Despair is Not an Option

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Despair is NOT an Option

Oh how I wish I had the luxury to be uninvolved, to return to my pre-November 9th days of writing, reading, and thinking that sense and dignity and intelligence would certainly prevail. My life was upended that early morning – and while I long to return to the rhythm of my days, while I long to believe that my calls, emails to our elected representatives will be at least heard if not accepted, I admit to more than one episode of near-despair.

On a state and national level, it feels like events are moving in a helter-skelter, out-of-control battle, Republican officials racing to undo progress made in moving our country toward a forward-looking, accepting society, to institute laws, regulations that they think will make the country “great again,” to accept baseless tweets and opinions as facts. Environmental protections, consumer safeguards, rational gun control laws, healthcare coverage – the rush to decimate, to unravel anything done or espoused by the former President. Yes, hard not to despair of an administration that wants to bring back coal, restrict the rights and privileges of our citizens, build a wall, ban Muslims.  I must ask for what purpose?

Yes, down the list of 45’s platforms are limits of congressional terms and lobbying jobs. I’d like to see some progress on those issues. Instead, he seems to be working hard to take us back to the 1950s, a time that his supporters seem to view through sepia lenses. As far as I know, time-travel only exists in novels.

Preaching to the choir I am most likely. And I promise that this will be my last dirge for a while. My second historic novel, Echoes from the Alum Chine, is close to being born. You’ll hear more-than-you-want-to-hear about that over the next months.

Meanwhile, I won’t despair, and I wish the same for you.

Another Sunday, http://www.cynthiastrauff.com

Nevertheless, She Persisted…

Nevertheless, She Persisted….

I start each week by telling myself that this will be the week when I return to some semblance of normalcy. This will be the week that calling, writing, emailing my senators and representative will not be my first priority. This will be the week that I return to posting a blog that is not political. And then……and then…. Like so many, I feel that I must persist. If not I, then who? And Senator Warren, you go girl. Hasn’t this propelled you and our cause to the fore!

This week I actually visited the field office of Senator Tillis, or at least I tried to. I went alone. I wanted to see how/if there would be a different response to one person rather than a group. What I found was a locked door, lights on in the back of the office. I rapped on the window; I called. No response. I went back an hour later – same routine.

Later that day I called and was told that they keep the door locked, and, of course, they couldn’t hear me since their offices are “all the way in the back.” When I asked how constituents were supposed to find them, they told me that there was a bell I should have rung. Where is said bell? I asked. To the right, along the wall.

Well, I’m sure they’re right. I didn’t see it, even though my current vision is 20/20, or almost. There was no sign letting visitors know about it. So I will let you be the judge of how important visitors are to the good senator’s local office.

I must say that I don’t like becoming a political animal. I don’t like starting each day with ever-so-polite calls to regional and Washington offices. I’d much rather drink my coffee, sit on my sun porch and listen to the birds. And then I found this Facebook post. It had been shared many times, and I could not find the author. But did her words resonant, did they ever ring true. And I share them here, not my words, though I wish they were:

 
“I want my friends to understand that “staying out of politics” or being “sick of politics” is privilege in action.
Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities, your religion, or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don’t want to get political, you don’t want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake.
It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka “get political”). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that’s what privilege does.
I also want to say to my friends who are new to this, my friends who have recently become more vocal, my friends who’ve seen the damage #45 has done so far, my friends who went to the women’s march — I am proud of you for getting involved. Don’t stop there. Keep having these discussions, keep talking about politics, stay active.
And when you read the critiques of the march from other progressive women who didn’t feel represented, don’t get defensive or discouraged. Activism needs critique. We need to ask ourselves where we were as Flint’s water has been poisoned, or where we were when Philando Castile was killed, or John Crawford or Eric Garner. If the women who showed up at the march showed up when people of color were murdered, it would stop.
Intersectionality means showing up even when the issues don’t affect us directly. Stay awake and stay active. We need you so much right now.”

And so I continue, every day, even on my Sabbatical Wednesdays to do what I can. I know it is small, but it is something. You know what they say about those snowflakes – alone, one might not mean so much, but just see what they can do when they accumulate and the climate is right.;

Well, the climate is definitely right. And Nevertheless, She Persisted.

www.cynthiastrauff.com