When I feel despair at the state of the world, I try to take the long view. Every generation seems to think they are living in the end times, but no one’s been right about that yet. We feel the pain of our era. Pain keeps us in the moment of pain. It seems eternal. It isn’t. Things are changing, for the better. It’s slow. But it’s real.
We’ve been in an abusive relationship with patriarchy and empire for a long time. As we confront it, the abuse escalates. It gets scarier. But it’s different because the old tactics no longer silence us. We have always seen the cycle of abuse and tried to stop it. Our efforts are working. The thing about abusive relationships is that it’s hard to imagine another way of being, or to imagine how we could possibly get there. We don’t leave all at once. We have to extricate ourselves carefully. It is arduous work. Keep yourself safe. Don’t give up on getting out.
This isn’t just about the United States; taking the long view also means taking the broad view.
I’m the first post-colonial birth in my family. My parents and elder siblings were born as subjects of the British Crown. Think about that. We are still decolonizing. Never mind being first generation American. I’m more interested in how this connects to the first post-colonial global generation. And, consider that our current president was born into colonialism on his father’s side—Obama was born in 1961, his dad was Kenyan, Kenya became an independent country in 1964. This is astonishing to me. The world is changing. We are changing it.
Yeah, we have work to do. I don’t believe there was a past golden age. I believe we are moving towards better times for more people. More voices are being heard. When you look around, look far and look deep. Don’t just think in terms of decades and nations. Think in terms of centuries and cultures. Be a citizen of the world, and know where you stand in history.
Keep yourself safe, but remember that change is risk. We don’t know where we’re going but we know we can’t stay here. It’s not about taking power back – we are taking it FOR THE FIRST TIME. We are looking our abusers in the eye. We are saying, “We never deserved this. We were never at fault. This was never our shame. And it stops now.”
Of course it doesn’t stop now— but we will keep saying it. We will keep saying it until it is true. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.
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