This glorious post, Drop Apocalyptic Thinking and Get in the Streets: On White/Male Voices Stifling Resistance, inspired me to think about how I keep from despair.
Almost immediately after the election, I pulled out my old collections of the Dykes To Watch Out For comic strip. Remember the 80s and early 90s? Remember the AIDS crisis? Remember those tapes of Reagan laughing about it? Remember the Iraq war? I cannot even express how profound it was, to see these reminders, these glimpses of a life filled with resistance and fear and joy and celebration and protest and love and chaining yourself to buildings and communal dinners.
What is happening right now in the new administration is unprecedented in some ways. But my dears, resistance has infinite precedent, and so does joy, and so does love. I urge you, I beg you not to despair. This moment is a rupture, but to win and to survive we need to integrate our resistance into our lives. Protest must not be something that takes us away from the life we meant to live–it must become in fact a nourishing, sustaining part of our daily experience.
We fill the streets not because we expect our shouts to magically transubstantiate into legislation, but because our hearts are broken and we cannot sit still; because we need to feel the resonance of a crowd shouting, in our feet and in our chest; because silence equals death; because we will not allow powerful institutions to speak for us and to represent us to the world; because our faces shine to one another; because we are not alone. We are right to protest, and when we fight, we win.
From the article linked above:
“Marginalized groups, through their lived experiences, recognize the long-standing brokenness of things in society and, alongside it, the need to build constructive ideas for action. They know that there is no viable alternative. White people, especially white men, have always operated under the illusion of being able to depend on institutions. So when those institutions are bad, the world is over. People of color never had the luxury of trusting institutions. In fact, as Dawn Phillips of Causa Justa Just Cause says about people of color and vulnerable populations:
“We have always resisted. Resisted the lies of the two-party electoral game. Resisted police beatings and murders. Resisted environmental degradation and the evils of corporate polluters. Resisted male violence and transphobia. Resisted the rich bosses and landlords who own the airwaves and politicians. Resistance is our legacy. Resistance is our duty. We have resisted a long time. We will continue to resist.””