I woke up several times last night, with a stuffy nose and then a sore throat. This suggests I am cultivating another cold. Delightful. But I also lay awake for a while each time, being anxious about the upcoming Reign of Terror that seems inevitable with Donald Trump in the White House and a Congress dominated by the worst of modern American conservatism.
I used to admire conservatives, and even toyed with the idea of identifying myself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The problem, of course, is that I had no idea exactly what "fiscally" conservative even meant. I just re-read George Lakoff's excellent book Don't Think of an Elephant, in which -- among other things -- he describes the various progressive subtribes. There are the environmentalists, for example, with whom I have friendly alliances, but there was one tribe I instantly recognized as my own. I am a civil rights progressive. Civil rights are my political priority, my motivating cause. I wonder if I could find allies among non-Democratic voters? Libertarians, for sure, though I do not agree with all of their positions. Once upon a time the GOP cared about civil rights --when they were the "party of Lincoln", as many love to point out. But lately it seems their passion for civil rights has shriveled to something much less than "all men are created equal, etc.". The right to bear arms is important, but not if you are Black. The "right to life" is sacred for embryos and fetuses, but not for poor children, or women, or people needing health care or clean water. Voting rights? Not if you are going to vote against Republicans. Religious freedom? For Christians, yes, but not Muslims or (horrors!!) atheists. That may be an unfair characterization, but it is the face they present in their rhetoric and policies. What else can I do but take them at their word, and judge them by their actions?
My activism in the coming year (at least) will be focused on civil rights, especially voting rights. Is it too much to hope that I can find a nonpartisan community where we can work together?
1/3/2017 08:32:26 am
Jo - I don't expect this post to be published on your blog. It is more of an appreciation to you for the work that you do. So much of it from one person, and all of it so powerful, so to the point, so pointing the direction ahead.You and your work teach me every day about the power of one. Recently a young woman I mentor asked me which classes has been transformative ones in my college career and your AMST classes were the first and last ones that came to mind. There were others that came to mind also, of course in the middle - I've been blessed with amazing learning experiences and I hope I'm making good use of them. Today I want to thank you for the way in which you've been speaking truth to power on FB the past few months. There are so few who are doing this and who are doing it with reasoned information to explain their appropriate outrage. Now to your question - from my teaching experiences in the past few years here in California and from my interactions with a large family, only a few of whom are actually progressive in any sense in their political perspective, I would say the answer is YES. Individuals who are not progressive and who do not care particularly about other issues I care about (LGBTQA+, poverty, women, and ethnicity, feminism as a progressive force, patriarchy, Islamophobia ... to name a few) do, in fact, here in California, care about Civil Rights. Some of these folks are old, some are young, some are white and some are brown but this issue does bring them together across those divides. I welcome your activism on this issue and will spread your voice and your strategies as wide as my little pond allows.
1/3/2017 08:46:34 am
I hope you don't mind it being posted. I think it offers encouragement to others; it certainly brightened my way. Right this minute I am listening to 1A, the new show on WAMU replacing Diane Rehm. So far it is exactly the sort of thing I have been longing for -- nonpartisan discussion focused on policy, not ideology. Check it out!
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