It’s not my business…is a phrase I’ve been trying on as I explore ways of navigating these dark times. I’ve limited my time with Lester Holt and Rachel Maddow…until curiosity becomes too much to bear. Driven by a warped sense of obligation, I allow 20-30 minutes of each Democratic Debate, but much prefer the New York Times opinion writers’ succinct day-after analysis.
To avoid the disintegrating of the country I’ve known all my long life has become impossible…the country that promised to give me your tired, your poor; the country that valued truth and justice and free speech; the country that urged participation in the political process.
I am haunted by the echoes of the days when the Ku Klux Klan ruled our state, when DC Stephenson created a reign of terror throughout Indiana…controlling the media, the churches, the sheriff and police departments with an iron fist.
I’m not sure how political activism became my business, but I do remember being a young, idealistic woman who willingly volunteered to spend many evenings in the Washington Hotel, Donald Bruce’s campaign headquarters, stuffing envelopes, impassioned to do what I could to see that he was elected to Congress.
Volunteering for Barry Goldwater led to a full-time job editing the Indiana Almanac, a compilation of every public official in every county from dog-catcher to City-Councilman to Governor. Funded by the Republican Party, the Indiana Almanac was rumored to have been compiled at the behest of a local and ego-driven politician.
Ahhh…the confessions of a former Republican…..
Awakening to feminism and ultimately becoming a feminist therapist led me on a path toward another form of activism: I joined the struggle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment…writing letters, attending hearings, marching in the Mother’s Day March in Chicago…and disrupting many a dinner party arguing for our cause. How could anyone possibly be against equal rights or all simply baffled me.
For Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, I broke all my rules to never….I made phone calls; I knocked on doors. I was at the local campaign headquarters before it had opened…waited to do whatever I could as soon as the electricity was turned on and the phones and internet connected.
The energy I might have had for more overtly campaigning for Hillary Clinton was turned toward the research and writing of The Thousand Telling. I was committed to telling the stories of three women beginning with my grandmother who was a suffragist!
As my energy wanes, the years since Barry Goldwater have necessitated a realignment of my priorities. I will not be making phone calls nor knocking on doors; nor will I be spending hours in the local Democratic headquarters
So, what is my business?
My business is to write…
I write to the senators of our state. Although I received no response from my letter toTodd Young admonishing his lack of integrity for blindly following the corrupt man-child in the White House, I did hear from Mike Braun who in a personal letter explained to me that the POTUS is, and I quote, “A new kind of President.”
So, I will write…if not to the Senators, then what?
I write to stir the energy of peace and good will. I write to send hope and kindness and light into the darkness. I write to re/member those on whose shoulders I stand, and I write to honor the women…the Annas who fought for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment so that I may vote! I write to honor Gloria Steinem and Robin Morgan and Starhawk and Susan Brownmiller and Alice Paul and Susan B. Anthony and Harriett Tubman and the Grimke sisters and May Wright Sewall and all the women who, along with Tarana Burke, gave life to the #Me Too Movement.
And I write to honor the countless women who are committed to tending to our Mother, Earth, who plant those early blooming tiny yellow Aconites in a common area; those who weed and pick up litter; those who march for women’s equality, for women’s right to control our own bodies, who risk arrest as they bear witness at Standing Rock, at nuclear plants, and for those who demand clean air and water and cry out for a healing of our dying planet.
I write to give voice to those who are silenced by patriarchy.