Well, I haven’t updated this blog in roughly three years. It’s not that I haven’t been writing, it’s that I’ve have been writing elsewhere both on the web and in ink-and-paper publications, and most of my posts here were crossposts of those writings.
Often I need an outlet for personal thoughts, and just haven’t had a place to make those comments I don’t want to post on Pam’s House Blend or in the Trans Progressive column of LGBT Weekly. So, I think I’m going to start updating this blog again for when I have personal thoughts I don’t currently don’t have any appropriate place to share.
To begin with, I’ve written these general thoughts on activism elsewhere on the web, and I’m going to repeat those thoughts here:
Civil rights aren’t about you or me; civil rights aren’t about your demographics or mine. Instead, civil rights are about all of us, and what is — and what has been — at stake in all of the world’s civil rights movements is the human dignity of all of us.
It’s just not enough to know what we’re against; we have to know what we’re for, and then work and sacrifice for it.
I’ve engaged in activism that’s been behind the scenes — community activism that isn’t public. Some of that non-public community activism involves attempting to break ground by using myself as a test case. I recently was involved in changing public policy on the federal level by functioning as a test case, but the federal policy I worked for is now giving others a benefit that again has again been denied to me. And, not because I’m not eligible for that benefit, but the non-public action that I took to help create the benefit for others hasn’t fully ran its course behind the scenes. The change I helped put in process is being denied me because the process behind the scenes is still ongoing.
What’s in the best interest of communities isn’t always in the interest of individual community members; the path of least resistance is often in the best interest of an individual community member, but that path often doesn’t help other community members who, for whatever reason, aren’t afforded the opportunity to take that same path of least resistance.
In my recent behind the scenes case that’s still playing out, I was presented with the choice of doing what’s in my personal best interest or doing what is in the best interest of my community peers. Well, civil rights aren’t about me, and knowing what I’m for has ended up testing my personal value of working and sacrificing for what I believe in.
This hasn’t been an easy choice at all. I’ve wept over the decision to press ahead behind the scenes on this because of the personal cost of this decision — no one would fault me if I just gave up on this fight. I finding that in this particular instance I really, really just want to take the path of least resistance. I’m finding that doing what I believe is the right thing in this instance has turned out to be more personally painful than I thought it would be — hell, it was easier choice to go to jail over repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell than it’s been to live with the consequences of this recent choice.
And believe me, this isn’t me trying being to say how wonderful I am for just pressing forward; this is me just expressing frustrating feelings of dejection and hurt. It’s because working and sacrificing in this instance feels unbearable: I just want to just give the f*** up. If you asked me today if being an activist and living up to my own words is worth it, I’d be hard pressed to answer “yes.”
Well, I’m always quoting civil rights activists of past civil rights movements because those folk remind me that choosing more difficult paths for the civil rights of the collective us is the right choice. And, I often quote these personal heroes of mine to bolster my spirits when my spirits are down. This is one of those kind of times where bolstering is the reason I’m quoting one of my civil rights activist heroes.
So, here are a few quotes from Cesar Chavez that I’m remembering as I’m writing this piece…the quotes I’m trying to cling to while feeling personal despair:
- “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”
- “When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So, it’s how we use our lives that determines what kind of [people] we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life.”
And this one especially:
- “We draw our strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.”
I don’t feel especially strong today; I’m honestly not drawing any strength today from the despair I’m feeling. Maybe tomorrow…maybe tomorrow.