“In the post-election, we will fight ugliness with wonder.”
- Willow Pennell
What Do I Do Now?
—There is no one right thing.
There is only SOMEthing.
Something requires an action.
Many of you are already, ceaselessly, in action. Or exhausted. Furious. Or afraid. Ready to say “adios" to the whole human race. What normal person wouldn’t consider all those things?
This is a letter for those who need a little juice.
You will see many around you jumping into a group, an action, a strategy. Go get’em.
Some may take a month or so to realign, to see what fits best. Patience pays off.
Some will be re-focussing their job, their social life, their Sundays. Others might be devoting themselves full-time. It won’t all look the same.
Some will be in ill health, others may not sleep. We are each other’s inspiration, not competition.
If you see a friend doing “nothing,” hold out your hand. Tenderness might be step one.
In a Hurry? —Good.
Here’s a starting place to remember who’s got their act together and is ready, tomorrow, for your time +/or money:
It’s an alphabetical, INDEX list of organizations (with vetted integrity) who are hip-deep in strategy and action. It’s not everybody, but it’s a start.
Put YOUR suggestions in the comments below! You might open the door for someone else.
Organizations are ready for you. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
They talk to each other, too. There is a broad popular coalition and you’re going to be in the middle of it.
Spend some time figuring out where you fit in today.
Take the time to re-align with organizations that make you proud.
Protest with your Body
Not everyone has the time or health to do this, but those who can, applaud and defend them.
Civil disobedience is an art--- it’s a discipline and there are veterans who will teach you. Practice.
—Wanna go to Standing Rock tomorrow? They need to winterize right now, they need carpenters.
—Got time to spend the night at the courthouse, or the White House? Call the groups above and get going.
Demonstrate like your number counts. Cuz it does.
Speaking of bodies: I love a good-looking symbol. Wear that pin, that t-shirt, that hat that proclaims what you are and whom you defend.
Your clothes start conversations and we need more of them.
Calling and Writing Our Representatives 'Til We Break Their Phone Banks
A truly great woman, Kara Waite, put this list together below. If you have FIVE MINUTES a day, you can make the world move.
If you live in a blue state: It’s not futile! Numbers and head counts are a big deal.
Leverage is everything.
First Things First
If you or your family are personally under attack — report it, defend yourself, and notify all your allies.
You have more allies than you think.
The watchful and the targeted know that attacks are nothing new— bigotry and intolerance didn’t arrive yesterday— but here’s the silver lining: There is MORE energy right to repudiate violence than EVER before.
Many in neighborhood groups, workplaces, schools, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system are as outraged, if not more so, than anyone else. You are not alone.
Enough with the Rehash— End Recriminations
Your condemnations about yesterday do nothing for tomorrow’s opportunities.
None of that matters now.
Connect with friends and family... and strangers, in small and big ways.
Don’t make an isolating personal decisions in the next three months.
This period is going to evolve A LOT in the coming weeks. —No divorces, no disappearing acts, no evictions, no sudden vices, no cutting someone out of your will, no ultimatums… just put a pause on it. You can always return to it in 2017. Right now, ride the wave.
Beauty, Truth, Poetry — Always Works
Defend the arts. Tell stories. Listen to the weather because Mother Nature doesn’t give a shit who’s President.
Everyone has turned to artists in this time-- Have you notice the lines around the block for live theater, live music, something REAL?
This election, on every level, was evidence of collapse. Of education, of honesty, of literacy, of an invigorated press, of historical memory.
Artists, this is our moment. You have a big idea, this is the time to move.
(You say, "Hey Susie, What are YOU personally going to do?"
(I have flaws and blank boxes in my education. I’m not a renaissance man.
(But... I’m a writer, performer, producer, organizer,and an educator. So you’re going to hear a lot of my big mouth... You’re going to see my activism in my work, at the ACLU, in court, at bookstores, at my schools, in my neighborhood community organizations, at the White House inauguration, at Lady Parts Justice, all kinds of things.
(I’m kinda old and grouchy now. But I know how to write anything, argue anything, lead anything, manage anything, convince anybody, talk to every kind of person, print, publish, design, seduce, sell, and galvanize. Back in the day, I sold vibrators to lesbians and socialism to Teamsters. I live in the real world. You call me if you need me...)
Apathy, or: What To Do About Shitty Attitudes
“It’s more of the same, no one should be surprised.”
—Actually, it’s worse, because this President Elect ran on state-sanctioned intolerance and openly venal corruption.
“It’s never been this bad.”
Oh yes; it has.
We have had state-sanctioned violence against citizens before, in my lifetime and certainly before. Hello, 1968. Hello, Chicago, Kent State, Jackson State, Berkeley. Nixon’s corruption blew the roof off. Reagan called for a bloodbath against our own citizens and presided over an AIDS die-off with complete indifference.
There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part.
You can't even passively take part!
And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop!
And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it
— that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
“But I can’t get up.”
This one happened to me.
Don’t worry, at some point you are going to get bored and follow that impulse right into the shower. You'll head outside, and all of a sudden, you’re moving again. I promise.
“I refuse to work with ____________"
Duly noted. No one is keeping your seat warm at the House of Your Antipathy. Move on to welcome pastures. Someone else needs the wood.
“We’re going to be on the defensive for years now.”
A popular coalition of many interests is not going to let the admin slide on ANYTHING. On the Supreme Court, on climate change, corruption, civil rights, justice, racism, sexism, xenophobia, sexual freedom, NOTHING.
Look at Elizabeth Warren going after Trump on his con-artists betrayals the the working class already. Look at the new Muslim and Jewish groups who are banding together on anti-defamation. Look at school kids marching in the streets arm in arm. Look at those actors on the Hamilton Stage. Every day there is someone sticking their neck out.
Look AT HOW MUCH PEOPLE GIVE A DAMN.
You are living in interesting times.
One more time, repeat after me:
• Incendiary Poetry
• Community Defense
• Radical TLC
• Activism that moves the needle— READY? SET? GO!
Notes from 11.17 script “In Bed with Susie Bright”, November 17th, 2016