Wednesday, May 9, 2018

For What It's Worth

I was born into chaos. Try as I might to rid myself of the ever present restlessness that is the result of being birthed into a world of protesting, violence, unrest, war, and resistance, it simmers…and occasionally boils, within me. It’s very possible that I arrived on this planet with my fist in the air, wailing and protesting from my very first moments. The status quo has never been acceptable or comfortable.  When things become too safe, too solid, too seemingly settled, I become uneasy. 

1968 was not only the year I was born, it was a pivotal time in American history. Women’s rights, civil rights, Vietnam, the race to the Moon…the world was spinning fast, and everyone was trying to hang on. The images from that time helped form me. I remember clearly my mother and grandmother talking on the telephone about Nixon and Watergate. The news contained images of protests, of rocket ships, and of war. It was both terrifying and exciting. I had no real understanding of what was going on, or the impact such things would have upon my future, but I was moved by what I saw and heard, and I felt what was happening. I grew up wanting to change the world, wanting to advocate for the underdog, and willing to challenge authority.

Almost fifty years after that first, infantile, screaming, protest against being unceremoniously delivered into the hands of the crazy people I would soon call, “mom and dad”, the world seems no less chaotic. In fact, there are days I feel as if I’m holding my breath waiting for…something. Some undefined, unnamed, terrible and final something. Choosing what to protest is a daunting task. Women’s reproductive rights remain under attack, while those same women go to work every day and earn less than their male counterparts. Civil rights are still being debated while young black men die in the streets at the hands of those who are tasked with protecting them. Heterosexuals marry and divorce, while homosexuals are denied the rights to do the same. The War That Never Should Have Been rages on in the Middle East, while fatigued soldiers come home to America…land of the free, and home of the brave, only to find they cannot get proper medical care, support their families, or find a way to move past the horrors of war. Young people who have only known America as their home, and who go to school, go to work, pay taxes and contribute to the country they love, live gripped in fear that they may have to leave their homes and be separated from their families. Muslims walk in their communities only to hear ethnic slurs and live with the words “Muslim ban” ringing in their ears because the president of the United States has determined they and their families are dangerous, and thus unwelcome. Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized, adding insult to such deep, horrific, inhumane, injury. And, the ragged beat goes on, and on, and on.

Our politicians bow to the Almighty Dollar, and not to those they were elected to represent. Our Constitution takes a daily beating and seems to be weakening under the constant attacks. The Electoral College that was meant to prevent the election of a populist candidate, an unqualified candidate, or a tyrant, failed the nation and we have all three rolled into one bloated, orange, uninformed, lying, man-child.  Our government will not save us. We’ve neglected it for too long. Ignorantly, we have assumed it would work the way it’s supposed to work, and we’ve sat back and let it become dysfunctional, unchecked, and unaccountable. Chaos. I was born into it and it resonates deep within me. It moves me to say something, and to do something. Right now, it feels like I’m screaming into the wind, but nonetheless, I will scream until I’m hoarse. The peace signs that dangle from the rear view mirror of my hybrid hippie car will continue to jingle as I drive, and the silver peace sign on my bumper will shine when the sun hits it, and cause a few people who get hit by the glare to mumble, “damn hippie,” under their breath.  The Human Rights Campaign sticker next to the peace sign will piss a few people off, but it also makes a few people shoot me a peace sign while driving next to me. And, the Wonder Woman sticker is merely a reminder that femininity doesn’t mean weakness, it exemplifies strength, and that I am capable of not only living through chaos, but of thriving in spite of it.

1 comment:

The Bug said...

Amen sister - the world feels insane. I'm not going to lie - sometimes I think it's just not worth all the trouble. But I don't have kids.