated while we make the dent we were meant to.
I suggest we stop trying to understand and analyze Trump’s apparently insane or even paid-for actions, stop being shocked by what is happening. This is not news anymore. And while the media are lumbering along on the dwindling momentum of these outdated habits of analysis as if things were sane, Change Will Happen. Is already happening. In a recent interview on NPR, one of the guests invited us to adapt to how we listen to Trump speak, because he’s a businessman, not a politician, and I just…I wanted to throw something at the radio. I wanted to scream at her. “ADAPTING TO INSANITY MAKES YOU INSANE!” It’s the same logic that victims of domestic violence use to stay with their abusers. It’s time to say NO! Time to leave the abuser, literally or figuratively. Time for the media and our representatives to stand up. Time for us as citizens to hold those representatives supremely accountable. Time for courage. Time for that matriarchal, pastoral lifestyle I keep fantasizing will emerge from the massive implosion of Things That Are. Time to look into each others’ eyes. Time to ask forgiveness, to forgive, to act, and to hope. Together.
In my little sphere of experience, I’ve run across a few resources to help make it easier for harried citizens like me speak out. By and large, it seems that peaceful face-to-face encounters are the most powerful and influential forms of protest. Show up at town hall meetings, at elected official’s offices or other public appearances (NOT at private homes!) to ask them face to face how and why and what they are doing to secure democracy (or whatever specific issue you are advocating for). Next to that, making phone calls is generally rated as more meaningful than sending emails or signing petitions. Getting organized at the local level is very useful, as is donating money or time to organizations at the forefront of resistance. Here are a few resources I’ve found interesting and valuable:
- Trump Tracker
- All The Elections (vote early and often!)
- Who are my Senators?
- Who are my Representatives?
- thesixtyfive.org (call scripts & weekly actions)
- How did my Congressmen & -women stand on the Muslim ban?
- Indivisible Guide
- On Twitter: #CripTheVote and #AccessibleOrganizingMeans
Political action is hard and necessary. We cannot lay blame solely at the feet of so-called Trump supporters because everyone who has been silent until now (myself included) has played a part in allowing this pustule of infection to surface. Activism can also take the form of conscious compassion and acts of radical kindness. Any kind of bridge-building, peaceful acts of love to nurture those in need, facilitation of healing at any level…these are all forms of being “woke.”
It is time to be woke as fuck.