Outside, Soft Fluffy Snowflakes...

snow wreath.jpg

...are falling, not in a hurry, but steadily, as if they can be counted upon to not give up, to keep on. Typically such snow makes me cozy, and inspires me to sing holly-jolly songs of the season, the cornier the better, my croaky voice the perfect foil. But today I am weepy, in touch with a fear of looming tragedy, theirs and ours.

Across the country unusual warmth is promised, while in California it bursts into flames that won’t quit. An airport loses power, holiday planes are downed by heavy fog, Houston and its neighbors are still swamp and poorer—and in Puerto Rico my fellow Americans face the season without water and electricity. In a Washington run by Wall Street and its unhinged wealthiest, Americans face yet more debt in pursuit of more growth in hopes of a trickle. Just a trickle is all we ask, and instead we get a Christmas Goose egg from a Congress of Scrooges and Stooges, who keep on selling us out.

They kick us out of the halls of power when we protest in our wheelchairs, saying Don’t Kill Us, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo and Gay is Good. God Bless Us Everyone, says Tiny Tim, the least of us—but in this year’s Christmas tale, he gets backhanded, not picked up and fed.

We can look forward to our “entitlement programs,” the insurance we’ve long paid for with our taxes, being cut or eliminated, like the environment—now deemed too expensive, given the corporate giveaway. Trump and Putin are making chummy phone calls to replace state-craft, making billionaires better off worldwide by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and Syria in exchange for more fossil fuel money.

All is wrong with the world, it seems, although snowflakes are still falling in Vermont. Bit by bit, they float down and pile up and remind me, united we stand, divided we fall, to everything there is a season, turn, turn, turn.

#MeToo: Her Decade of Empathy

via justbeinc.org

via justbeinc.org

Have you “met” Tarana Burke yet? Her story’s a lesson in the value of
persistence. She started #MeToo ten years ago. I heard her talk with Soraya Chemaly and Alicia Garza on Amy Goodman last week, and was both surprised and deeply moved by her soft-spoken empathy and her commitment to survivors. https://tinyurl.com/yd3uv43r

Tarana told Boston Globe reporter Crystela Guerra in late October that she wasn’t even aware of her tweets going viral until a friend showed her. She said about it:

“In many regards Me Too is about survivors talking to survivors. It was
never really about amplifying the number of people who are survivors of
sexual violence. It was about survivors exchanging empathy with each
other. But when I talk to young people, I use pop culture to promote the
idea of Me Too all the time. We have to have something that reaches the
masses. That’s what I’ve always known Me Too could do. This viral moment
is just confirmation that vision was real and was possible.”

Like almost every women, I can name #MeToo encounters, though I want
to be careful to name them trespasses and shocks, not violent assaults of
the kind that threaten to undo a woman’s life. I knew such a survivor,
though, who was left for dead, and for whom attending college took such
courage “survivor” doesn’t say it. She’s a daily hero. She went on, as Tarana
did after her assault, to help and connect other victims of violence. The
trick is to ultimately outlive the bastards.

#MeToo applies widely and “reaches the masses” because every woman,
and some men too, know the special threat of sexual violence, a bodily
invasion and diminishment. But its verbal threat is everywhere, tossed off
in common parlance among men, especially powerful ones—F**k You, the
opposite of love, and the common parlance of suited street gangs in
Washington, Hollywood, and Wall Street.

Tarana says #MeToo is about survivors exchanging empathy with each
other. In the time of Screwnomics, let’s persist in sharing empathy among
us survivors aptly named the 99%. If we are to outlive Trumpish inequality,
only mutually pleasureable exchanges and partnerships will do, not
sexualized violence of any kind.