Beating the Great White Dope

 

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My spirit plummets as I type the obligatory New Years post. Despite decades of economic and social progress – and in spite of millions more voting for Hillary – a narcissistic hate filled bastard becomes president on January 20, 2017. Even proof Russia interfered with the election didn’t deter this travesty. (Though I laugh; conservative family and friends have long accused me of being a traitor. Yet, most surrendered our country without firing a shot.)

Spending 36 years in and around politics, and even longer studying history, gives me nightmares. Despite “assurances” I can see the Muslim Registry Implemented, the deportations of Immigrant Student Dreamers, the Destruction of Medicare, and Rising Hate Incidents. Yes, many of us will resist but we won’t stop everything. Hatred feeds the mob, which thrives on emotion and fear.

Still, as Thomas Paine eloquently wrote, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Or as we say in my family, “it’s put up or shut up time.”  This means signing up for the Muslim registry, possibly hiding the Dream Students (think the Underground Railroad), using Grassroots to Lobby Congress, and funding nonprofits big and small to replace lost government services. See up top for organizations where you can take action.

 

As a single, childless woman I have more freedom than most. I don’t have to worry about who will raise my kids if I get arrested. I am (currently) a citizen. I have access to social media so I can share better formed ideas for resisting (like Rev. William Barber and the Moral Mondays’ Fusion MovementNuts & Bolts A Renewed Commitment to Crowdsouring, and one from the heart (and the gut)).

But everyone can smile at the woman in a hijab, shut down racist conversations among  friends or coworkers, or resist this administration’s provocations to fear the “other.”

I leave with Bluto’s Speech to Fight

 

Survivors Take the Other Path

Doorways, especially the more ornate, have always fascinated me. Opening them hopefully  leads to  answers, adventure, or escape.

 

Doubtless my taste in childhood literature – A Wrinkle in Time, Chronicles of Narnia, or From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – shaped this interest. In each the child characters found a hidden path,  most magical but some mundane, to  adult adventure without submitting to adult control.

Like every good piece of fiction, each character suffered disappointment, overcame obstacles,  and returned chastened. Regardless neither they nor the reader regretted the journey. Most, especially this reader, sought a pathway to return.Japanese Tea Garden Path

 

 

 

A life spent breathing San Francisco’s intoxicating smells – salty fog, innumerable spices, and perfumed humanity –  doubtless contributed to this zest for adventure. Childhood’s culinary map included  Chinese  Dishes, Russian Piroshki’s, and (homemade) Greek Food; generally sold in nearby but still different neighborhoods. (Now it would be ThaiEthiopian, and Indian, likely without as much travel but lessons still learned.)  Prior to Proposition 13 – yes, I’m that old – museum, aquariums, and parks holding the world’s knowledge opened their doors for free. (Even now you can find a way to free days if you can fight the crowds.) Frankly today the babble of different languages, clashing customs, and  the kaleidoscope of cultures make even SF MUNI an adventure. (Unlike some of my peers from the Outer Sunset, I — thanks to my mom’s early lessons — embrace San Francisco’s diversity.)

 

It’s why San Francisco continues to succeed through earthquakes, AIDS, and recessions.

 

 

 

 

Most of us came from somewhere else – or were raised by those folks from somewhere else – or wrongly get treated as being from somewhere else despite having families here going back generations. As such we know nothing forces us to remain stifled by custom or status quo. For those willing to remain so ignorant their stay is no longer pleasant. Or, on a happier note, food and/or persons from somewhere else often seduce them into knowing better. An honest look at San Francisco’s (California) history will reveal this has happened for centuries (when we used to pit ethnicities against each other, like we currently do with racial groups.)