Elie Wiesel said in his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
I have tried to start this post so many times over the last week, and every day, multiple times daily, there is some new fresh hell that makes my head explode and I am once again speechless. I cannot put the words together coherently. I post on Facebook and tweet and retweet and am left angry and ultimately unsatisfied. What should I do? What CAN I do? How can I focus–how can WE focus when there is so much happening that deserves our attention? Distraction itself has become the MO of our PE.
In fact, Jay Rosen, media critic, writer, and a professor of journalism at New York University tweeted “For those asking “how bad is it likely to get?” for the American press as a check on power, things to look for in the next 6-8 months,” includes “When you can’t tell what’s going on — when listening harder generates more noise and attention = confusion — then you know it’s working.”
One thing I know for sure is I will resist.
Kevin Sessums wrote in a Facebook post “Such exalted and purposeful hatred has driven resistance to fascist regimes in the past and it will drive this one for it is a clarifying prism for the press of all our jumbled emotions at what we are witnessing.”
Resist. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me.
December 1 was World AIDS Day. I am aware of it every year, this year significantly more than in the past. That day, I read a lot about ActUp, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. I remember so clearly how uncomfortable ActUp made me feel back then. I was almost embarrassed by their tactics. Performance art like “die ins”. Civil disobedience. Spray painted pink triangles with the words Silence = Death. Of course we were aware of the gay plague. It just didn’t affect us. I just wanted to dance with my friends on Sunday night. Then my friends started dying. And kept dying.
ActUp really started because of the lack of action by the people who should have been working to protect their constituents. It was a loose coalition of people who were frustrated and angry. There were no “leaders” so citizens took matters into their own hands. They demanded attention. And ultimately they got it.
Resist. It’s what changed the politics that were preventing AIDS drugs from being made available to the dying.
We can put the tactics employed by the gay community to fight for themselves and their sisters and brothers to good use today. I am not going to be quiet. If my anger makes you uncomfortable, good. Get used to it. This is me now.
I am not going to calm down any time soon when every day brings another face-palming reality. I am not going to get over it. I am not going to allow things to go unremarked. And I will continue to point out that the democrats got 2.8 million more votes and counting. WE are the majority. I will act like the majority.
Today’s Boston Herald does not even mention the CIA report confirming Russia tampering with our election. I don’t expect much from them but really? Not even a mention? They will be hearing from me. The Republicans coming forward to demand answers on the CIA report? They will get thank yous from me. I emailed the GAO about investigating the PE’s many conflicts of interest. I called my congressman’s office to thank him for his outspoken opposition to the the misogynist white supremacist fascist Steve Bannon. I share news I can verify with my like-minded friends. I share writing that I believe helps explain what it is we are going through.
It’s not all about news and politics. I let a woman in line at the bank go in front of me. I bought a bag full of groceries for our local food pantry. I have given money to nearly every worthy cause that has asked, and some that haven’t. I will act with love, and I will act to counter the hate and lies that I have been trying to sift through every minute of every day since 11/8.
I will resist.