I, like many Americans, have been on a rollercoaster of emotion for - ok like a year and a half. But over the past 10 days it has been extreme. Shock, sorrow, fierce anger, hope, motivation, exhaustion. This past week's theme for Illustration Friday was "Aquatic" and this is what appeared in my sketchbook as I attempted to connect to this word. The storms are raging, and I have cried an ocean. But.
I will NOT be wallowing. I am channeling all of these emotions towards positive action. I will no longer be the "slacktivist" I have been in the past, simply casting my vote and thinking that's enough to participate in a Democracy. Full disclosure: I am not one naturally called to Social or Environmental Justice. I have been lazy about matching my actions to my values. But there are times when we are all tapped to step up, and I am answering that call. If there is one powerful thing that is positive in the current state of the United States is this: my eyes are open, I no longer take my rights and privileges for granted, and I will use these things to fight anyone who tries to take it away from me, my family, my community and those who are currently in a much more vulnerable place.
What does this mean in a practical concrete way?
I belong to a private group that is now 3.7 million people strong who are now organizing for change and to resist what is currently happening.
Specifically I now have the phone numbers of my state representatives and Senators so that I may call them DAILY if I have to, to express my strong opinions on things like the appointment of Steve Bannon, a white nationalist who now holds a position in the White House, my feelings of horror over the discussion of a Muslim Registry, and my fierce rage over the suggestion that Roe v. Wade is overturned. Sadly that is just the tip of the iceberg that threatens our great ship. But it's a place to start.
I also will be giving 50-100% of any art sales towards organizations such as the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law, Climate.org, and to people running for office such as Louisiana Democrat Foster Campbell (please go donate right now: if he wins the race this December, the Democrats in Senate will not be as much of a minority ).
I will be emailing Journalists who use words like "Alt Right" instead of "White Nationalist". I will be subscribing to media such as NY Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, and Bitch Media to support the integrity of journalism.
I urge you to, if you are feeling helpless, to find a local group of like minded people to join in the fight. We have much to do now and in preparation for the elections in 2018, and the elections in 2020.
If you are a reader like I am, you may find the book "Hope in the Dark" by activist Rebecca Solnit inspirational and helpful: www.haymarketbooks.org/books/791-hope-in-the-dark
If you enjoy listening to podcasts, NPR TED Radio Hour has an episode called "Democracy On Trial" which I found informative and very hopeful.
Please listen to the call. Do not sit idly by. That is a privilege we cannot enjoy right now.