Thursday, September 14, 2017
[i hesitated to post this after the charlottesville protest violence. not sure why. maybe I thought answers might come to me...]
A poet on the subway handed me a slip of paper once. It read "if you breathe, I am your comrade." It stuck with me (even literally, since I taped it next to my front door). What could it be like to claim solidarity with every breathing human (and non human, for that matter)? It felt instinctively and beautifully true. I want to live in that world. To help bring it about, even.
Of course, this is not an easy comradeship. Sometimes your comrades wave nazi flags and beat up people who look like you. And sometimes they rally behind symbols of oppression and mow down a lovely woman who believes in equality enough to fight for it on a regular basis. What then?
I was sitting at a farmers market in harlem selling handmade crafts while these very things were taking place in charlottesville, just yesterday. Chatting with shoppers, getting to know the other vendors, tweaking my display, eating excellent food (amusebouche.com), taking photos.
I felt sick when I came home and saw the news. Not entirely because of what had happened -- some of these things happen rather regularly, it's sad to say -- but because I felt guilty for having wasted my day with arts and crafts instead of finding a way to fight. Fighting intolerance and evil is absolutely necessary. But what exactly do we fight with?
If I really am their comrade, do I fight them with love? protests? fists? What about beautiful handmade items? Can you fight nazis with beauty? Can a printed t-shirt of a lady with an afro help to fight white supremacy?
Of course, fighting must go beyond symbolism. We must all learn about each other. How did we get here? And we must be open to the truths we learn about our comrades. And, maybe more importantly, the truths we each learn about ourselves. ❤