That's been going on right outside your window
Exhausted, and feel complicit and privileged about all of it. Determined to do something. I was participating/watching the Unitarian Universalist general assembly gathering today via Internet, since only our minister went, and one thing they repeated: We need action and accountability to create real change. I have been working on accountability. Now stepping into action. Time, talent and treasure, as they call it in the church world -- directed outward at the world. Some of the world. Trying.
I do not feel hopeless yet. I am feeling certain it will be better by the end of this year. If it is not--I will be a wrecked person, I guess. I still feel hope that change is possible. That we can save the nation. And that big change is coming.
I love your batshit-crazy passion for what is right and honourable.
Thinking of you often, Chris, and always reading your posts although sometimes I remain quietly behind the scenes. You inspire me to speak up for Truth.
Thanks for this. I have to say I always get a lot out of reading about your outrage and white noise. It feels good to be in company. I’m also really glad you brought up the land acknowledgement. I’m a herbalist and often teach at conferences and live in Washington state. I work with the land and it’s medicine as we have for eons and it has become very fashionable and seemingly appropriate for us to do a land acknowledgment and I have always struggled with this. I’m not going to look this shit up on the web. It has to come about because I have had a talk with native peoples but then who am I to be hassling some strange native so that I look good with all my good intentions. I have yet to have this conversation so I’m hopefully having it now! I’m white and middle aged and I have a relationship with the land that I can talk to. I also know that the land rejoices when it is called to by us!
What would you like to see? So far all I speak to is my experience. I can’t use names that don’t belong to me but I would like to walk with honour and rejoice in the names that the land loves and I feel the land loves it’s old names. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
That is outrageous, the ignorance at the event. But you did the right thing. Because whiteness must be coddled. They will turn on you otherwise. Because fascism will be a brunch discussion to them if it takes hold, and nothing more.
Damn. That was awesome.
I had some serious shit go down on Friday night involving my father, a pro-life, white, evangelical pastor. Things I've been wanting to scream at him for decades somehow managed to come, somewhat calmly, out of my mouth. He didn't agree. He didn't even understand most of it. He thinks I am a liberal snowflake. But he loves me and I love him.
Like you, I felt extreme rage at his actions. And even more rage that he couldn't see why they were offensive. I walked out of the room and sobbed. I waited a few hours and a returned to ask him if he knew why I'd walked out.
It was one of the scariest, bravest things I've ever done.
I'm still processing it on many levels. But this newsletter here, Chris, it is really helping.
We are here. There are millions of us.
Let's burn it down.
Hi Chris -- I think I’ve read this one half a dozen times? More? There’s so much to comment on that I find myself not commenting at all. Let me shake myself off and say the first thing that came to me, which was that I’m always bowled over by how vulnerable you are in your posts, talking about the things you try & what works & what doesn’t & what you feel you could get better at & what you wish other people were working on more.
I just totally respect that because I’m always having these interior conversations too, and also I think you’re right in your decisions, especially because I think a lot of the power imbalance is supposed to make you question yourself & make you feel bad about asking for more from other people. So I’m glad you include your process as well as your results, and I think it takes great courage to do that.
I stand by you Chris, while you condemn the evil that is manifesting itself so boldly out in open,amongst what is supposed to be the most progressive country of Western civilization. I am not a pessimist but sometimes I cannot help but wonder, if this is the beginning of the end of this world as we know it.
"You can judge a nation, and how successful it will be, based on how it treats its women and its girls", Mr Obama once said. There is no other time I resonated more with what he said, than now.
Thank you, Chris. I only recently discovered your work, and you speak for me in many ways. This piece is spot-on. I was having the conversation with some "Buddhist"-leaning acquaintances the other day, about the hypocrisy and corruption in the Democratic party (HRC in particular), and it was like talking to a wall. The belittling and gaslighting. Good Lord, they are so ignorant.
Thank you for this and that Rufus Jones' quote. I've been wondering if we can/should start really small/local with our most preferred candidates. Maybe keep voting for the Dem at the national offices to save ourselves from Fascism, but be much pickier about local offices/candidates. More of filtering up long game of sorts? I don't know.
How long have you been doing this organizing gig Chris ? I started working for the re-election of JFK and I've never seen socialists, progressives, liberals and anyone vaguely Democrat band together in mutual support and benefit the way that Republicans and conservatives have the past 30 years. Not even the trade union movement which is my background space unless you go back to the Wobblies, Frank Little and Harry Bridges. My wife worked as an organizer in low/moderate income communities. Making the leap from donating a small amount of money for causes to simply writing to your politician is simply a leap into the unknown for many. It's not that the principle is not understood on the left...Alinsky was, after all, a master organizer across interest lines. In Montana you only have to look at Jim Murry who pulled labor, environmental and income groups together. Here on the Rez there are lots of problem issues affecting Members, but the prevailing question seems to be "When are the next percaps coming out?".
You did not fail. I feel the love, deeply. Organizing is complicated and I empathize with you deeply. This email is beautiful.
I am sitting with all of these words swirling around me, reminding me of a poem:
"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me". --Niemoller
We are all guilty of being stand-byers to one degree or another. It's okay. We all make mistakes. Our job is to make it better at the next event. Someone once said that a threat anywhere is a threat everywhere and it is true. So shelve the immediate body autonomy issue. What about enslaved people who were stolen, sold, raped, beaten for generations? Who spoke for/with them? As mass graves are unearthed and Interior Secretary Haaland conducts hearings...where is the prolife outrage for children who were deeply loved and wanted, stripped from their families and culture, starved, beaten, raped (and the children of that murdered post birth), killed, or left to be the walking dead (IN OUR LIFETIME, PEOPLE!)? Who is unabashedly saying, our bad, here's the reparations and your land back?
I have no doubt the maladies of the earth and people are connected. Just this past weekend, we returned to a wilderness camp where my family has rested for 20 seasons and there were NO FISH nor aquatic insects in the stream, a consequence of flood damage, algae bloom, and low/warm water.
For now, as Martha Beck says when something massive strikes, we, like caterpillars before the butterfly metamorphosis, go into "human soup". I am currently soup: full of tears and fear, uncertain what form my action will take. That is all I can be Today. Tomorrow...we shall see.
"We are going to need each other in these coming years."
You speak for so many of us who do what we can, hopeful, against all odds, After talking with her Spanish language tutor who lives in Guanajuato, Mexico, a local friend sent me a link to this article:
which brought this organization to light:
Thank you for your strong words said with love. I always cringe at those land acknowledgements—good intentions mean nothing when they’re followed by ignorance.
I keep coming back to this and thinking I need to own up that I was once one of the people you are frustrated with. I grew up thinking the world was essentially fair and just, in a conservative Christian home. I didn't really, fully, "get it" in high school when there was an uproar about my high school using "Dixie" as a fight song and the confederate flag as a symbol. I voted for Ross Perot ffs. I think it wasn't until I moved to the west coast and started to meet people with differing views that I started to change. What keeps coming to my mind is the story of the prodigal son. How there is something larger that is waiting for us to come home and when we do is ready to welcome us.
Of course, it is also true that we can open to one issue and still remain totally unaware of many others. It is true that I don't truly know the experience of another. I may have felt what it's like to be the only woman in the room or to be afraid at night walking alone, to be afraid I would run out of money or to be afraid for our health in a pandemic over a long (long) stretch of time. Yet I don't know what it feels like to be a man of color moving through the world. I don't know what it's like to see your people, your community consistently beaten down, dismissed, stolen from. I don't know what it's like to not have any money AND no safety net.
Anyway - I have no answers other than trying to open to it as best I can and looking for ways I can support since I am absolutely in no position to lead. I hope I am in a position to welcome that next woman in, the one for whom this issue finally opens her eyes, and help her open them even wider.
I have read this twice this week and let it tear at my heart, hoping it I will know how to act and how to support those truly in position already to take real action.