(N.K. Jemisin's dedication from Obelisk Gate)
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
I'm writing this, or at least beginning to write it, on Friday, while the world prepares for Trump's inauguration and the first days of his presidency. A great many of us have been very sad to see the Obamas leaving the White House, and I count myself among them. They were an inspiration to so many people, in who they were and what they did and how they related to each other and the people around them.
Everyone I know has been watching or otherwise following the inauguration events, but I've left it out of my zone for the day. As far as I'm concerned, the relevant stuff will still be true tomorrow, and the spectacle of ceremony is only going to make me feel frustrated and hopeless. That's just not what I need.
Earlier, I was around the house (as I usually am) and our big(ger) dog, Molly, came up to me with a toy in her mouth. I could tell she wanted to play, but she wasn't sure I did, so her tail wagging was tentative as she put the toy into my lap. When I responded with enthusiasm, her excitement for the activity went through the roof, and we played for a few minutes that I would otherwise have spent writing or cleaning or futzing around on the internet. Afterward, we both felt better.
In his last interview with Pod Save America, Obama talked a bit about why he's worked hard to ensure a smooth transition for Trump, even though he knows a lot of people have viewed this with disdain. He has also stood his ground in saying we'll be ok, despite knowing many of the people who believe in him and his message are very fearful.
There is, I believe, courage and rebellion and revolutionary thought in refusing to be afraid out loud, and in refusing to let your fear feed into the fears of those around you. Fear can be paralyzing, and it is often contagious. A lot of activists and thoughtful people have been putting together lists of things to worry about, things that demand action, and things they are afraid of--and that information is critically important. At the same time, however, that fear and worry can quickly become a self-escalating echo chamber that leaves people feeling defeated.
It's good to know what to watch for. It's good to know how to help if you see someone being harassed, good to make the calls and send the letters. It's important to be informed and to do the work. It's not, however, important to steep yourself in the fear and anxiety of the situation. Rebellions are built on hope, though there will always be people who think you naive for believing it, because there are people who see hope as a passive, as waiting for someone else to do the work. Personally, though, I see hope as active, and I see it as living both your rebellion and your rest with a stubborn, fierce knowledge that things can get better, and that every bit of work counts.
A newsletter on life, current events, media & culture, and living in wonder amidst it all.