It’s easy to get disheartened about progressive causes right now. The Trump administration seems to be doing everything it can to roll back rights and protections for all the most vulnerable members of society, from immigrant children to transgender soldiers, and Republican state houses across the south are stripping women’s right to choose faster than we can keep track.
I graduated from college in 1976. I had only one gay classmate … or so I thought. Ten or fifteen years later, I attended a reunion and learned that maybe 20 percent of my classmates are gay. Of course, I know now that my gay classmates were gay when they were in college, too. They didn’t become gay, they were always gay; they just “came out.” Today, almost everybody knows someone who is gay or lesbian. That’s a good thing, I think.
Being nice is not natural.
Being nice is not objective logic.
It is a tool of the privileged that preserves one’s sense of superiority over others while reproducing inequality under the guise of “kindness.” It is a concept rooted in our subjective experience, one already tethered to our own views about gender, race, class, sexuality, and ability. A progressive, human rights-based perspective must grapple with the painful thought that our good intentions, well, may just be a form of violence.
The Friday after Trump was elected, while upstairs looking for socks, I suddenly began to sob. Huge, wracking sobs that shocked my family into silence. There was nothing new since the horror of Tuesday night and the silent, stunned Metra ride into work on Wednesday morning. Nothing specifically different at that moment. Why did it hit me then, I wondered?
As Election Day approaches for the municipal elections, I thought I would post a throwback to my own thoughts and feelings the night before the General Election back in November. If you are thinking about running for office or supporting a campaign in any way, this might be a relevant read for you. Enjoy!