There is enough in this world. There is enough food to feed the world. In the United States we have few who are starving and more who are malnourished, and we waste 40% of our food. I will always remember what I felt hearing of the grapes of wrath ripening and falling off the vine in waste while people shut out from the farm are starving, because the farmer can get no money from them–though I do not know when I first understood that it is still like that. Or when I understood that our country is stealing from so many others, then gives a tiny bit back in humanitarian aid, sometimes, to build up moral credit that just enough people believe.
There is medicine, there are hands who want to help. In the US we have many nurses who could be doctors but a stringent system of qualification that prevents them. And we have doctors with no time to listen–studies that show they don’t listen. And I lost a friend this year who had to get incomplete medical care from nonprofit programs instead of a government where people are throwing away lives like hers just because they’re Republican Congressmen. I can’t stand to watch it, or to fight and beg on their terms. People are so powerful when they reach out their hands to help each other, when they form the bonds of help and trust. I was offered money once by a man whose clothes I could see badly needed replacing. Perhaps I should have let him help me; I was ashamed to be making a scene over money that I could, in fact, afford. Instead I learned from him about reaching out to others once you see their sudden losses. I have friends who I worry about surviving, about escaping violence, about their health mental and physical, but whom I trust to be there for me, and there for each other or perfect strangers, anyway. I have to be picky about who I help and how and what it does to me but that is okay, because it is necessary.
The Black Panther Party knew this; other large groups can know this. We have to make our own alternatives, whether it is they themselves that survive, or our strongest ideas copied by the powerful, even if weakened. It is acted independence that truly threatens power, especially in a world where they cannot–yet–so easily threaten to kill all of us and jail us.
Privilege breeds ignorance. So much ignorance and so much callousness that I want to scratch their eyes out. Sometimes because I know I’ve been that ignorant, or because they remind me what keeps the world unfair. Sometimes the more so because I was never, ever that callous–because all I can see in them is how they’ll be rewarded by the world and how little they deserve anything. Sometimes all the more so because I know that it would violate the whole point, my principles themselves, to try to use violence to solve problems of violence.
Violence destroys. Violence creates violence and that destroys. Prisons create violence that harms the captives and the captors–we should be desperate for alternatives, we are, but we don’t see it. Humans have staved off so much of nature’s violence in so many places that most of it comes from other humans now. Or from human pride, the powerful being unwilling to make plans to move, to adapt to our planet’s unpredictabilities and inevitabilities. The powerful knowing they will have so much more recourse than others.
Hate is easy. We all have “others” we hate and that is easy. But love and respect are things you can have, hold, and keep on pushing toward others. Gradually more of them will value these things.
I am not the only one who thinks these things. Who has learned to struggle against my flaws and make the world better. I am not the only one who feels overwhelmed and inadequate and tries so hard but still lets people down sometimes. I have my own self though, my own way of being. A “person-shaped space” in the world. For now.
Nations exist only in organized imagination, after all. Imagination is reality.
Activism is 2 parts thinking, 1 part action, or so I told someone off the top of my head two days ago. Perhaps I meant 1 part thinking for yourself, 1 part struggling to think with others, 1 part action.
I am good at listening. But I still must remember that when someone wants to be seen and heard and understood, let them do it on their terms, and figure out gradually how to meet them. I am getting better at that.
I am bad at being okay with good people not liking me. With taking up a space when I know I have been asked to be there, when I know it is better for me to be there than not to, with people resenting me because of their own mistakes and flaws and refusals. It will not always matter to people that I can be supportive, that I know I’m not perfect. They can make me feel worthless and wrong without even meaning to–but I can heal from that and know what process it is a part of.
I am even bad sometimes at casually socializing with good people who do like me, respect me, or even love me; but it is okay if I am quiet and there and different. I must trust people to eventually show me that.
This list is in a bad order. That is okay. In a year or two I might look back on this and think it woefully inadequate. That is okay. Maybe someone will like it or even need it. Maybe I just need it written.