If there’s a plus side to this Trump Admnistration, it’s that it’s reminded me of a side of myself I’d let wither and die: my activist self.
I used to show up, speak out, carry signs, start petitions, consequences be damned. I outed myself at work when someone sent an anti-gay e-mail to the whole staff, even though I could’ve been fired for being queer. I had pink triangles on my dorm room door, even though fraternity brothers left me hate-notes and veiled sexual threats after big parties in the same building. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote my representatives. I lived in special activist housing in college, where we hosted meetings and supplied materials for groups to advocate, to protest, to change the world.
I got complacent, I guess. I got married, and starting living the privileged life of a white cis-gender upper middle class woman in a heterosexual marriage. Nothing is wrong with me myself being white, cis-gender, upper middle class, or married to a man…but I stopped speaking out. Stopped hearing about places to show up.
When a dear friend of mine came out as bisexual a few years ago and told me about it, my first thought was being thrilled for him, and my second thought was that, in being silent all these years, I’d essentially closeted myself.
When Trump got the Republican nomination, I had to come to terms with all this – that the stakes are higher now. I could just lie low and continue to live in my privilege…but that activist I used to be just rose up and said “no, you cannot. You CAN NOT.”
And I argued with her. My children, I said, especially my super-vulnerable eldest. I can’t go marching. I can’t leave. I can’t devote all the energy activism takes.
And she reminded me, if this Administration is as sinister and fascist as our gut says it is…it’s the super-vulnerable who need us to speak up, stand up, show up. That I’m stronger now than I was before because of my place of privilege. People will listen to me. They will see my skin color and my age (not too young and not too old) and my socio-economic status and my religion and they will listen to me in ways they will not listen to others. I MUST SPEAK.
Then, of course, being me, I became completely overwhelmed by all there was to speak about, to do. So, after being paralyzed and not-helpful for a bit, I decided just to do 1-3 things a day. Build momentum. Slow and steady. The drip of water that wears down the rock.
And I hate where our country is right now. I’m afraid of so many things.
But finding that activist inside me again? So good.
YES. Yes we can.