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.