Gathering Strength and Weathering A Storm

The drought this year has withered the flowers of my new gardens. I miss flowers. They bring such beauty and joy especially during such dark times. Today it is raining. Raining water for my flowers and hope for our state.

Hope is a funny thing. Many years ago, as a little girl, I planted flowers with an elderly neighbor. She shared why she grew them. They brought her beauty. Also many years ago, as a little girl, my grandmother told me about her husband the fire chief and bootlegger. During that time, The Depression of the 1930’s, my dad lined his coat and shoes with newspapers and stood in bread lines for him and his sisters. I find myself thinking about those stories as we live through another historically depressing and difficult time. One in which hope is evasive yet so needed.

Many around us, especially our neighbors from other countries, see the collapse of the United States happening before their eyes. They grieve for us, and themselves. I tend to agree with them that we are well into this collapse. Rather than go into all the obvious clues and patterns, I think we need to focus on hope. Hope fueled with plans and actions to stop it in its tracks and reverse the damage. Now let’s be clear, this is damage that has been occurring for a very long time. Some say since Nixon. Some say since Reagan. Some say since slavery. I say since the first white European set food on this continent. Whatever the starting point; it has certainly escalated since men like Reagan and the Christian conservative movement took power. This administration is the climax.

Forever, men have tried to keep women “in our place”. White men have tried to keep Blacks, and Asians, Indigenous, LGTBQ, and Immigrants “in their place”. Repressed groups share many similarities. It is these shared experiences that can help us come together, to see the systemic issues of white nationalism and supremacy at work in our country right now, and unite to end it. This isn’t going away willingly. Powerful white men who’ve held the power of our country for centuries aren’t just going to give it away to the rest of us without a huge uprising. That’s where we are now. While we’ve been here before (somewhat), we haven’t quite seen the convergence like we are witnessing today. Watching the evil pour out of those who see their power being striped away makes it clear that they are giving it their last desperate shot to hold onto it. But we don’t have to dance their dance.

It’s hard to step out of a dance. I struggle everyday not to dance with them. At times I succeed and at times I don’t. But it’s my north star. Don’t dance the dance. Make our own dance. Make our own narrative. Work with other like minded folks to take the spotlight off the corrupt and powerful white men.

We are about to witness and experience the climax of this. I have a feeling it’s not going to look or feel good. And I am assuming I am not alone in my fear. We have a choice with how we handle our fear. We can give into it; let it win, or we can beat it down and rise up and use it to power us and overcome it and those who are actively trying to oppress us. This isn’t new. History is full of episodes when the people rose up against tyranny. Pull from that historical DNA to do “the good trouble” that is needed of every single one of us right now. Some of us are on the front lines working 24/7. I thank them. With every fiber of my being, I thank them. I am not there; yet. Fear has been winning with me. But I continue to get up every morning and fight that big monster, fear. An email I got last night helped me realize that I need a group. A group of like minded folks who will encourage me to keep going. And being part of a group will help me to encourage others to keep going.

We can’t let the bastards doing everything in their greedy, cruel playbook win. When we back down; when we do nothing because of fear, they win. And their win will effect our children and our grandchildren.

So what can we do? Vote. Vote early and in person if you can. If you can’t vote in person, vote early and by mail. Early meaning your ballot is in the mail box by Oct 20th. If you are not working, ask your town office if they need help with polling and volunteer to be a poll worker. Ask your neighbors and family if they need help voting and help them. Do they need help ordering a ballot and voting? Have you been reading about “The Red Line”? The red line is the line that symbolizes the edge of democracy and actions that cross that red line mean that democracy has been stolen. Be ready to act if the red line of democracy is crossed because if that happens it is clear a coup is being attempted. What will crossing that red line, a coup, look like? It may look like several things but the most expected is a stop to the counting of all the votes, in particular votes by mail that tend to come in after Nov 3 and tend to be by Democrats. That’s what it will look like. By not counting all the votes a coup of our government power and democracy are in active play. There are some guides to help with this. I will share these links once they become available. Several are in the works now.

Most important? Hope. Let hope infuse you with power and action. If you are in a state of depression or inaction (who isn’t!?) reach out to someone. We fall when we are divided; we stand strong when we are united. We all know that old saying. So unite with someone or some group to regain your power. Then use your power and voice to speak out in what ever way that works for you. You do not need to feel like you are alone, because you aren’t.

Let’s summon power from each other to capture the amazing strength and determination that the flower vendor has. She is showing us the way.

In strength and solidarity,

Mary

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