author – activist – faculty – mom
In my parenting life right now, my kid is going through a challenging school transition, so I need to be the one presenting a vision of hope and confidence that this new, big, school will go well. I am holding that same stance politically, even as our democracy is in danger of destruction. But as many long-time organizers have said, we need to stay clear: this is a backlash to our hard-won gains, and in addition to everything else, Tr*mp is in danger of exhausting us.
But I Believe we can make it through this sh*t show, and here are a few of my strategies.
1. Self-care: I personally need to survive these four years, and I need to prioritize health and overall well-being, along with the intensified workload of activism and supporting others.
2. News Rationing: Take in only as much news as I can metabolize. Will I be able to take action on it? Can I use it in my writing? If not, I don’t need a high level of detail. I know the executive and the republicans are attacking a wide array of vulnerable groups, civil liberties, the constitution, weakening our democracy, harming the environment, causing international and financial instability and looting our country. They’re also tossing out many of Obama’s hard fought gains. Did I miss anything? I think I have a pretty clear picture, but not in fine enough detail that I’m sunk into depression. I’m supporting resistance and community organizing efforts, as best I can.
3. Long-term strategies: So, instead of focusing on Tr*mp’s latest outrage, what am I focusing on? My own writing, parenting, teaching, and community building, which is laced with activism. But also, I’m supporting efforts for a progressive takeover of the Democratic Party. I’ve been an activist since my teens. I vote, and I vote Democrat, but I’ve never seen much hope for a real progressive change through electoral politics…until now. I now see a dual strategy where our electoral organizing is a critical partner for our grassroots political work. And Steve Phillips‘ book BROWN IS THE NEW WHITE and the Democracy in Color movement that he founded, has given me new hope that the Democratic Party is the key institution powerful enough to stop what’s happening in our country. The book lays it out: we have a New American Majority of people of color and progressive whites that can win national elections if the Party takes bold progressive stances and runs progressive candidates. I believe a Democratic Party-led government can open the door to many other more progressive changes that are beyond the scope of electoral politics. And right now that also means holding these Democrat collaborators with Tr*mp accountable (Dianne Feinstein, I’m looking at you). But I’m excited about the race for the new DNC Chair, particularly Keith Ellison, Jehmu Greene and Tom Perez. I’m excited about black women activists like Pam Harris, Nanci Armstrong Temple and Jessica Byrd.
I’m also excited about the resistance overall, the Women’s March, and the Movement for Black Lives. But above all, I’m trusting in God, and looking forward to looking back on this painful, difficult time.