A funny thing happened on the way to spring 2017. An entire nation’s share of civic-minded, social justice-leaning, democracy-loving liberals lost their way. Or so it feels. How otherwise to explain so many people heretofore strong of will and sure of voice spending the last three months fearfully questioning themselves, their nation, their ability to perceive truth, itself?
Objectively, we’re living through a 21st-century version of Watergate, watching our entire political and social system stress and creak at the seams. Many of us weren’t alive the last time this happened and many others don’t remember so well. But we’ve been here before–and it wasn’t pretty last time, either.
I can tell you that your fear, and sadness, and doubt is exactly what the current administration wants in order to keep you frozen-in-place and without the will to stand up for what is right and just–or even for some of you, to take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But you already know that. Like me, you probably bounce between momnts of fearlessness and momements of outright pause, wondering what happened to the world you thought you knew.
Here’s the thing: it’s still there. Hidden behind the intentionally truth-warping propaganda from the administration, and the gratuitously strength-sapping depressing posts that have taken over social media, the friends and neighbors with whom you share this nation are still out there, defending that world. Not just in the streets (although if you haven’t bookmarked Michael Moore’s remarkably useful Resistance Calendar, you should.) But also in churches and synagogues and mosques, city councils and neighborhood nonprofits and arts organizations, all across the country.
The problem is, simply, not enough of us are sharing those stories–to remind ourselves of who we really are, how much we really care about each other, and the real world of compassion that we continue to live in. So I challenge you reading this, if you want to feel the ground under your feet again, take this one, small step. Wherever you are, seek out a local story of truth, justice, and compassion that stands in support of the world you love and in resistance to the administration’s hate. Take that story and share it in your social media. That’s it. And then do it again and again, everytime you fear the ground is slipping away. This one, small thing will not only remind you of the love that binds us as human beings on this planet and as fellow citizens of this country. It will also remind others. And if there’s one thing we need right now, it’s each other.
Today, I launch my own small step–my Compassionate Resistance series. Beginning today, I will seek out and post regular roundups of local stories of us as people continuing to stand up for each other. Just a list of links to modest stories that evidence the real moral fabric of our nation isn’t so tattered at all. As I see where this goes, I ask a few more things of you:
- I invite you share my links with others.
- I invite you to share links with me to post in this series.
- I invite you to share your own story of compassionate resistance to post in this series.
My series is inspired by two of the bravest, strongest compassionate resistors that I know:
- Erika Davis, who leads the fight on her nationally prominent blog, Black Gay and Jewish; and
- Sarah Massey, of the Washington DC-based social justice strategy shop, Massey Media, and organizer of Powerful Resistance, a new grassroots project to counter the injustice of the current administration by promoting positive stories of justice and compassion–and for which I serve as Midwest Editor.
Compassion is strength. It is one of the strongest powers on earth. The current administration wants you to forget that. I want you to embrace that. I want you to use that.
I want you to remember that compassion is what you are.
This post is part of my “Compassionate Resistance” series, a regular roundup of stories of local resistance from across America. This series was inspired by and is part of Powerful Resistance, a grassroots project to counter the injustice of the current administration by promoting positive stories of justice and compassion.
- Browse my Compassionate Resistance series archive.
- Follow my Compassionate Resistance Twitter feed at @Comp2Resist.
- Learn more about the Powerful Resistance project on Facebook.