In trying to make sense like so many of you today, I looked into this moment for an opportunity–and I found one. Sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia are no longer the monster under the bed or hidden beneath napkins and polite conversation at dinner. These insidious beasts that have stalked our nation are now out in the open. This past year’s contentious election has shown us all who wants to stand with us, and who doesn’t. Maybe this isn’t a moment we can’t imagine. Tonight I saw mass protests of women and men and trans people and whites and blacks and Latino and disabled people and people that love all those people unified together with clear and common purpose. Maybe this is the moment we find our common purpose and rise to meet it.
This moment is not about Donald Trump or 2016 or the Republican Party. No, this moment is a long time coming, the moment when the immovable object of white supremacy comes face to face with the unstoppable force of the demographic shifts that will make American a minority-majority country. This moment isn’t the first battle but could very well the last stand of white supremacy against the truth of the multicultural coutry we already are.
Is: the present tense. Not was, the word of the past. Not will be, a magical future that is always the day after tomorrow and never the now. Is. Present . Right now. If you weren’t an ally before, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve been fighting and you’re tired and you want to give up, that was before. If you think it will be better in two four or eight years, so what? This is now. Focus on the present.
Why is more important that what or how. What justice looks like and how it arrives requires a multitude of views, a flock of answers, a riot of solutions, more ways up the mountain. But the why is steadfast, unchanged and still the goal even extending into the future. To form a more perfect union. That was why in the past and will be why in the future but most importantly is the why now. In a world that makes you feel like you are drowning this why is your life raft.
We feel new feelings. We have never in our lives felt more threatened, or been more ready to fight. We have spent these last years mobilizing activating, networking an connecting. You were the left hand. You were the right foot. Parts of the giant of the electorate have shaken themselves from slumber. We were woke separately by issues specific to important aspects of our identity. We are awake together now. We have been building the will and skill to organize, maybe in preparation for this very moment.
Fight: that is what comes next. Fight is what ancestors who lived and died in slavery did even with no end in sight. Fight is what women did who secured the vote and the right to choice. Fight is what we did when police shot our brothers and sisters in the streets. Fight is what they are doing tonight at Standing Rock.We don’t play, guess, plead or wish. We fight. We fight hard and clean and often and together and separate in big and small ways. We raise our fists and our signs and our voices and our children to fight.
When you want to know how this could be, when you cry tears to make room in you to keep going, when you ask what we should tell the children I offer you my unconditional love, and a mantra. This is why we fight.
image credit: Samuel Mitchell, from the Boston Trump protest march 11.9.16