This would have been ideal writing time: an early rise, kids still asleep. 750 words about what is happening now, a way to discover what is holding me back and what is driving me forward. That was the ritual before national catastrophe and disgrace reset the priorities and made public this practice of discovery, of dragging my driving premises and assumptions out into the light. Because as much as I want to be a helper, I am also part of the problem and that is what this is about: dismantling my own selfish and clinging armature, cleaning up my own backyard. Sacrificing the idea that I know what is best and simply offering, transparently, what I think I know, full of holes. It feels like a good way to oppose a narcissist.
Bringing honesty to bear on my own practices, my own mindlessness, colors the roar to which we are all contributing. It's less being right and righteous and more being responsible and diligent, looking at how I am implicated in a structure that is destroying people and will destroy more people. This is not hyperbolic. People will die because of what we've allowed to happen.
Now it's written down and will still be here in the new normal, when it is harder to stay awake because all of the space in which resistance could happen is full. "Things are SO CRAZY right now," we say because we're busy. It has the merit of accuracy, but not for the reasons we think. Yes, we allow ourselves to be completely saturated and overrun by our various obligations and wants, and that is actually insane, but the real pathology is in how that leads to blindness and worse yet, in perpetuating the practices that have led us to the brink. I drank a can of seltzer yesterday and threw it into the recycling, realizing--or remembering--in a flash that the way I live is wholly unsustainable.
Which is not to say I want to go captain fantastic; dropping out to keep my hands clean feels less powerful than laying bare the architecture of the systems and institutions I now want to resist. This structure is my own skeleton. I perpetuate it and I can transform it. What if we all rise up in that knowledge? Can we assert that we are bigger than what is taking shape? Can we know it in our bones? Can we believe that we are stronger than the state, that it is in our service and our control? Something is happening, something that can swallow this election, that can absorb it. There is no other way to see it.
Thank You Campaign...
...was a website I built to document my total freakout at the 2016 US presidential election. I've collected the "offerings" section here: short essays, each with an associated image I'd found or a picture I'd taken, documenting a small set of awakenings and a small rising up.