politics

What if

 

It’s a new year. Things have been shifting for a while now, and I have been focusing on minimalism lately – not like, I only own one chair and 3 shirts, but making my life full of only things that are important to me. Because why not?

I also get tripped up by second-guessing myself. It’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time – trusting my instincts, trusting my feelings, trusting myself in general – that I can do this, that I mean well, that I am not wrong, that what I feel is right.

So for 2017 I want to work on these muscles – letting things go. Trusting myself.

I wrote the below back in October, but it seemed like good timing to post it now – I don’t have any new years resolutions this year, but this kind of sums up the general vibe I am going for in 2017 – I want to be brave, be myself, and live the life I want to live.

 

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What if

What if I stopped caring what I said or how it may have sounded last night?
What if I lose a friend, or make someone feel uncomfortable, by saying how I feel?
What if I didn’t care about being the “cool” girlfriend?
What if I didn’t care if I killed the mood at the bar when someone says something sexist?
What if I don’t answer that text, show up to that party, or have this conversation, because I don’t want to?
What if someone thinks I’m flaky?
What if someone hates how much I post on Facebook about politics?
What if I devoted all my time and energy only to the people and things that truly matter to me?
What if I stopped doing things I don’t enjoy?
What if I stopped giving myself such a hard time about things that aren’t a big deal?
What if people think I’m loud, too opinionated, annoying, or that I talk too much?
What if people don’t like me?
What if I stopped caring so much and lived my life everyday doing exactly what I want to do?

 

~

 

What are your new years resolutions/vibes? I’ve heard some good ones from friends and want to hear from you! My favorite one that I have heard today: “It’s ok to try EASY sometimes.”

<3

 

 

 

How will we fight

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So I’m going to be honest with you. Election night for me went a little bit like this – I got drunk and cried at a bar with a bunch of friends, emailed saying I wasn’t coming into work the next day, and proceeded to have a pity party for myself and how this result was going to affect my white privileged life. Not my most shining moment, but it was real. I feel like I felt my feelings and that’s okay.

The next day (after I slept off my hangover) I went into self-care mode. Watched the series finale of Buffy (helpful inspiration – we will triumph over evil again and again, etc – and I am in desperate need of a pep talk by Joss Whedon btw), hardly went on Facebook, took a walk and called my mom and asked what she did when things were this bad – the civil rights era? The Bush era? What should we do?

What should we do? That was all I kept thinking. I was sober and ready to think of the more important problems – how we will protect people of color, Muslims, immigrants, LGBTQ+ communities…

I kept saying to myself: “This is only day 1.”

“This is only day 4.”

“This is only day 10.”

We will strategize, organize, talk to each other, try things and try other things instead – we will figure out the best way to fight for our values and we will do it for as long as we need to.

My mom said she wants Trump to hear an enormous outcry every time he does something that goes against our values, and I agree. I want to flood the right places with calls. I want to have huge marches. I want to give them hell.

But it is only the beginning. For now, I am looking for sustainable ways to incorporate fighting back and engaging in my community into my life, and learning about what works, how I can play on my strengths, and how to use my family and friends as resources.

At the end of week 2 of this weird apocalyptic reality we’ve been handed, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Green Initiatives 

For my personal cabinet for the next four years, I have appointed my BFF Emily as my Chief Green Initiatives Commissioner & Hippie Consultant. She has done hours and hours of research on all things green and environmentally friendly. I call her whenever I need to check what’s killing me in my house: “Is soy still a thing? I heard that candles are bad now? What should I clean my sink with?” I love having her on speed dial – she is all-knowing and wise.

I’ve already been using cloth napkins and coconut oil for a while now, and switched to a menstrual cup a couple years back to cut back on waste. I’ve also wrapped my Christmas gifts in brown paper bags, and plan on doing so again this year. But I wanted to take more steps since Trump doesn’t believe global warming is a thing and will fuck up our progress on trying to save the planet.

So far, I have switched over to 100% renewable energy for our apartment. It was only going to be a couple of extra bucks a month, and now we are supporting clean energy just from a couple clicks on our energy provider’s website. Take a look at the website of your provider and see if they have a renewable energy program – it literally took me 2 minutes to make the change, and it’s something that could make a big difference if more people join in.

Here’s my list for the other things I want to do to do my part:

  • Make my own household cleaners
  • Get refillable containers and get common items in bulk to reduce package waste
  • Switch to beeswax candles (nontoxic and purifies the air!)
  • Use essential oils + coconut oil instead of scented wax for my wax melt air freshener
  • Watch Before the Flood

Have more ideas? Tell me in the comments!

Get Involved

In addition to Emily, I have added a couple of friends and my sister to my Bad Ass Bitches Feminist Collective Committee. Texting, ranting over drinks, sharing articles – they are my powerful tribe of intelligent AF and brave women who inspire me to do more in the world. With ideas from them and encouragement, here is what I have tried so far to be more involved in my community.

I attended a peaceful protest in my city and marched to protest hate and promote diversity and love. I follow a local group that organizes these events on social media, and I’m hoping to attend more. There is a women’s march in LA in January that I also want to attend. I believe protesting is helpful and meaningful, and found this article to be helpful in explaining that position, in case you’re interested.

I also found this app that compiles locations of safe and/or unisex restrooms for trans, intersex, and gender nonconforming individuals – add bathrooms in your area when you see them so people can pee where they feel safe!

I’ve also called my local representative for the first time in my life, and I’m going to make it a habit. The staffer was so so nice, and I want to just keep the pressure on for my reps to take a vocal stand against all of the very wrong things that are already happening in our government.

I sent an email today to my loved ones that may be shopping for Christmas soon, and asked that they consider using the money they might spend on me to instead donate to organizations I care about (I included links to Black Lives Matter, my local NPR station, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and my local LGBTQ+ organization). I’m not sure how I will donate yet and where, since money is a little tight, so I felt like that was something I could do in the meantime.

Next on the list:

  • Find the best ways to keep track of local town hall meetings and other events
  • Gather ideas of sustainable ways I can help local organizations further their causes
  • Find good sources for local government news to stay informed

What have you found that’s effective when engaging locally?

Don’t back down

The biggest urge I had on election night was to not listen to the news for four years. The idea that I’ll have to listen to that man’s voice, as the representative of the voice of our country… I just couldn’t. I wanted to hide. I couldn’t imagine getting more bad news day after day, hearing him spew hate and being allowed to do it while holding the highest office in our country.

But that would be the most privileged and unhelpful thing I could do. I would be trying desperately to ignore the things I am lucky enough to have the option to ignore, and try to force this new fucked up arena into the “normal life” category. Nope. We have to stay informed. We have to stay angry. That’s what will fuel us. We can’t hide for four years, or move to Canada, or try to get California to secede – those things aren’t helpful. We need to stay and fight for those who need our help and protection.

It’s going to suck. But not as much as it will suck for our LGBTQ+, POC, and Muslim neighbors. We need to fight as hard as we can for them – this is our mess, and we need to clean it up and stand up with the resources we are lucky enough to have.

So that’s what I will try and do. And I don’t want this post to come off as self-congratulatory – I really just want to share ideas. What has worked for you? What have you tried that actually doesn’t work? What do you think I can do to help more?

Here is another helpful list of things we can do to help if you want more!

We need to keep talking, keep reminding ourselves that this isn’t normal, and keep the fire to fight stoked and ready. I’m loving all the thoughtful conversations on social media and off and I know we can all come together to do something to help.

<3

 

 

Music for the Resistance

I have been coming across some amazing music lately that has been emerging out of the bullshit that is the news lately. In need of some revolutionary protest songs? I’ve got you covered.

Sara Bareilles wrote this amazing song for This American Life, when they asked her to write about how she thinks Obama has felt during this election. It is so beautifully performed, and the whole vibe is just beautiful and quiet and strong – I’m pretty obsessed.

Pussy Riot came out with a new song with one of the best hooks of all time:

Let other people in/ Listen to your women/ Stop killing black children/ Make America Great Again.

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image via

The video is pretty intense, so get ready for some hard core no bullshit punk girl power stuff – and for a world imagined where Trump rules. *shudder*

I also just heard a beautiful song by Alicia Keys, one of my favorites as well – she has recently talked a lot with the media about how she is revisiting the idea of wearing makeup, and exploring how wearing her hair and skin in their natural state is a form of empowerment and resistance. This song has a great message and is just another beautiful ballad by one of the best:

If you haven’t listened to anything by Kendrick Lamar or Beyonce’s Lemonade, get on that, too.

If you’re looking for ways outside of music to challenge injustice, I recommend checking in to the Standing Rock Reservation on Facebook – a small thing you can do to stand with the protectors from afar. If you do, follow these instructions:

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What are your favorite acts of protest lately?

 

 

 

Trust Issues

 

I watched Hillary’s speech last night. I’ve been watching parts of the DNC to see my favorite speakers speak, and to also witness the historic milestone that’s happening for women in this country. You can think it’s not a big deal, but it is.

 

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Image via Mashable

I almost forgot, while texting my friends during the speech, how important it was. I was sending out snarky comments and jokes about Morgan Freeman and the “fight song” and stuff. Then my friend goes, “Stop being so cynical – we’ve been waiting for this shit since we were little – a fucking woman president.”

It felt like when your mom calls you out, basically saying “stop being an asshole” – and you realize that you were being an asshole and feel ashamed and you’re like, “Sorrrrryyyy mooooommmmmmmm….”

Anyway, I snapped back into the moment. But what I realized later is that maybe I am more cynical then some of my peers when it comes to poltics. Today I was talking to a friend about Hillary, and she said “this is why I love and hate her.” And my feed is full of Bernie uber-fans that are mourning their loss right now – there is just a lot of emotion in the democratic party currently.

It made me think about how I’ve never had strong emotions for politicians like that (at least not for Democrats. I obviously have strong feelings of dislike and disgust for some Republican politicians – can you blame me, when they are trying to tell me who I should be and what to do with my body and sexuality all the time? And trying to make people in my country feel like second-class citizens?).

With Obama, I was smitten. But I was mostly emotional about the historical significance – once I got to grad school, I became more cynical and came to believe that all politicians, or people in large social institutions, are never perfect (what human is) and that they are a product of the larger machine. I stopped seeing them as people to get attached to, and more as facilitators of change, good or bad – I removed the emotions from it.

This wasn’t a hard thing for me – I have this thing with trusting adults, in general. It’s hard for me to do.

….I just realized I said “adults” which is hilarious, since I suppose I count as an adult at 27 years old. Ha.

What I mean is: people my parents’ age, and particularly those in a role of authority. So Anthony’s parents, my friends’ parents, all good – professors, bosses, boss’s bosses – I keep my distance. I just don’t trust them – I expect them to let me down. And a lot of them do. Because they’re human.

Don’t get me wrong – I get very emotional about politics in general. I’ve been known to take things to a weird place when we’re talking politics in a bar and talk unreasonably loud and look like I might cry at any second. I’ve cried in restaurant bathrooms about the fact that rape is a thing. I’ve cried in cars about how hard it must be for transgendered people. I’ve almost cried in class from being overwhelmed by my white guilt. I’m not trying to be like, “look how empathetic I am” – I’m just saying I’m not this stoic person when it comes to the news.

Bernie was saying everything that I dreamed a politician would say some day – and I never thought it would happen. He really surprised me and gave me hope – that a democratic socialist agenda could be widely embraced. It was almost too good to be true. I didn’t think he would make it to the nominee, so honestly I unhooked from it all. I voted for him in the primary, because if anything, I wanted the party to move more left. And I think that happened. It was amazing, watching his whole movement. But I never like, fell in love with the guy. Out of all the politicians, he would be the one I would get emotional over – but I just didn’t.

With Hillary, I don’t love her or hate her. I am for SURE going to cry my eyes out if she wins, seeing that insanely amazing historical event take place. But it’s not about her. As a person. She’s fine – I respect her. What I hear from some of my friends is “but I just don’t trust her!” And I think – “Of course I don’t trust her. Why is that even relevant?”

Does that make me weird?

I guess we should define trust… Like I expect her to do things I won’t agree with. Do I think she’ll tank the country? Of course not. I think it will be MUCH like the last 8 years. More of the same. Not ideal, but not bad. Just what I have come to expect, at a federal government level. I have hope for change in people’s minds and hearts and through socialization and person-to-person contact – those things then get fought for all the way up to the top – by people at the bottom.

I don’t know – I just beleive that there is no point in putting our trust in a politician – trust as in, “I know they won’t let me down, and if they did, I would be crushed and surprised”. I can find politicians that I will agree with most of the time – but if it turns out that they are secretly fucked up in some way, I’m not surprised. I feel this way about Cory Booker, Liz Warren, Joe Biden, etc. There is just no way I know their entire track record, or that something in the future won’t come up that I will disagree with them on. These are people I don’t know – why would I trust them to always make decisions that I agree with?

I feel the same way about people working in the legal system, people in other government roles, spiritual leaders – people in large social institutions. I won’t put all my chips behind an insititution, or someone representing an institution’s interest – because inevitably I feel that they will do something I don’t agree with. Institutions are slow to change. They aren’t on the cusp of new ideas and aren’t the first to embrace social justice movements – they move slowly, and try to uphold the status quo. That’s their whole thing.

One of my friends says that subscribing to a label – feminist, democrat, republican – clouds your judgement. It makes you follow that group blindly and not research the facts independently. I definitely post things on social media without an independent investigation on my part from sources that seem to me to be promoting the right ideas. Ideas I agree with. That is also not ideal. But I think it is important to embrace labels and movements like Feminist and Black Lives Matter, to promote change that needs to happen. That doesn’t mean I agree with every democrat or feminist, just because I apply those labels to myself. But I get what he’s saying. I don’t think that groups in this arena can be trusted blindly to never go astray from what I believe in.

You know who I do trust? My sister. Anthony. Friends who were there through my grad school idealist phase of realizing how fucked up the world is and who agreed and let me rant for hours and listened. I trust that whatever they are saying to people regarding politics, that they will say what I would say. And that’s an amazing thing. I know that if Anthony is in a room where someone says something racist, or homophobic, or sexist, that he will speak up (he is much braver than me when it comes to these confrontations) and that he will say what I would. I can’t believe it sometimes – it’s amazing.

 

I wish I felt that way about politicians.

 

 

What do you think? Do you think people like me are too cynical about politics, or maybe not cynical enough? Do you trust certain politicians? How do you define trust when it comes to politics?

 

 

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