the kids are alright

I realize now what I’m doing here, on this planet, at this time, in the glorious and crushing moments, through uphill slogs and downhill slides, amid merciful solitude and exhuberant crowds …

It sounds so trite I hesitate, and yet it is true: I am a mother. But what is important is not my motherhood. It is the gift motherhood brings: my child.

This past month and a half have been among the saddest and most hopeful of my life. I have witnessed my father struggling to breathe from a hospital bed, then come through surgery with rousing success. I have watched another bloody massacre become a wave of youthful voices so passionate, so articulate, so tireless that my cynicism cracks a bit.

And I see my daughter, this human that my body grew, this person that our village raised, this glowing, compassionate being who cares about social justice, the environment, and the happiness of people around her. Her voice is one of a diverse, aware, and empowered generation, and, as Chloe and Halle sing to us, appropriating the words of the Who: “The kids are alright.” In an interview with Trevor Noah, these poised young women assured us that their generation is doing fine, that their parents didn’t fail them. I am struck by their words, and therein lies my truth.

Last weekend I marched behind a group of student protesters from the school where I teach, my daughter among them. As they led us down the tourist-lined streets, chanting their rage over the deaths of their peers, outlining gun policy demands that no sane person should oppose, my love and pride for these young people overwhelmed me. My body felt heavy with the poignant words of Briar Goldberg, a survivor of Columbine, who watched our country do nothing to protect us from what she went through. And I felt buoyed by the cadence and messaging of a middle-school girl, who far outshone any public speaker I’ve heard since the last presidential election. One by one, other teens spoke, with intelligence, with compassion, with the very present pain of what they experience daily because of guns in their communities. Their voices are clearer and louder than my feeble cries into the void have ever been. Now I can say that my fight was not in vain: it was an opening act, which is perhaps as it should be. The main stage is set for the real action, coming soon to a voting booth near you.

With renewed clarity, I see my life in a different way. My commitment to child-rearing takes on a greater meaning, as I envision the future that my child will help create. And I know that throughout the physical and mental exhaustion, the paycheck-to-paycheck existence, the struggles to hide despair and desperation from the gentle soul who kept me motivated, who shared my laughter, who makes me proud … she is why I’m here. She is my finest contribution to this time, to this planet, to these glorious moments and more yet to come.

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[photo: afp 2018]

 

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resist

Some good news  in the Huff Post is that the grassroots resisters are surging ahead of Dems in DC, which is a good thing, since Elizabeth Warren — of all people — just voted to confirm Ben Carson. I guess he must be the lesser of whatever evil lurks in the unknown in some people’s minds.

Feeling disconnected from your elected officials? Here’s some inspiration from the organizers of the Women’s March:

10 things to do in the first 100 days

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dump DAPL

via 350.org…

Today the president has signed executive actions restarting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the Dakota Access fracked oil pipeline.

Millions of people have shown their opposition to these projects, which violate U.S. Treaties with the colonized Native peoples in addition to endangering the water supply that affects all people. The folks at 350.org are asking everyone who spoke up, marched, or sat-in to stand up and show the president that he has severely miscalculated and pledge to resist these projects and any other fossil fuel project that violates the science of climate action, the rights of Tribes, and the will of the people.

Join the Pledge of Pipeline Resistance to be part of the first wave of action to stop the administration’s pipeline plans.

Be ready to march in solidarity with the indigenous American resisters, who were attacked by dogs and water cannons in subfreezing temperatures just weeks ago.

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EPA radio silence

The new administration’s first day resulted in a lockdown at the EPA: employees have been instructed not to talk to anyone outside the department and the grants program, which funds all kinds of scientific research, has been frozen.

The new administration refuses to respond to inquiries about the status of the EPA, whose nominated head, Scott Pruitt, has not yet been confirmed. Pruitt is a strong critic of the EPA.

One can only assume the agency is doomed, or at least gutted of all its effectiveness.

Write your senator urging denial of confirmation of environmental enemy number one, Scott Pruitt.

Keep your voices strong: our future depends on the health of Mother Earth.

political borders

Border officials denied entry to young, non-criminal Canadians and others who tried to enter U.S. this weekend. The common factor: they are against the current administration…

This should concern every one of us.

our voices

our voices
ringing clear
you can’t claim
you didn’t hear

see images from Women’s Marches around the world

and hear Ashley Judd

and America Ferrera

and Angela Davis

Listen to each other, my sisters, and resist!

and for some comic relief, check out Kate MacKinnon mocking Kellyanne Conway (we’re still listening, Ms. Conway, if you have anything factual to say…)

misogyny much?

I don’t use Twitter, but today I saw a disturbing report about cyberthreats directed at Ashley Judd in response to a critical tweet she made about a sports opponent of her favorite team. I perused her Twitter feed to see what was up and was shocked by some of what she made public. Do not click here if you do not want to be offended.

The problem isn’t Twitter, although that particular platform seems to unleash the unchecked foulness of some people. The problem is the vituperative violence directed at a woman who dared to express an opinion about sports. The problem is that this sort of violence toward women plays out every day in real life, not just on social media feeds. From federal judges to sports stars, the perpetrators often go unpunished. Ashley Judd is making an example of her haters and pressing charges. I say Brava! You go, sister!

One has to wonder how one woman becomes the target of so much anger and loathing. My guess is that Ms. Judd’s politics play a role: she is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and equality, which threaten the social and political structure on which some of these bullies precariously perch. Perhaps they feel the groundswell of our outrage at the mistreatment of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. Perhaps they hear our voices ringing out through the airwaves of free speech, no longer held in check by greying newspaper editors or chauvinistic higher ups. Perhaps they fear the Elizabeth Warrens and the Malala Yousafzais of the world, who are not afraid to call them out on their bad behavior, who threaten to topple them from their place of privilege by speaking the truth to their delusions, from Wall Street to Taliban strongholds.

No amount of hate-speech or craven threats on Internet will stop our voices. The fire of our indignation is real, and they provide the fuel that proves us justified.