Day 8

… I don’t know about y’all, but I kinda feel like shit.

Like, just, incredibly worn out.

It’s the never-ending stress hormones coursing through my body, I expect.

I feel a raging need to be informed. To learn. To know.

I am compelled, not by outside forces but by the fact that I want to be able to meet my own gaze in a mirror, to take some sort of actions. To write, and call, and donate. To organize. To show up.

I know the task is marathon. Years of work ahead. *Years* of work.

So.

Right.

Have some dogs.

Pups!

And here is a cafe sign from when I was in Ireland last year.

wpid-wp-1402847985078.jpeg

And, um, have a manatee.

manatee22

I Still Believe in You.

Oh, and how about a baby tapir?

IMG_20130912_102810_584

Alright.

:solidarity fistbump:

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Another day, another act of resistance

Yesterday I:

1. Called Franken, Klobuchar, McCollum, Houseman, and Marty. I could not get through to Franken (when I called all lines rolled directly to voicemail and all the voicemail boxes were full.) I left a message for Marty. I spoke to real humans at the Minnesota offices for Klobuchar, Houseman, and McCollum.

I said:

“Hello. My name is Sigrid Ellis. I am a constituent of ________. I live in St. Paul. I am calling today to express how much I am looking forward to the forthcoming public denunciation of Steve Bannon by ________ which I am sure they are going to give any minute now. Bannon is a self-proclaimed anti-Semitic white supremacist, and needs to be called such. We cannot hide behind euphamism. I know that _______ shares this view, and I look forward to their clear public statement.”

At which point the staffers for Koobuchar and Houseman said, uhhhhh, okay, we’ll pass that along.

The staffer for Betty McCollum said, nearly yelping with urgency, she just did that on the House floor you can see it on YouTube it’s also on her Facebook page she did that about thirty minutes ago!!!!!! and you could just HEAR how happy he was that he could say something positive to me about the issue.

2. Put the phone numbers for the MN offices of all those people in my phone.

3. Wrote to the Star-Tribune, the Pioneer Press, the City Pages, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC, strongly urging them to call the Trump White House proposed staffers what they are — not conservatives, but racists.

4. Had dinner with friends. We reminisced about activism in our pasts. It was a good thing.

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There is a middle road between complacency and despair

Hey.

Hey, you.

I want to tell you something.

It might not be okay. We, I mean, the United States, the planet, humanity — we might not be okay.

The not-okayness of it all looms out there, hangs in the air like the ice storm that’s been forecast all day and now you are driving home praying to reach safety before it hits.

This is, in fact, how fascism begins.

We know this. History tells us this. We have the documentation. We have the evidence, the records, the fascists speaking in their own words. We know the lies they told and the comforts they offered to tranquilize nations into accepting fascism. We’ve seen this before.

We need to be frightened now.

We cannot normalize this. We cannot allow anti-Semitic white supremacist wife-beaters like Steve Bannon to just be accepted into the White House. We cannot stay quiet while Trump vows to approve the Keystone Pipeline which he directly profits from. We cannot allow Paul Ryan to blithely uninsure and thus injure or cause to be killed millions of people on Medicare or covered by the ACA.

This is not normal. We cannot accept it as normal. We must challenge. We must fight.

But we also cannot despair.

We also know, from history, how many times we have turned away from outright barbarism. We know who has kept the lights on. We have the records, the words of those who stood and fought and refused to back down in the face of hatred and bigotry. We celebrate those people. We count them as heroes.

Most of them never call themselves heroes. You know why? Because they know the truth.

All those heroes, they were just normal folks like you and me before the darkness descended. But when the dark came down, they held onto light.

This is, indeed, what the rise of fascism has looked like in the past. You are right to be afraid. But what is called for is not despair, it’s *rage*. It’s determination. It’s organizing, community-building. It’s standing up for one another. What is called for is a stand against the worst impulses of our human nature.

In the Avengers movie, Loki says “in the end, you will always kneel.”

And the nameless European man rises to his feet and says, “Not to men like you.”

“There are no men like me,” Loki replies.

“There are always men like you,” the man replies.

Here’s the clip on YouTube.

In the “My Shot” number from Hamilton we have

Rise up
When you’re living on your knees you
Rise up
Tell your brother that he’s gotta
Rise up
Tell your sister that she’s gotta
Rise up

Yeah. That. Don’t despair. There are always men like Pence, Ryan, Bannon, Trump.

But there are always people like you and me.

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Today is a bit better

Yesterday at work two of my white, straight, male coworkers — one who voted for Clinton, one who voted for Trump — both sat down and listened to my anger and fears and said they were sorry and that it wasn’t right.

Small steps.

Yesterday the BBC was reporting that Trump is now reconsidering whether he will repeal the ACA.

Small steps.

Yesterday I found out where and when the St. Paul City Council meets, and what the agenda for the next meeting is. Wednesday, 11/16, 5:30 pm will be open hearings on, among other things, police body cams. If you are local, I urge you to attend.

Yesterday my daughter totally rocked a talent show. She did a short contortion routine, and looked great, and I love her and I’m really proud of her.

https://t.co/syUidSwjzJ

That’s the video, if you like. (The talent show was with the local homeschool co-op, which holds events and classes at a nearby church, hence the enormous cross in the middle of the video.)

Yesterday my book on prehistoric textiles arrived.

Little things, small steps.

Yesterday, my coworkers were all so *normal*. I was so incredibly furious with them all, that their lives are so unaffected by all this. That they can the vast and overwhelming privilege to not care about the election.

But I, too, will find some new normal, eventually. It will include knitting, and talent shows, and doing the dishes. It will also include city council meetings, and speaking up in person against bigotry, and cutting back on my discretionary spending so I can give more to activist organizations.

Small steps. Little things.

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To my coworkers

I have to go back to work today.

Here is what is stuck in my head.

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I know a lot of you voted for Trump.

You voted to deport my daughter, annul my marriage, and electrocute me until I am straight.

I don’t know which of you voted to do that because you just don’t give a shit, and which of you really mean it.

I am scared of all of you.

And being scared makes me *furiously* angry.

Don’t say you didn’t vote for those things.

You did.

When you voted for Trump/Pence, you voted for those things.

You have to live with that.

I certainly have to.

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If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution

A friend of mine asked me how we did it, being out when it wasn’t as safe to be out.

I thought back, and started listing all the things my then-partner and I did. How did we do it? How were we out, without any legal protections?

What did we *do*?

Hold hands in public
Buy sheets together
Sing
Hold shabbat dinner and invite friends
Get a lawyer and ensure our estates were in order and protected
Establish medical power of attorney
Write
Donate money
Perform
Leaflet
Protest
Wear queer activism pins and clothing
Send pizza to protesters
Donate clothes and food
Find and import queer movies from other countries
Vote
Attend local caucuses
Organize
Hold Babylon 5 and Buffy watching parties
Put Rainbow Flag stickers on our cars
Volunteer
Put holiday lights in the windows year-round to be a light in dark times
Memorize poetry
Read revolutionary texts
Go dancing. Park a block away and walk to the gay bar. Get to the door and look over our shoulders. Go in.

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An acquaintance of mine, someone I knew vaguely on the internet, the friend of friends, killed herself Wednesday. She ran a poetry website. She left instructions for people to take care of the website and take care of her cats.

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Writers. Poets. Dancers. Singers.

We need you.

The resistance needs you.

The revolution needs to dance.

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Yesterday, I

established recurring donations to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the National Immigration Law Center, the Minneapolis Neighborhood Organizing Coalition, and YouthLink MN.

I checked that my recurring donations to Planned Parenthood, Feminist Frequency, the Organization for Transformative Works, Scarlateen, and RAINN were all still in place.

I checked my Patreon page and made sure I was giving what I can to the artists whose work bring me joy.

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I am employed, I own my home, I am financially secure.

I suspect my part in this fight is going to be giving small, steady donations of money to organizations on the front lines.

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I am white.

My other part in this is going to be to continuously make it clear to other white people that racism, fascism, and other forms of hate are not acceptable.

I am reasonably safe, reasonably privileged. I can use that to protect and defend those with less power than I have.

I can Tank for the party, take the hits while others get away.

If you, reading this, if you can Tank? I urge you to do so.

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Half of America voted for Trump.

But the other half?

We did not.

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