Usually, on a Friday, I try to post some articles... but I just switched that super lean post to next Friday.
Right now it is nearly Thursday (6/16), and I have just finished a marathon day of listening to the Democratic filibuster (why doesn't it have two l's?) while I worked on several projects.
I am a news nerd, well, just nerd in general, so it is not surprising that given the opportunity, I might tune into just this kind of thing. At various points in the 13 hours I watched/listened, I also listened to other shows.
But, I felt I needed to stay with Chris Murphy and his crew, not only out of solidarity for the cause, but because they were doing it right. I knew that the chamber they were standing in was empty but for those talking or waiting to talk. I needed to be their witness.
Witnessing is so very important.
And this is a cause that pulls on my heart like many others do not.
I had nightmares, as a teacher, of having gun violence in my work place ... long before Columbine.
I remember the day Columbine happened. For some reason, I was home from school that day, maybe it was our spring break. It was the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, and that was bad enough. But it was a school. And no matter the compassion I have for Dylan and Eric, my heart breaks for the survivors (including the families of the casualties).
Years later, I was colleagues with someone whose mother was the crisis liaison for the schools. The story of what her mother went through was just as devastating all those years later when we spoke about it.
I marched with the Million Moms in DC. But we couldn't, for some reason, sustain the effort.
Long before I knew what personal tragedy felt like, I was already mourning deeply the loss of people to this kind of massacre.
Each one of these tragedies tears at my soul in almost as deep a way as the loss of my siblings and my dear Sergio have. It seems impossible that these people who I do not know, who I will never know, reach me at this level. But, obviously, it is much bigger than just crazy empathy.
I won't lie... I feel as deeply for those who perpetrate these crimes. Their need, their pain is more than palpable. But like the child molesters, no pain or injury can justify hurting others.
The bottom line is the pain/grief is almost crippling for me.
This time, I felt that same urge Chris Murphy did ... before the day had ended on Sunday, I reached out to two women I know only through my pseudonym on fb to start something. We have already planned a strategy meeting for next week ... we have already started a fb page for organizing.
And then, this filibuster.
I think I learned more about hashtags today than I might need to know. I might be a master hashtagger now... something I thought I would never truly understand.
Indirectly, this will help me with all the other work endeavors I undertake.
Then, one of those women suggested I tune in to CSPAN and Chris Murphy's filibuster.
I didn't get excited, just interested.
I felt the need to stay.
It wasn't until we were rounding the 12th hour together and I was working the hashtags as hard as I could that hope started to creep in.
Let's be clear, it doesn't feel good exactly... it just feels the tiniest bit lighter to have hope... being hopeless is like living at the bottom of the well. I have pledged not to be there anymore for any length of time, let alone live there. So, I needed hope. I craved hope.
And in the working of the hashtags and the finding community with people I don't know -- people I may not have very much in common with, I found hope.
And it is sustaining me tonight -- almost euphorically.
I already have a post for tomorrow, it is Poetry Thursday after all.
So, I may have to update this next week after we have the vote... it's ok if the GOP fucks up today (THURSDAY which is actually yesterday by the time this is posted) because if they do, then we will just mobilize to get them voted out.
I am contemplating what it means that this kind of work gives me hope.
I keep dropping the red cape, and it keeps flying back on to my shoulders.
Too tired and too late to really worry about this now... tomorrow is another day.
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