Saturday, January 28, 2017

How far backward to "greatness"?

It's been 8 days since NMPOTUS (Not MY President of the US) took office and he's already banned refugees and LEGAL resident aliens from 7 countries who are predominantly Muslim.  He's written executive orders to push the DAPL and Keystone XL pipelines into construction, and there is evidence that he has shares and will directly profit from these orders.  Betsy DeVos's hearing about her nomination for Secretary of Education is on Tuesday the 31st, after she's decimated Detroit Public Schools with her voucher "school of choice" approach to charter, private and parochial schools.   We all know that school of choice equals legalized segregation of schools.   He's pulled out of TPP, put gag orders on National Parks, the EPA and FDA, tried to defund NGOs who even mention abortion abroad and Planned Parenthood at home, as well as announced his plans to begin construction on "the wall" between the US and Mexico.

I have to ask, have we teleported back to the 1930s?  How far back do we have to reach to remind ourselves that America was never great?  We have almost always been on the wrong side of history, unless we ourselves are writing the historic account.  We are victors because we are tyrants, like every imperialistic empire.  We learn too late and decimate human beings and ways of life different from our white, Christian, capitalist, patriarchial societal norms.  Many of my friends are protesting the most recent stripping of human rights at JFK airport right now, as Border Patrol illegally detains refugees who have gone through the vetting and proper channels to be here in the U.S. today.

Today, it may be refugees and nationals from 7 countries in the middle East and Eastern Africa, but next month it could be Western Africa.  We could go visit our family in Senegal and my husband, despite having his green card, could be told that he cannot enter the U.S. again.  This can't happen to "anyone", because there is a specific, racialized "immigrant" who is brown, who is Muslim, who is female or not gender conforming, who is queer, who is educated.  This is what fascism feels like.  Being all of those identities at once magnifies one's experience of why America isn't great at all, but a place of perceived freedom.

My greatest fear is being paralyzed in the face of danger, of making a wrong choice that puts people I love in danger.  I was so upset about not getting to go to the Womens' March last week, but I struggle with bringing my kids into protest situations, which may not always be safe, depending on police response.  So, while people are headed to JFK to protest, I am doing the everyday things with greater intention.  Self-care is revolutionary, too.  I cook food for my family, give Sali a steam bath to help clear her sinuses.  I also realize that in raising these defiant, fierce spirits, we are also teaching the next generation of fighters against injustice.

I have to raise my children to fight.  They must lead themselves to safety, possibly in a literal sense.  We may need to go off the grid sooner than we thought, because we're on track to end human civilization in my lifetime.

Greed over human life will be what ends us.  From cures to cancer to organized extermination through the drug war, fast food and factory farming, mass incarceration, guns in the hoods, gang violence.  If we kill each other, they win.  We buy their products, worship them for being rich.  We stay poor, they build their wealth off of us and live in fear of our power if we were ever to unite.

Our speak UP last week was wonderful and inspiring, but one week later, I am already weary.  I have withdrawn on weekends to heal, and to rest for the long fight we have ahead of us.  See you in the streets, and on the playgrounds.

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