☆ November 15, 2016
I want to clarify something.
Fear is not meanness.
Protest is not meanness.
Anger is not meanness.
are somehow being used interchangeably with meanness (by some).
are somehow being used to justify meanness (by some).
Bigotry IS mean.
Hate IS mean.
And while bigotry and hate often grow from fear and anger, these words are not all interchangeable.
I think it’s obvious to anyone who has spent mere minutes reading my work that I don’t support Trump, and I think Pence is the second coming of Satan. I’m glad that Mike didn’t support Trump. BUT. I have friends who voted for Trump. It’s not unlikely that 100% of my ambulance crew voted for Trump. Wyoming had the distinction of being the state with the very largest percentage of Trump voters in the nation. And maybe I’m being sensitive, or maybe I’m being naive, but I’m having a hard time with this sentiment: “Now I’m the person who doesn’t love you, Trump voters. I don’t want to be. But you hate your neighbors.” And this: “A lot of people’s terror doesn’t come just from Trump being elected. It’s knowing half the country is enjoying the pain of the other half.” And this: “A Trump supporter just followed me on Instagram. I’m not sure how I feel about this.” These statements are real, they came from very intelligent artists. These statements, and others like them, make me so sad.
It makes me sad because it’s more division. It’s division based on one thing. And whether that thing is superficial or not is up for debate and whether that thing is inherent bigotry or not is up for debate, but from where I stand in Wyoming – from my experience and that alone – I don’t agree that all Trump voters are bigots. I don’t think the blanket statements are helping anything.
And this does not negate the fear! It does not negate the anger, or disregard the protest! It can all be true. I went to Planned Parenthood on Friday for my annual exam, as I have always done. But I caught myself, as I was leaving my house, wondering if I was going to be shot to death during my appointment. My privilege – being white, in a hetero relationship, with a job that allows me to spend the majority of my time exclusively with animals – means I only feel this fear sometimes, not all the time.
I was riding my horse this weekend, wearing a tank top with Mapplethorp’s Flag printed on it (I have been riding my horse daily in tank tops in the middle of November in Wyoming, what is this world?). I was out in the hills, completely alone, no sign of human life, much less other humans. But I wondered to myself, what if I was wearing this tank top in public today? What if people who weren’t familiar with Mapplethorp’s work and life just saw me with the American flag on my chest? What would they think of me, just from that? How many would hate me, just from that? How many would fear me, just from that?
I received this in a email, and am posting it with permission:
“Several weeks ago my partner said she saw Trump as a heyoka (Lakota clown who mirrors the dark side). The heyoka’s role is to illuminate the shadow and ultimately help the people. In my prayer this morning, in despair at the election, I got back immediately that you do not engage the heyoka. You stay seated on the ground and you do not give into the fear that the heyoka creates. Stay in your prayer. Stay out of speculation. These just feed that kind of energy.
I got very strongly that the best medicine for us as a people is to keep our homes peaceful and calm, to engage in our community, to do all the small things that make up a good life, to remain kind and thoughtful, to stay in our prayer. We are part of the nurturing, and we have no idea how many of our small acts are helping other people, who go on to do other small acts. Strong community, strong neighborhood, strong households.
I have to say that usually my prayers are short and I don’t get a whole lot of words back, only a feeling or two. But this was a kind of torrent and as I stood there with my sage burning, the wind came up very strongly. Lastly, I got that humor, art, and ceremony are crucial in these times. I hope this is helpful. Big hugs to you all. I am so glad to count you as my community.
Love, mitakuye oyasin (we are all related)”
–Caitlin Sullivan, Seattle
And lastly, this is really important. This is for everyone outraged by racism, white supremacy, the lies of those in power, the abuse of power by those in power, and systemic disregard for the environment. Please stand with Standing Rock TODAY!
Go to www.nodapldayofaction.org to find events in your area. TODAY. Trump has invested in two companies behind the DAPL, so if you want to hit him where it hurts, PROTEST THE DAPL.
Yesterday the Army Corps and The Obama Administration issued a statement that essentially told Water Protectors to wait. Today, across the nation, in every state, in every major city, we will tell the Army Corp and President Obama that their statement is not good enough. We will make it loud and clear that we demand a decision that honors Indigenous Rights, Human Rights, and Climate Justice! No easement for Dakota Access Pipeline! #IndigenousRising #NoDAPL #WaterIsLife