Thank You Campaign was active ten years ago. Embarrassment and inertia allowed it to liquify, as did complacency and faith in basic goodness. This space will not succumb to embarrassment, inertia, or complacency. The faith, besieged, persists yet.
This is a point of reference. A breaking of silence. No longer content to push the pendulum, we smash the clock. The methods and means are unclear but writing as process lights the way. I used to write 750 words every morning, a private ritual. This, its public version, replaces that practice. I propose, to myself and to you, a transparent and unabashed reliance on process as a path to insight.
We joined a protest outside the office of the governor--or if you prefer, the vice president elect--in Indianapolis last night. We heard it before we saw it, "love trumps hate" carried down to the convention center. The circumstances of hearing it say a lot. We carried thrift store furniture out to the curb, to be returned to the Salvation Army, where we bought it on Wednesday afternoon. This is the height of privilege: build a living room on the convention floor out of furniture purchased for $100 at a Salvation Army and then give it right back when it has served its purpose, less the accidentally-broken rocking chair, hire someone with a silver ford cargo van and pay him $65 to re-donate/find a dumpster. During this transaction, the shouting became clear.
So we join. I am giddy to join but I am queasy at the access my privilege affords. What a day, sell some music at a convention, join a protest, go out to dinner. I can to whatever I want. Not everyone can do whatever they want. This is becoming clearer to me all the time, and I am ashamed not to have seen it before, not to have moved this from concept to feeling.
Outside the capitol, where the governor--or if you prefer, the vice president elect--works, there are people under siege. The building pushes out at them and the military vehicle, huge and intimidating, camouflage paint setting the TRUMP PENCE sign in bold relief, drives around the block, over and over, a reminder that we--or they--are boxed in. I get cold, my legs get tired, I go out to dinner wherever we can get in because downtown is overrun with people like me. I am disappointed that brew pub beats out the tapas place. The absurdity does not even occur to me until I write it down today. So I'm going to write everything down and offer it up, not because I know better or see more but because I want to out myself as a beneficiary of a stacked deck. If you understand this all too well, by your lived experience, by your body on the line, I am sorry for my blindness and I will offer what I can in the hopes that it will someday be enough. And I am sorry to my friends, the other four that I stood with last night; I write as though we are the same, as though we share the same privileges and same experiences. We aren't and we don't, and I cannot even see it on first pass.
Your difference from me becomes a postscript. That "WE" was only ever provisional, a way to amplify speaking about myself. Others are not a rhetorical construct, a way to make a story hit harder, a megaphone. I did not intend to use you, but I am barely making out shapes in the dark.
I want to wake up.
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.