Taking The Next Step
I began this newsletter this morning, very early this morning. Because of my ultra busy weekend, I hadn't built the menu yet or done any writing on it (for context, it takes me an ungodly amount of time to put this newsletter together - shh! don't tell my business coach). I worked on it in several different sessions throughout the day, built and wrote the menu part, researched and researched for this intro, and when the blessed time came at 8:30 pm when my son went to sleep... I didn't finish writing. Instead I multiplied out my recipes, made up the shopping list, answered the comments on my Facebook feed, had a great phone conversation, did more research... but did not write. The time is 11:30 pm, and I am only writing now, instead of in the morning, because I promised a customer that I would send this newsletter before going to bed. The difficulty is not that I don't know what to say. The difficulty is that I know exactly what I want to say, but I am afraid to. I am afraid that I won't say it well, and I am afraid that even if I do, there are some of you that won't like it. And yet, that is the way life works - you can never please all of the people all of the time. You can only aspire to be true to yourself and your values, which as far as I can tell, is a practice that takes the greater part of a lifetime, and maybe beyond, to master.
Any of you who are connected with me on social media might have seen why I was so busy this weekend. Yesterday I had the honor of escorting one of my friends to the Women's March on Raleigh. I wrote about this last week, so it is really no surprise. Yet things are different now then they were a week ago. Now a new president and new cabinet have taken office. Now Canadian citizens were turned away at the border (presumably by exectutive order?) because they were honest about their intentions to attend the march in Washington. Now the internet and media channels are flooded with stories and images of the more than 5 million women and men who marched worldwide in protest of hateful, discriminatory rhetoric and policies. This is Now. And where do we go from here now?
Hare Krishna style
On Friday (Inauguration Day) I had two separate women whom I respect and trust, tell me that they were planning to just ignore politics for the next four years. I understand that these intelligent, sensitive women were probably trying to develop a strategy to avoid feeling despair, anger, overwhelm, helplessness at a situation which appears irreversable, ie. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." And yet. Yet, I cannot accept that strategy. That strategy is exactly why. we. are. here. now.
Back in 2009, after America successfully inagurated its first black president, there were many dissatisfied people. People who started talking to other like-minded people. Those people then reserved their town halls and started holding meetings to discuss how they were feeling despair, anger, overwhelm, and helplessness at the direction in which their country was going. They did more than just complain. They organized the poop out of their like-minded friends, and they created the Tea Party. To those of a liberal, educated bend, the Tea Party seemed so ludicrous, so fundamentalist, so anti-21st century, that many of us thought we could ignore this bad dream and move on to more important things, like prime-time television (I point fingers here to no one other than myself).
Fox News; Sarah Palin; the denial of climate change; the Republican majority in Congress that obstructed so many would-be progressive policies; the passing of HB2 in NC; the very recent highjacking of the NC Senate - these are not unrelated items. They are an escalation of the ultra-conservative right's consistent determination to take political action so that they could "Make America (Hate) Again." Their hard work and determination paid off, for on Friday, January 20th, the unimaginable happened. A man who did not win the popular vote and would surely emerge with a long list of diagnoses if ever given a psych eval, was sworn in to the highest office in the land of a country that has the highest collection of nuclear weaponry on the planet. This is a situation that can no longer be ignored.
It is not so much the man that is the issue (although said man-who-shall-remain-nameless seems to possess an uncanny ability to inspire revulsion in mass numbers of people), as it is the millions of people who are genuinely excited about him becoming their champion. These people are real. Their anger is real. And they are not going away any time soon, especially not after a victory like this. The political tide will not turn by itself, in a mere four short years, unless those of us who stepped out and stepped up yesterday, continue to take action. The official Women's March on Washington site has a great next step that they are launching, 10 actions/ 100 days. Check it out here. Please. These women have made it so dadgum easy to take action, that you would have to be very creative to find a good excuse not to.
I spent 9 years in an ashram, and another 5 trying to just survive an abusive marriage. No one knows how to avoid paying attention to politics like I do. I owe a great deal to my former partner who introduced me to the HBO series, "The Newsroom." I highly, highly recommend it. I learned more about American politics by watching that show than ever and it imparted in me a lasting curiosity about current events and a determination to become more active in the world around me. For those who haven't seen it, you must at least watch the opening scene here.
If you made it this far, if you read all the way down, congratulations! (I admit, that was a lot of words!) I look forward to seeing what change we can bring about in our communities, together. After I get some much-needed sleep, that is...