Sunday, December 31, 2017

Another year of resistance

At the start of 2017, I psyched myself up and got busy fighting the good fight. I marched, I called government offices, I attended city council meetings and meetings to help the Latino community resist ICE, and I read as much as I could so that I knew the issues and always had a strategy. A lot of times this year, I've felt really powerful in this fight, and a lot of people have told me, especially on Facebook, how much they've appreciated my words and actions this year.

But it's been exhausting, and a lot of time, the payoff for all that fighting has felt minimal - even useless. And when I see the Nazis marching in the streets and being defended by the President and immigrant families being torn apart and the Republicans in Congress smugly bankrupting the country while their supporters assure the press that they absolutely would vote for them again, I've felt despondent and lost.

Eventually, I'd gather myself up and go back to the city council meetings and the Democratic Party meetings and reading updates from the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center and call Congressional representatives and keep. But the closer I got to the end of 2017, the more I felt overwhelmed and unsure of myself. Was any of this really making a difference?

As 2017 ends, I remind myself over and over that the dark clouds of fascism started rising in Germany in the 1920s, but most of the public dismissed them as any significant threat. Even when Hitler became Chancellor in 1933, millions refused to believe a bloodbath was coming. Victory in Europe wasn't secured until May 1945. That means it took more than 20 years to defeat the Nazis.

There wasn't one march that started the Civil Rights movement in the USA, one demonstration that launched it all nor resolved it all. The demonstrations and legal actions and pressure happened over more than a decade. And people died for that cause. Many people. And millions of white people fought against that movement, and were never convinced it was righteous.

Nixon resigned in 1974, more than two years after the Watergate break-ins. And had he not resigned, the investigations and eventual impeachment hearings could have stretched into another year or two.

This is going to take time and lots of work. A LOT of work.

I also remind myself that there are people all over the world fighting circumstances even worse than what I'm going through. If they aren't giving up against Daesh or the anti-women Saudi government or the rape culture of India or all of the other civil rights abuses and assaults happening all over the world, all the physical harm and harassment, year after year, decade after decade, how can I? At the end of my day, I get to go to bed and sleep safely - they don't. Did I really think this was going to be easy?

I remind myself that Victor Lazslo always found a way - and with a great deal of style.

I remind myself that he's actually a fictional character, but not Marlene Dietrich, a tireless fighter against fascism who also always found a way - and with a great deal of style.

She didn' give up. She kept fighting AND stayed fabulous. I'm no Marlene Dietrich, of course. I'm no Victor Lazslo either. Plus, I don't smoke. But they are good icons to keep in mind as this fight continues. 

So is, of course, Princess Leia. 

This is a marathon, not a sprint. It's going to take so much work, so much action, over and over and over, for years. 

And so, I'll renew myself for 2018 and I'll keep resisting.

But I may not always look good doing it.

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