Last week I was doing that let’s-see-what-happens thing combined with reading more from people of color on how white people can be better allies. I’ve also been checking in at Breitbart and Fox News. Getting all your news from one side seems like making up your echo chamber bed with flannel sheets and a down comforter—you know you’ll never get out of there.
Long-story short: I’m trying to listen. It’s something I can get better at all around.
It’s overwhelming, listening. I often feel challenged about who I am and how I respond to things. It’s exhausting unpacking the privilege, the whiteness, and the womanhood that I bring to every situation. I’m not wishing I weren’t these things, I’m just saying that it’s a lot to examine yourself constantly. And I understand why we hide behind the ease of absolutes. Things get messy when everything is grey and nothing is black-and-white.
Then I read last week in Sojourners, a progressive Christian movement I follow, that Jerry Falwell, Jr. had been offered the position of secretary of education, but passed, and will now advise on education policy instead. The position now belongs to Betsey DeVos (pending confirmation). Jerry Falwell, Jr. runs Liberty University, which is a conservative Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. I went to college in Lynchburg, at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.
My senior year of college there was a movement in Lynchburg by Jerry Falwell’s think-tank to try to get a high-school advanced placement biology textbook banned because it contained a sketch of the female genitalia. Having such an anatomically correct female sketch was the equivalent of “giving a high-school boy a loaded gun.”
I was waiting for that moment when I would be left with no excuses.
I’ve been calling and emailing and signing things for weeks, but somewhere I was hoping that I could listen myself into hands-off economic policies and job creation that didn’t aim to destroy everything I believe in for education, social well-being, sex, and race. Privileged white ladies and progressive Christians—my people: It’s not happening. Someone who believes that high-school boys can’t handle anatomy sketches was offered the chance to run our country’s schools. Fill-in-the-blank-crazy-statement about other cabinet members. It’s time to not be half-assed about my resistance.
The demon on my left shoulder is saying, “Ugh. There’s a lot of family- and work-related sh*t to get done, and remember how you already send emails and sign petitions? It’s enough.”
The angel on my right is rolling her eyes, “The reason gun control never passes is because NRA members show up to everything, and progressives don’t. Lull yourself into more electronic signatures, but you already know your issue, so get to work.”
It’s time to get going.
I’ll keep signing and calling, but my issue is reproductive justice. I’m saying it here so you can keep me accountable.
Single-issue voters who decided Trump was the right choice because of the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade make my heart and mind race to the point that my body hums with anxiety and won’t let me sleep. As a Christian, I’m angry about the millions of hours that are spent legislating for abortion-restriction laws, and against social programs. I’ve been told to love God above all and love my neighbor as myself, and that combination of for/against doesn’t jive with me.
It’s time to put some action where my heart is. I hope you’ll follow my journey and that I can follow yours. What is your issue? Feel free to write two words or share an action link.