I couldn’t have foreseen that I had a sleeping lion inside me, never mind that it would wake up on November 9th. I’ve always been a sassy loudmouth but I didn’t know that after all my polite, courteous-with-a-pinch-o’-sassin’ efforts that I’d find a crack in my foundation of “In All Things: Southern Manners Before Mightiness”
but I did.
I could go on for hours, days even, and I have. Many of you know… and probably wish I’d cap it already…
(Gracia has taken to closet-texting friends, family, and acquaintances: “If you don’t want to talk all night about politics and The State of Things, for God’s sake, don’t mention it around Sb.” -No really – she is – I’ve caught her at it.)
I’d like to say that today will be my last post about all of it & that I’ll get onto making, draping, taking photos of, and be-frocking folks once more. I have some awesome women lined up to clothe.
I need to start with the work of doing. In the spirit of that I want to share with you a few thoughts I’ve had that keep coming up and out. And I want to share with you how I plan to act and not just yell from my soap box.
First, if I hear one more **** expletive expletive **** time: “I don’t know any people that voted for Trump.” I might start shaking folks. -Which would be entirely antithetical to the nature of civil disobedience. So Stop It: of course you know people that voted for Trump, and if you don’t, or you don’t think you do, then you – my dear friend – are part of the big problem.
Some of my favorite people voted for Trump. Yes They Did. And yes, they still are some of my favorite people. That does not mean I am not hurt. That does not mean I am not scared. That does not mean I am not mad. Let me tell you something – each and every one of you from both sides of all fences: We all lost in this election. No One Won. The overwhelming popular vote for a woman didn’t win, and the disenchanted folks who live in states that backed the Electoral College & a unqualified dude didn’t win. -Now if that sentence didn’t make sense to you, email me, call me, reach out, let’s start there. My daddy said there are no stupid questions, he’s right – and if you don’t understand what I’m saying, don’t sull up or turn away in apathy, please -get curious and let’s have a respectful conversation.
We didn’t win anything as a nation because we are so very very divided. Biased news stations alongside dozens of other issues divides us, but probably most importantly: What Is Scaring Us Is Dividing Us.
So let me ask you to do this: Get curious. Get compassionate. Ask your Conservative/ Liberal/ and/or Democrat/ Republican: Dad, Godmother, Cousins, Uncle, Aunt & Neighbors what worries them, what scares them, what threatens them. Ask them about their day. Ask them about their lives. Ask. Just ask. As a nation America I tell you this: It is more important to listen to one another than it is to defend our position right now.
That’s a hard statement. Honestly, I hated typing it because my desire to have my anger, righteousness and fear heard is strong. I am a gay, southern, sassy lady. I live my life a little afraid each day & I have plenty of evidence that supports my worry. I’m the beloved black sheep in my family. I know I’m lucky that way, I know my family loves me to the deep deep bedrock and back, but they are scared too, & of something entirely different than what I am scared of. If I’m being honest with you – and my plan is to truly try to be, I’m angry about that too. You see what scares them is a luxury I haven’t got to meet yet. My fears are still a bit more primal. I’m scared someone will beat my beloved. I’m scared the way she looks is a threat on her life – why? Because the public has told me it is. I’m scared of being bullied & harassed. Why? Because it’s happened. I’m scared of being assaulted & of walking into the gas station or down a street late at night, and dang it I’m angry that those are true and real things to be scared of and that I’m being told to “get over my self”. I’m not going to get over myself, but if I am unwilling to get over my fears, I have to understand that my relatives & friends that have different politics than I have shouldn’t be told to get over theirs. We have to come together folks. The divide is wide, and the fat cat politicians that are an immense amount wealthier than we are have a pay off in keeping us divided & staying in power. Open your eyes:
What would they do if they faced a united nation that said: Jobs are important. Safety of our police officers is important. Safety for brown and black folks is important. Women are important. Men are important. Our elderly are important. Our babies are important. Our personal choices are important. The drug problem as an epidemic illness is important. Drug running is a problem that is important. Clean water is important. Unpolluted land is important. Farmers are important. Indigenous people are important. Miners are important. Country folk are important. City folk are important. Unemployed people are important. Women having equal pay is important. Having food AND health care is important. Freedom to pray TO WHOMEVER YOU WANT TO PRAY is important. Free speech is important. Public schools are important. Being autonomous is important. Liberty is important. And on and on.
??? What would they do if we agreed that all people’s concerns were valid and worthy of the hard work to figure out how to make it all happen? What would they do if we *gasp* asked them to do their jobs instead of riling us up & against one another?
As a people I say to you as well: we have to learn that compromise isn’t losing. That less than 100% perfect isn’t an affront. We’re scared that if we don’t instantly get all of what we want that our fears are coming true, when in fact, more of everyone’s needs are being met. The way to do that is to stop listening to the tv and reading the articles of the folks that have a huge pay off in keeping us divided and scared. Turn it off, and turn towards your neighbors. Turn towards the people in your life that are actually in it. Learn what their needs are. Share yours. Talk about how we achieve that together. Learn to love what makes us different. What makes us different makes us stronger as a nation. It makes us more able to solve problems and see all angles of a situation. Our differences make us great & when we see that we see our differences make us The United States of America.
Learn what the hierarchy of needs are. Are your basic needs met? Are your neighbors? Are your secondary needs met? Are your neighbors?
Fan the flames of curiosity. Fan the flames of care, compassion, and compromise.
Here are my actual plans of action to do all of that and more:
1 When I have more than I need, I’m going to share.
2 I’m going to check where I get all my news: fake news is a big dang problem: before I allow myself to click & get riled up, I’m checking where it’s coming from. Is it accredited? Is it honest & good journalism? And if I can’t tell? then I’m not going to read it, I don’t need more divisive hogwash.
3 I’m planting a bigger garden. Laugh if you want: I think it’s going to get rough. I want food so I’m going to grow it. I’m going to give away what I have too much of & heck yeah, I’m planting flowers too.
4 Vote by: spending yo’ $$ locally & wisely. Support your neighbors which means spending a little more and buying a little less.
A few of my favorites around my neck of the woods:
For dinnerware, tea (my brand new favorite: Hu-kwa) & gifts: East Fork Pottery
Pictured above: East Fork french press & tea that tastes like a smokey camp fire.
For garden supplies, kitchenware, classes and gifts: Villagers
Pictured above: a Villagers compost canister.
For planting: Sow True Seeds
For painting the face: Serenity+Scott
For reading: These books by my pal: Grassdancer and Sacred Wilderness by Susan Power (but please buy them from your local bookstore).
And if you’re southern, or if you’d like to understand us better, read: The Bitter Southerner
5 Donate. Contribute to the folks that have already been fighting hard for: clean water, equal rights, justice, children, women.
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” – Theodore Roosevelt
I’m not into rallying at every pass. I think most small town gatherings of disgruntled folk don’t do much other than grow the apathy & irritation of people driving by town square every Friday BUT if there is an organized movement with clear leadership and a clear purpose – then our bodies are needed. Get yourself to a well organized nonviolent protest. Show up. It’s one of the only things left to us: a respectful act that says: I will not go quietly into the night. It’s your patriotic duty to continue to care & to continue to say: I want leadership that leads & cares for us all.
I’m marching for everyone in my life. Every woman I know. I am marching for women’s rights and human rights. I’m marching to say: my body is my own, my marriage is my business, my rights, my voice, & my life matters. I’m marching for this. I’m marching for education, for those folks who are worse off than me, for my future children, I’m marching because black lives matter, and it’s ridiculous we have to actually say that. I’m marching because I believe we are all worthy of being treated with dignity and currently the president elect has not comported himself in a manner that shows me that he believes that and I want him to know I need him to do better.
I’m marching for the women in my life that raised me to believe that I am worthy of respect, love, safety, and opportunity. I’m marching for my daddy because he taught me that too.
Join me. Join me even though it makes you uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable too. Justice isn’t often comfortable. Mercy isn’t easy. Humility isn’t my strong suit. Join me & help me. We really all are in this together.
Happy New Year: in the words of my neighbor: May all that is important to you be with you.