A few years ago, taxi drivers stopped traffic downtown and it was a nightmare for people working in DC. Traffic was crucial and people were so upset. Some friends at dinner asked me what the point was of pissing off so many people. My response was that sometimes the public isn’t the target. Sometimes it really isn’t about getting your support. It is a disappointing fact of life, but not everything is about you or your permission.
I have questions too about strategy, all the time. I confess that I’ve had conversations where people have asked me why something was happening with #blacklivesmatter and my response was that honestly I didn’t know why a decision was made. Some things I have even disagreed with… for a while. I really like Uncle Bernie for many reasons and definitely felt no small amount of defensiveness. Economic justice is a huge part of my life.
But I started to see the larger strategy as something bigger than me and my shitty little opinion of how things are being done. I wasn’t the target, at least not in that way. I also wasn’t the smartest person in the room and those that were wiser than me caught on to my desire to understand why and pointed this line of strategic thinking out to me. Thank you to those of you that are patient enough to teach… I will continue to let my ego calm down enough to learn.
What the recent actions have done is make me think about ways I could be more supportive and active. Admittedly, I’ve been afraid to let my emotional state rise above ‘slightly irritated’ for fear of some weird psychotic break or something, but that’s natural after a solid year of struggling to feel some semblance of sanity. Maybe that’s the point for ‘the rest of us.’ Maybe we’re supposed to see where we are standing and decide just how much we like the view from where we are. To see if we measure up to our own ideals and make a decision about who we stand with… and to sit with our discomfort while we make that decision.
To quote one of my favorite old songs, Which Side Are You On?
– for my sisters, Alicia, Opal and Patrisse