the revolution will be homemade
Here is what I learned at the Women’s March on Washington:
We are a deeply co-creative people.
We ARE Stronger Together. And/but, importantly, we are NOT all saying the same thing.
Each sign at the women’s marches expressed its maker’s own point of view. There were lovey dovey signs:
There were unabashedly angry signs:
There were NECESSARY signs.
Many signs mocked and taunted Trump & Company. And many called attention to particular communities and goals and concerns: intersectional feminism, reproductive rights, Black Lives Matter, climate change, LGBTQ empowerment, freedom of speech and press, importance of immigrants, and on and on.
This is key. We are not all the same. At this march, we found we resonated more deeply not in spite of our differences, but because of them.
I was relieved and delighted and inspired by the diversity among us, in the kaleidoscopic multitude, in which certain messages arose again and again, each time in a new light.
Our liberal smattering of pussyhats came in every shade of pink. And blue, and black, and rainbow, and leopard print. Some were crocheted, some knitted, some sewn, some made in knitting circles, some made in living rooms, some on commuter trains. My community email lists were full of offers and requests of these hats; my local yarn store received and distributed huge batches of them from all over the country.
Nope, we did not wear mass-produced hats made in factories abroad.
And Nope, we did not have a single, whitewashing slogan. We are listening and speaking out, and so we know that America has not EVER been Great for everyone.
We do not have one voice, but we do have a more and more clearly defined common enemy.
He’s the one who pretends we’re all the same. He’s the common denominator between Sanders and Trump, the Daddy Knows Best who dismisses civil rights as “identity politics” on one side of the aisle, and on the other spares us that pseudo-progressive wrapping paper on that sexist, racist turd.
And how do we fight that bullshit?
I say we keep up the radical self-expression, and inspire ourselves and each other into action by MAKING STUFF.
Make what lights you up, and trust it's for the good of all of us.
Make a new lesson plan that shows students there’s always more than one way, always more than one side to the story.
Make a knitting circle that doubles as an intersectionally feminist book club. (And please invite me).
Make a community garden where neighbors grow their own food and share compost.
Make weekly political actions: calls and postcards and sit-ins and mini-Marches to the offices of elected officials.
Make proposals to the Obama Foundation.
Make opportunities to share your stories, and make opportunities to listen to others.
Make a more diverse news and commentary feed for yourself. Start by subscribing to Jamelle Bouie's newsletter; he always has great recommendations for further reading.
Make donations, of money, yes, but even better of YOUR TIME. If you enjoy it, you will do it more often and for longer, so think: what's interesting to you? Helping in a school, a library, a prison, a soup kitchen?
Make a note to remember what Martha Graham insisted:
There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
And make a point to hear Ani DiFranco:
I study the conversation like a map
'cause I know there is strength
in the differences between us
and I know there is comfort
where we overlap.
Until the Women’s March, I don’t think we quite understood that THIS is what Stronger Together is. And that it is possible, and that it purrs and also roars.
You make your part of it, and I will make mine, and we will figure out where the not-fascist-hell we can go from here.