As horrible as the current state of politics has been, sometimes I almost wish my mom were alive to see it.
She was a very proud and unapologetic liberal. She would have despised DJT. Just to hear her running commentary on Sean Spicer and KAC alone would have been worth it today.
She was the walking talking definition of the term political junkie. She ate drank and breathed politics. She taught me how to be a Democrat. Back when I was in elementary school and my mom first taught me we outnumber them, the Blue Team had the Presidency and an overwhelming majority in both houses of Congress (67-33 in the Senate, 247-187 in the House). But she also said we only win when we get out the vote and there were lots of places where it was hard for people to vote. Some things never change.
I think of her every time I step into a voting booth. Every time I watch C-SPAN. Every time I read an op-ed column. Every time I listen to Netroots Radio. Every time I get into a spirited political exchange with someone on line. She was not a march in the streets kind of person. But she loved it when I went out into the streets. So I marched for her. I waved a sign for her. I represented her. I carried her with me every time I went to a demonstration.
She was very proud of my writing and always encouraged me. As I have been creating these daily True Blue Report diaries I keep wishing she were here to enjoy them.
Actually, no, I don’t. She’d still be lying immobile in that hospital bed in the living room, unable to walk, unable to sit up, unable to turn over without help, unable to see well enough to read, unable to drink more than a few sips of water at a time, always plagued by itching she couldn’t scratch, nerves tingling in the missing leg, weak from the aftereffects of dialysis, in excruciating pain from unstageable bedsores, and coping with other suffering too terrible to name in body, mind and spirit.
She’s enjoying all this much more from the other side.
Who first inspired your political activism? Do you think about that person frequently, or just when specific things happen?
Is that person still alive to participate in political activities with you? Or is someone else your political inspiration now?
Is your inspiration someone you know, someone you have actually met, a close friend or member of your family?
Or someone you admire from across the miles or across the years (or both) because of what you have heard or read about their work?
Is it a historical figure whose name we would all recognize?
Or a local person whose impact was felt primarily by people in a single state or community?
Or maybe someone whose activism was behind the scenes and only known to their family members and close friends?
Does that person look over your shoulder when you write on this blog? Is s/he ranting with you when your blood starts boiling because of the latest Republicon outrage? Is s/he cheering with you when the Blue Team celebrates a victory, large or small?
When all seems lost, is s/he the encouraging voice in your ear telling you never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never?
If you don’t have a specific inspirational figure like that, do you want to have someone like that?
If you have someone who inspires you, great. Here are three ways to externalize that inspiration and make it tangible, to reinforce your own energy and perhaps have some of the same inspiration rub off on people around you.
Make sure you have pictures of the person around. Maybe put one near your computer, or on the desk where you work the most, or where you will see it when you first wake up in the morning, or near your front door where you will see it as you leave for the day. Carry one in your wallet, where you will see it every time you pull out cash or a credit card. No I am not kidding. It will help you remember to #votewithyourwallet.
Write out some inspirational quotes: either something the person actually said, or quotes that remind you of the person. Put them in the same areas.
Find some small symbols of the person. Maybe the symbol is obvious for a famous person, or obscure and known only to you. Put them in the same areas, or carry them around with you.
Change your computer wallpaper to an appropriate photo or series of inspirational photos and/or quotes. Do you still have an egg and a blank Twitter header? Fix that. What about your cover photo and profile picture on Facebook. Are they making an inspirational statement?
Do you have an office space you can decorate with a photo or quote? Get yourself to Zazzle and create your own inspirational coffee cup, tote bag, button or bumper sticker. Magnets can go on your refrigerator at home and your file cabinet at work. Public items like these are also helpful in encouraging people around you. Letting them know they are not alone.
Once you start looking for places to put inspirational reminders, you will see them everywhere. These are hard times and it helps me to see inspirational quotes and photos everywhere I go.
I don’t need reminders of my mom because she is always with me. Half my DNA is hers. I still have a lot of triggers that bring her to mind in an average day.
But I do keep pictures of her handy, and quotes and symbols. And I have quotes and photos of other people who inspire me. I don’t know for sure if they help. But they don’t hurt. They give me a little extra jolt of energy when I need it. Lots of times they make me smile.
Many days I feel as though I have woken up in a parallel universe or am still asleep in a dreamworld, where I am a character in a dystopian alternative history novel.
At the same time I feel energized by living in these “interesting times”, in the midst of a political whirlwind every bit as thrilling as anything that happened in the late 60s when I wished desperately I was older so I could protest and demonstrate and march without needing anyone’s permission; every bit as complex and as the early 70s when I got just as swept up in Watergate as my mom, and thought there would never be a political environment that exciting again.
Today is the tenth anniversary of my mother’s death. I thought when this day came I would be mired in grief but instead I am still plugging away, still writing, still getting my work done, feeling even more fulfilled in my calling than ever before. I feel more energy than lethargy, I feel more hope than melancholy, and I feel her presence with me more strongly than ever.
No tears today. No regrets. Todo está bien chévere.
Previous TRUE BLUE REPORT diaries
Feb 8: We cannot and will not be silenced—Here’s what to do if they try to silence you
Feb 7: Plain Talk Tuesday: Tell people the Affordable Care Act is the same as OBAMACARE
Feb 6: Interview Skills 101—Internalized oppression and what Ryan Lizza did right. BRAVO!
Feb 5: These protest signs with Bible cites will confuse and befuddle RWNJs
Feb 4: Blue Ribbon Winners: Temple B’Nai Israel, Judge Robart, CNN, Senate Phone Callers
Feb 3: Not rich, not smart, not a good businessman, not a winner—DJT is NOTHING he claims to be
Feb 2: Thursday action—Encouragement, thanks, and apologies (pick one or more)
Feb 1: July 7, 2009 to August 25, 2009 and September 25, 2009 to February 4, 2010
Jan 31: If you’re on overload that’s part of their plan—there’s more than one way to #resist
Jan 30: Interview Skills 101 for reporters attempting to interview KAC and other Rcons
Jan 29: Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness
Jan 28: Blue Ribbon Winners: Women's March participants and #NoMuslimBan demonstrators and...
Jan 27: I wish Steve Bannon would tell me to keep my mouth shut
Jan 26: Thursday Action—Have you ever written a letter to the editor? Here’s how to start
Jan 25: The Asch Conformity Study, inauguration crowds, and the importance of speaking out
Jan 24: #ResistTrumpTuesday—good news day or another paying dues day?
Jan 23: Spy the Lie 101: How to enjoy watching Rcon spokesbot interviews, even KAC!
Jan 22: Why I prayed for the President* today
Jan 21: The only silver lining in the midst of these clouds
Inaugural (!) diary: Stop expecting Republicons to make sense