Writing this Publisher’s Note is a task I have had in the back of my mind for weeks. It been kinda stewing around amorphous amid all the content from NPR, Democracy Now!, the multitude of internet news links from friends, and sites like Commondreams.org, the Gainesville Sun, The New Yorker, and many conversations and life experiences.
So two nights ago I wrote one, kinda dark and negative, what with Supreme Court decisions against unions and abortion rights, the Justice Kennedy resignation, children being isolated from their parents and used as bargaining chips as well as the other horrors oozing out of the Trump administration, Carl Hiassen’s brother and other newspaper staffers killed by yet another misogynistic maladjusted alt-right guy with a gun, yet another young black man killed by a trigger happy cop, continuing wars in remote places and then the announcement of “The Space Force,” a new arms race in the sky.
Yikes, I think many of us were pretty down.
That Publisher’s Note asked what it felt like to be a sensible person in the time of slavery, or the rise of the Nazis, or of the slaughter of Native Americans. My thought was that it felt like right then – kinda helpless if thought about – but mostly just carrying on with life.
That Publisher’s Note went in the cyber trash can last night. Yesterday I went to the Families Belong Together March and Rally in Gainesville, one of many hundreds of similar events across the country. It was stunning. As the mass of people filtered out from the City Hall Plaza, crossed University Avenue and walked South to the Depot Park Bandshell, it stretched the entire length of South Main, and I don’t mean single file; it was a mass of folks. Motivated, positive and righteously opposed to the tearing apart of families.
Following some music as the crowd arrived, there were speakers talking about the active resistance that is happening, lawyers involved in helping immigrants and the increasing hurdles people face. Madres Sin Fronteras told about their direct work with immigrants in crisis. We heard from a local sanctuary church, Westminster Presbyterian. A pediatrician talked about the effects of trauma on children.Voter registration was being encouraged, various organizations were tabling. A statement by Mayor Lauren Poe was read by Commissioners Harvey Ward, Gail Johnson and Helen Warren (and printed on page 21). The event itself was organized by Indivisible Gainesville, which burst into being after the election of Trump and now boasts over 2,300 members.
What I saw yesterday tells me that the Resistance is still out there, all over the country. That rally did not occur because of newspapers or radio publicity – it was people using the new media opportunities to become informed, involved.
Being better informed may mean altering our news intake, seeking out better sources and prioritizing them. Organizing and educating and building solidarity among our fellow citizens is happening. Joining organizations is happening, working together and supporting leadership and experience while mentoring new people to the movement and hearing and respecting their perspectives.
Cheers to the youth from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas. Cheers to the teachers nationwide organizing for decent pay and working conditions. Cheers to the pipeline protesters and and prison abolitionists. Cheers to the anti-racist organizers and Women’s Liberationists. Cheers to the fighters and allies of the LGBTQ movement. Cheers to the movement for higher wages and universal healthcare.
Hell yes we vote, but we can also support and work for candidates to multiply our electoral impact.
And damn it, don’t let the bastards grind you down down like I was feeling a few days ago. Take care of yourself and those around you; we sensible and compassionate people all need each other for the long haul. D