Be the light in the dark.

Let’s look at some of the good things that happened this week shall we?

The women’s march was a corker. An absolute corker. I mean you knew it if you were there. You knew it if you saw how much trolling it generated (it’s a good litmus test) You knew it if you saw that Trump has taken one of the pictures of the Washington march and is pretending that it’s a picture of his inauguration crowd. Seriously. He has done this.

The people who said what was the point of marching? Well, they’re eating their words now. According to Whitehouse leaks, Trump is furious about the marching. He hates the marching. He hates it so much that about a hundred other marches have already been arranged including marching scientists. This is wonderful. I love marching scientists. I’m imagining thousands of Beakers from The Muppets taking to the streets, hair alight, test tubes aloft. I know it won’t be like this, but let me live with my fantasy for a while.

People are already practicing civil disobedience in ways that make me feel really hopeful for humanity. There are rogue US government sites popping up all over the shop on Twitter. The National Parks were the first to fight back in refusing to stop publishing data that supported global warming. Then, when their posts were deleted, they just made new accounts. Nasa has also done this and there are more and more every day. There are whistleblower accounts from inside the Whitehouse proliferating as quickly as they’re shut down.

Then there’s the Greenpeace bods sticking a huge ‘Resist’ flag on a crane by the White House which took ages to get down, and the flash mob protests and the refusal of the New York Times to do what Trump says, and the politicians who are speaking out. Even the terrible news that a Mosque was burned down in Texas today was made marginally less horrific by the fact that a crowd funding group has already raised money to start rebuilding it.

Let’s give a huge round of applause to the Dutch government who have started an international fund to help girls who are being denied abortions by Trump’s deliberate cutting of aid.

Let’s give a medal to the Mexican president who is not only refusing persistently to pay for a ‘fucking wall’ but has also refused to meet Trump and has announced that he will turn all the Mexican consulates in the USA into refugee centres.

Let’s stand up for Madeleine Albright who yesterday, when Trump said he would refuse Muslims entry into the country and start a Muslim registry, vowed to register as a Muslim and encouraged others to do the same.

Let’s give a thumbs up to the Canadians who announced they wouldn’t turn anyone in need away from their borders today. I am imagining millions of depressed American citizens queuing with suitcases.

And as for us, well, I’m sorry about Theresa. I can find nothing positive to say about her visit or her arms deal with President Erdogan and her refusal to condemn torture.

I can say thank you to everyone who wrote to her and that I know that because of what we did this week she is in no doubt that we oppose her. I can say how wonderful it is that the numbers of the WEP party have been growing all week because women are tired of this shit. I can say that the women on the March group are already doing things like signing up to the Stop Funding Hate Campaign, organising support for other marches, like the one for Saving the NHS on March 4th in London, and countless other things that make me proud of my pragmatic sisters (and brothers). These are not things that will just benefit women. They are things that will benefit all of us. They are not stopping.

There is always something to do that can keep us optimistic, keep us from despair. It is more important than ever in these dark and horrifying times.

Keep writing. Keep protesting. Keep helping those less fortunate. Keep building those bridges. Keep standing up to be counted. Keep talking, sharing, donating, making. Keep doing whatever you can to make a positive difference. It will change. It already is changing. We are proving, every day that we are better than this.

And the most important thing I learned this week? Never, ever give up and never give in. Those who oppose you will try to wear you down. Let their words slide off you like you’re coated in Teflon. Know that even as they try to shame you, it’s themselves they are ashamed of and are too frightened to admit it. Know that even as they try to diminish what you do, it is designed to stop you and that should give you the courage to keep going. If you weren’t going to be effective at what you’re doing, they wouldn’t want to stop you. They aren’t doing anything so if you’re doing something you are already better. Know that they are cowards. Know that they are weak. Know that you are strong. You are so very strong and so very capable and so very good at this, because if you weren’t, who would care enough to try and break you?

Keep opening the door. Keep shining the light. Keep speaking out. Keep building bridges. Keep pushing down walls. Keep challenging hatred in whatever way you can. It works.

I have had an eventful few days with a community campaign to try to save my local library. I accepted the offer of a room for a meeting from a guy who looks after our local conservative club. Most people are fine with this. A tiny, and I mean tiny, minority are not.

What has impressed me is that over two days of debate on our local forum, only one person was offensive. What has impressed me is that even those who don’t like the idea of using a conservative club are willing to help in other ways, and some of them are even willing to entertain the idea that it would be ok to think about talking to the club and building bridges. What has impressed me is how willing my local community is to actually work together as a community. It happened last year in our GP campaign and I am sorry I had forgotten it. We are a very diverse community in a diverse city and yet we are pulling together and it is incredibly  inspiring.

We have had a wide ranging debate which has hit numerous hot buttons for people and yet there has been a mutual respect and a fairness about the whole thing that has made me more hopeful than anything else I’ve seen or read this week that things can be better. We have been discussing tolerance for all and how actually, despite what people fear, if we can save a library using a conservative club, that would be rather wonderful. I was put in mind of Oskar Schindler. You might say it’s a stretch to go from saving a library to the holocaust but bear with me.

Oskar Schindler. A Nazi who saved the lives of 1,200 Jewish people whose descendants are alive today because of him. When we close our hearts and minds to the complexities of the human spirit and ability to create good in the middle of evil, we lose so much of what makes us miraculous, wonderful people.

It goes for saving libraries. It goes for saving lives. It goes for saving the world. Light shines brightest in the darkness. Let’s make it brighter than it’s ever been.

 

 

 

36 responses to “Be the light in the dark.

  1. You are right Katy, thank you for your words which have helped me to see those good things.

  2. you are amazing Katy. You inspire and lift me with your words. I forward your writings to various folks saying things like ‘read this’ and read it now! and share it! Thanks for shining your light x

  3. I deplore your shunning of the hyphen, but I applaud your post!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful post. Every day new decrees were issued and the parallels to Germany’s past are frightening. Thank you for your resistance, your courage and your strength.

  5. Brilliant post, and wise words. Thank you.

  6. try to love those who would have us hat them and who hate us. have compassion for their suffering in the face of their fear of losing control and feeling so afraid of those of us who will stand strong together. Look for common threads in us all, not differences, and keep your heart s and mind open whilst knowing these truths, that people like trump will never be trustworthy – that May will be made to look a fool just as Chamberlain was going to talk to Hitler, know and understand the nature of the monster you are facing and then do not underestimate them but know that truth and love will always win out, and the suffering along the way is art of our own opportunity to show courage and grow stronger, no one ever got strong without a challenge to overcome, just like muscles only get strong if they are worked hard. we need to work our collective muscles and spread that strength to others who would cower and tremble and feel overwhelmed with the enormity of what this represents, and yes i truly believe we can do this and win through in truth and love and kindness and compassion, but it isn’t going to be easy

  7. Malcolm Lawrenson

    Thank you so much, Katy, for such a wonderfully inspiring blog! My wife and I were encouraged by your words to keep going – we write often, send funds, join movements, and talk to acquaintances about these issues, and sometimes, inevitably, get a little depressed. Reading your words made us feel so much better, part of a whole anti-evil communiity that cares for others and wants the support of ordinary people everywhere.
    Thank you so much!
    Malcolm Lawrenson, Ripon

  8. bugger the hyphen, brilliant post. Brilliant woman!!

  9. Brilliant! Inspiring as ever Katy. I have been an active member of Amnesty International for about 35 years. People say “Why bother, nothing ever changes? Why do we need to campaign for people ‘ over there’? Not like us; who are probably terrorists anyway” The thing is they are like us, they are us. We have helped to free thousands of people, individuals, countries full of them, like Myanmar/Burma. And the thing is people in Britain suffer domestic abuse, are murdered by their partners, are trafficked are held as slaves. Each of them who have been freed from torture, horrendous prison conditions, death sentences are pretty pleased that someone cares and bothers to stand up to tyranny and oppression. We can only do what we can, but we can all do something. Hitler didn’t start by saying he was going to exterminate all Jews, but by promoting hate and division. Remind you of anyone?

  10. Brilliant! Thank you so much for this.Keep on shining x

  11. I’ve been living in a cloud of external politically-driven depression, for several days now. This blog has lifted it more than somewhat. We have potential. Thank you x

  12. Katy, have you seen this?
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1780707565525298/
    We need to get the word out there that it is on. If no one shows up it won’t be good for saying that the opinion is changing but will the low numbers reflect how poorly it has been advertised?
    Great blog again Katy. Love it Good luck with your library

    • I have seen it. I just fear it will get eclipsed by all the brouhaha in the States. I’ve shunted it on in various channels, but I just fear it will be engulfed. I hope it won’t. I’m fresh out of ideas at the moment. I will put my thinking cap on. It’s blue. With gold stars. x

  13. Much needed words of encouragement, thank you Katy for continuing to inspire us all to keep up the fight. We have rarely (in my lifetime) needed this resolve more.

    I see that Trump’s executive order claims that “the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred”, including those who perpetrate “forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own” which pretty much sums up the president and a large number of his supporters, but who would take them? I nominate Saudi Arabia, a country notorious for it’s alleged financial support of terrorist organisations but who are strangely not included in this ban, I wonder why?

    I am beyond disgusted with May’s pathetic response to this latest evidence, if any more was needed, of Trump’s dangerous agenda. If I felt slightly nauseous looking at the picture of her coyly smiling as she held his hand, I am now feeling sick to the pit of my stomach at the notion of our having a ‘special relationship’ with this monster and his administration.
    I have just signed a petition to prevent Trump’s state visit to Britain (which would probably be a huge relief to her maj as I’m sure she wasn’t exactly looking forward to it). However if May’s need to prostitute herself, and the country, for a ‘good deal’ triumphs over principles and decency, then I will be there with my placard to protest against the appeasement of a morally bankrupt, duplicitous moron and his corrupt government. Presumably for Theresa May (rather like her namesake Teresa May, the porn star, who I imagine knows all about getting screwed for money) a deal that puts ‘america first’ and ends up dismantling the NHS, poisoning all the JAMs with chemically altered cheap meat and reverses all our environmental and employment protections, will be well worth losing any credibility we ever had as a nation.

    As you so rightly point out, unlike many authoritarian leaders, he actually does care about protest. Obviously it has nothing to do with genuine concern re the rights or wrongs of his policies and everything to do with his infantile attention seeking and craving for adulation/approval to boost his colossal, yet curiously fragile ego, but then you have to take an advantage where you find it.

    • I’m so tired of all this pathetic weakness from our leaders that is forcing us as citizens to do their job for them. I too will be there with my placard if he ever gets here.

  14. If taking to the streets with my hair on fire will annoy Trump, I’ll do it!

  15. Reblogged this on The Night Owl and commented:
    I truly wish I had the same way with words as this wonderful lady does – do read her post, as it really does shine a wonderful light in our present darkness 🙂

  16. Here’s something that will really annoy Trump – someone analysing what he’s doing and crediting Steve Bannon with being the driving force. Tee hee! https://thewayofimprovement.com/2017/01/29/historian-heather-cox-richardson-on-trumps-muslim-ban-its-a-shock-event/
    Love the blog – get a bit behind with it sometimes, sorry!

  17. Well done with your local library Katy and good luck, I hope you can win through. By protesting and volunteering, they managed to keep the teeny tiny one in my mother’s village, despite all, so I hope you can too.
    Great about the mosque and crowd funding, I hadn’t heard about that. And all the peaceful, unifying, civil unrest that Trump has unleashed is perhaps his only good legacy! Long may it continue because let’s face it, most of us have become very apathetic in recent years. It’s time to stand up and shout, and if you ever decide to stand for serious public office, just say the word. (You weren’t by any chance born in the USA were you? You’d be elgible across the water if you were!)

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