Bending toward justice 4

No one’s more surprised than I am that I started creating an action checklist for civic engagement. As a woman, a lesbian, and a sensitive soul, I would very much like to remain indefinitely anonymous and on the sidelines—out of harm’s way.

But I look at my country’s leadership and refuse to believe this is the best we can do.

A confession

Before the election, I was writing about the feminine heroic, which involves facing our darkest inner places.

Since then, I’ve been facing my own. I feel abject dread about the next four years (and eight is inconceivable). Channeling my immigrant ancestors’ fear, I want to run far away, hide, keep my head down until the storm passes.

I have to face this. We all do, eventually. Otherwise it will run the show.

The consequence of a short attention span

What concerns me most is our culture’s bent toward immediate results, and in their absence, apathy and submission.

We (me included) expect our outrage to create change. Like #grabyourwallet and the recount effort. Immediate action, followed by the expectation of immediate results.

We (especially my fellow white people) are used to being heard and valued. When ignored, we get pissy and give up. Okay, maybe that’s just me. 🙂

My biggest fear

After Bush beat Gore on a technicality, I watched in horror as citizens’ rights eroded, as we waged war, the growing cavalier attitude toward the planet’s resources. I flailed helplessly on the sidelines, sick with worry, bitter, but unengaged.

I’m afraid this history will repeat itself, but worse. What if no one in authority cares about my values? Or I’m mocked for my views? Or if speaking out makes me a target of authorities? (My privilege is showing, by the way. Some people face this daily.)

Realistic or not, this is my fear.

Facing your fear moves you forward

When we face our fears, the light reappears. Always.

I’m inspired by the example of the people of Standing Rock. They are showing us how it’s done: with clear purpose, commitment, and community, they know that change comes through peace and prayer. I’m inspired by the Dalai Lama who has met tragedy with compassion and meditation. And King who met oppression with passion and persistence. And women—so many women who get up anyway in spite of loss, harassment, devaluing, condescension, abuse and more—just get on with their lives anyway. And have done forever.

People keep writing me from everywhere, thanking me for my work. My time. My clarity. But I have to remember that I’m part of a community of passionate people. Part of a 4000-year old force toward progress and growth—maybe longer.

“The moral curve of history is long, but it bends toward justice.”

We may not effect change tomorrow. Or the next day. It may get frustrating and hard and scary. But we—you, me—need to keep this long-term arc of history in mind, and take it to heart too.

We are made from stronger stuff than fear.

4 thoughts on “Bending toward justice

  • Jacqui

    So well said, Jen. I share all of your concerns and, yes, fears. In 1965, my Navy pilot father was shot down over North Viet Nam. (I hold nothing against the Viet Namese) I thought I had overcome my grief. However, this election has brought it all back to the surface. My father must be rolling over in his unmarked grave at who this country has elected. I want to run away and hide and never claim being a US citizen again. But that’s not what must be done. We ARE made from stronger stuff than fear. Those of us who love this country must do anything and everything we can to protect those who may be harmed in this, hopefully, short-lived transition. We also need to look long-term at what we can do to redirect this negative and ego-based trend. Most of us were unaware of the hate-mongers and their ignorance. We can learn from that and, in time, educate/overcome that ignorance and make this country better than ever. But we can NOT let fear hold us back!

  • Gail Tauber

    Just to say how in awe I am of you and so many young women, men, today. I’m a senior gal, done all this before but hanging in there and reteaching myself, catching up on the political horrors, but staying optimistic, and diving back into spiritualism and mediation. Which has saved my life. My immigrant grand parents saw their families killed off in the WAR and I grew up afraid of Germans, While that has thankfully passed, considering the enemies I/we have since faced down over time, this new barbarism has shaken me to the core. Draconian, and almost unbelievable. All this to say I like you action updates, and will make some choices soon. Have been posting like crazy and sending emails, but I know I need to get more immediately involved. So many are running off frantically in too many directions. So the lesson, as you’ve said, is to slow down and be directed. Equanimity.
    Thank you.

    • Jennifer Hofmann Post author

      Gail, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I can’t imagine what it must be like for you to have the wisdom of so many years and see our country take this tack. My generation (X) is the smallest, but is really gearing up. The newer ones, those kids are amazing. We’re going to get through this. It won’t be fun, but it will be better because we’re together. Blessings on you. <3

  • Lynn Sarraille

    I have been trying to get an organized handle on the ways and means for personal political action. Thank-you!
    Here is my personal focus from DAY-WITHOUT-A-WOMAN with additions from my own ideals:
    1. Do your local, state and national politicians and businesses support our communities, or do they drain our communities?
    2. Do their politics and practices strive for gender and racial equity or do they support the policies and leaders that perpetuate oppression?
    3. Do they align with a sustainable environment or do they profit off destruction and steal the futures of our children?
    Our country of the people, by the people, and for the people will stand if we fight for it.

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