HELLOGIGGLES POLITICAL #1: In dreams begin responsibilities – let’s get out there and get political!
Hi, friends! It’s been awhile. I’m sorry for my lengthy silence. I’ve been busy making a political album with The Citizens Band, making some films, designing some jewelry, being a mom and generally enjoying life. More on the album in my next piece. I’m now writing what looks like will be a series leading up to the election, because I’m concerned. I’m worried. Remember just 4 years ago? The air was electric. We were empowered. Hope signs were everywhere. will.i.am was singing anthems of inspiration. The community and togetherness was palpable. We knocked on doors, made phone calls, donated money, went to swing states in a frenzy of focus, direction and anticipation. Where is that energy now? I’m worried, ladies. Our inaction could give rise to the most conservative, anti-women regime this country has seen.
I’m writing something similar for Rookie Mag, although the thesis is different in that many of the young readers over there can’t vote. Are voiceless. I am connecting these two pieces because what I’ve seen in the last few years fills my heart with joy and optimism. I’m talking about the coming togetherness of women across the country and across the world. I’m talking about you guys reading this now, online communities like HelloGiggles and Rookie Mag. I’m talking about awesome, empowering female driven TV shows and films, incredible women writers, women politicians, news hours devoted to women’s issues… the list goes on. When my daughter was born just five years ago, I worried for her future I worried that no one would own the title of a feminists, that the riot girl paradigm of my youth was gone. I worried that my daughter would have no aspirational girl role models. Boy (or girl!), has that changed!
But in reclaiming our feminism, our community and our voice comes responsibility. One of my favorite titles is “In Dreams Begin Responsibility” (from a short story by Delmore Schwartz). I love this because it is truer than true. It’s a bittersweet truth in that it puts on us the burden of hard work and rising to the occasion. This election is our burden right now ladies. It’s easy to be disappointed and apathetic, it’s easy to say both sides are the same or that the fighting has gotten so ugly and the money so big that our voices just don’t matter. But here it is: there is a BIG difference between the two parties and one of those BIG differences is how women are treated. Our rights are under attack. There is a genuine, honest to goodness war on women being waged right under out noses and the responsibility is on us to push back.
So what are our dreams? We dreamt of a new kind of leadership, a groundbreaking presidency that inspired a nation. We dreamt of a new feminism, a resurgence of a women’s community built on friendship, respect, humor and truth. We dreamt of health care for all. We dreamt of more women in public office. We dreamt of people taking to the streets to make their voices heard. We dreamt of fighting back when our voices and rights were threatened. We’ve dreamt of these things and more. We dreamt these things and they’ve begun to occur. Not what? Do we sit on our hands because things haven’t gone exactly the way we dreamed them? Have we no onus? Responsibility? Are we not holding the bag to our own future?
I’ve been dumbfounded and awed by many of the stories coming out of the news lately. From Todd Akin and “legitimate rape” to the Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh debacle to mandatory trans vaginal probes, the list goes on. One recent story (that took place an entirely different country) made me think of something. The Pussy Riot protest and their two-year sentence got me thinking. This story is shocking on so many levels, but I think for many women, it was shocking because these three young women were punished for simple things that we take for granted here in the US. The right to free speech, the right to speak against the government, the right to simply be in a feminist punk rock band at all. But the same thing is happening here at home. Things we (rightly) take for granted such as the right to contraception, the right to free mammograms and cancer scans, the right to an abortion, the right to equal pay, these issues and so many more, are suddenly up for debate again. These safeguards to our health and well being that have been firmly in place for so many years are suddenly up for grabs. What we take for granted as OURS is, once again on the chopping block. This is all shocking because it’s impossible to believe that we are even having this conversation again.
Even if you believe that politics have become a divisive, blurred, money machine of a shitshow, it does affect us. It affects our access to health care, our finances, our right to equal pay, our dreams, our children, our goals and our jobs. These things alone are enough. If you are fed up, disillusioned, hopeless then you must reach more, vote, protest, rise up, make your voice heard, organize, but don’t quite or sit mute. Please don’t. Don’t throw your hands up in the air. I know it can feel all feel distant and like it doesn’t touch you but having our lives personally touched shouldn’t be the great mobilizer. We can’t wait until it touches us or someone we love negatively. There is too much at stake.
To borrow from an old feminist gem “the personal is the political”, this shit has gotten personal ladies. Let’s go out there and get political! Get ready for a lot more on this from me.
Love to you all!