Winter is Coming
A mystic speaks of the future.
I have been feeling very agitated recently, so tonight’s message will be slightly more ranty than normal. So put on your seat belts, friends, we are headed toward a bumpy ride.
In my hometown of Washington, DC, the morass lifted suddenly last weekend. It was as if our collective sentence had been commuted, and suddenly we could breathe again.
Considering how the entire DC region was traumatized after the last presidential election, it makes sense that for a brief period, we felt such relief. We who has been walking, talking, eating and sleeping in the miasma of this administration justifiably raised our voices to celebrate.
Although the relief was palatable nationwide, we are not out of the woods just yet. Beyond the pandemic, climate change, and police brutality, we are still facing the dying echos of this fascist regime that refuses to go peacefully into that goodnight.
And so our work continues. We must continue to build toward the future we want to live in while connecting and creating resilient communities of transformation and change.
Food security, basic income, and universal health care are the tools we need to just survive the next few months. It is no longer enough to wait for a plan to fix everything. Communities are in dire need right now.
Stimulus checks are helpful, but folks on unemployment need extensions and more money. Free vaccines are good, but folks have put off so much medical care, there will be a backlog of health concerns beyond Covid. And foreclosures and evictions need to halted nationwide again. This is not the time to throw anyone into the nightmare of homelessness.
Minimum wages need to be livable, especially for the newly discovered essential workers. And it looks like PPE may be a job requirement long past the current scare.
And it is absolutely wonderful that so many folks have been giving away food to stave off widespread hunger. But many underserved communities will remain food deserts even as the jobs return.
Defunding the police seems so radical until one realizes how much of our community care we as a nation leave in the hands of people with guns. We have always needed more social and case workers, more counselors and therapists, and more mediators and peace keepers. We seem to get the adage, “When all you have is a hammer, everything comes to resemble a nail.” But what about community responses that only arrive with a gun?
White America especially needs to learn our true national history, and truth commissions at all levels would be a start. Can we at least start by telling the truth about the Drug War, Jim Crow, Slavery, and the longstanding war against First Nations?
And criminal behavior at the top should be met with incarceration just like it does at the bottom. We need proof that no one is above the law, not even a (former) president.
The actual science of climate change is actually not that difficult to understand. What we need to do is take out of the discussion the folks who profit from the devastation of the natural world. Their inclusion in the conversation muddies the clear facts.
And can we find a way to depoliticize our response to the pandemic? Gods, what a nightmare this has become!
And even the 70 or so million people that voted for Trump should realize that folks are hungry, sick and losing their homes. Even as they fail at empathy for others, surely even they can see how their own families are suffering.
And yes we have a lot to do beyond the current emergencies, and the gods know we had better get prepared for a smarter version of Trump before the next one rolls tanks down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Because what is needed is something this country hasn’t had for a very long time, wholesale citizen engagement beyond the elections. Remember too that it will fall to the marginalized to bear the brunt of this cold ass system if our allies and co-conspirators return to business as usual.
America, as we call ourselves defiantly, needs a megadose of truth plus decades of reparations and justice before we can ever relax our vigilance.
And so as we catch our collective breath and toast each other with spirits, do not delude yourself into thinking we are in the bright days of Spring. As the Stark clan repeatedly warned in the Game of Thrones, remember that “Winter is Coming”.
It rather famously ain’t over yet, and the reality is that this was just a test run. All that work you have been doing…pace yourself. We are going to be at it for a long time to come.