I am a bleeding heart liberal. So sue me. I grew up with the Vietnam War and civil rights protests on the nightly news. I marched on Washington in the 1970s with my mother to support the ERA and attended a truly integrated high school where we got along for the most part and I went to the senior prom with a black friend. Which, according to another friend, “shocked the shit out of everybody.” Who knew? I didn’t notice. I was having a great time with a great guy.
Over the years, I have nurtured my left-wing righteous indignation by walking picket lines as a Hollywood camera assistant in the 1980s, and marching on Washington, again, in the 1990s in a NOW pro-choice rally. As a community reporter in the 2000s I worked at a newspaper that kept issues such as poverty and homelessness, AIDS and healthcare disparities in front of suburban readers. Last year, I attended a unity rally in front of Baltimore’s City Hall following the Freddie Gray unrest. And over the years I supported homeless shelters and food banks and other charities with money and donations.
But lately, besides keeping up what little charity I can afford and sounding off on Facebook and Twitter and on this blog, I feel like my righteous indignation is in need of more righteous action to back up my big mouth.
But since the election of DJT, I have vacillated between 1.) shopping for gas masks on amazon and trolling Twitter hashtags to find an angry protest to join and 2.) not giving a fuck about anything and binge watching “The Avengers.”
I try to live my values every day, but lately that righteous indignation and anger feels like a lot of hot air from my hot head that doesn’t make any difference at all. I suppose that’s called apathy, something that throughout my life I have disdained and tried hard not to succumb to.
This morning, as is usual on Saturday mornings in my Randallstown neighborhood, a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking. I don’t mind answering the door and talking to them, and I always do – although they seem particularly adept at catching me in the middle of breakfast when I’m still in my nightclothes. This morning a very earnest, tall young man of about 13 or so was at the door, holding a pamphlet and asking, “Can the dead really live again?” I didn’t answer his question, and told him Miss Peggy always comes and drops the magazines off to me, but that I’d take his pamphlet. I’m writing a novel right now (or trying to in my apathetic state) that has dead people in it, so the question interests me. I bid them a good day, and closed the door.
Inside the pamphlet was the Bible quote, “There is going to be a resurrection” (Acts 24:15 New World Translation). And I thought of all the people out there, like me. Bleeding heart liberals (go ahead, laugh if you want to) who have spent their lives trying to stand up against injustice and inequality and unfairness and hate, who are feeling kind of dead inside right now. Who see a rise in hate crimes and the specter of the KKK emerging from the shadows – while billionaire businessmen, women who support privatizing public education and xenophobes fill DJT’s cabinet – and wonder what the fuck? Nothing I have done in my life made any difference. So, what’s the point of fighting anymore?
But, being the battered optimist that I am (as well as one who ascribes to no religion) I am taking that quote, “There is going to be a resurrection,” as a fortune-cookie, hopeful moment, and am going to try to believe that all of those things I believe in and that I thought this country was moving toward will rise up, will be resurrected in the hearts and minds of people and that living those values of justice, equality, fairness and humanism do make a difference. Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking for a protest to join. Even though I may need to grab my Avengers DVDs and retreat from time to time…
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
(Revelation 12:14 – King James Version)