Welcome to the Resistance by John Erickson


john-womens-marchThere comes a time in all of our lives when we have to make important decisions. What do I believe in? Who do I want to be? What and who will I stand up for? There has been a lot going on in the world lately and a lot of it, sadly, is pretty awful. While people are learning pretty quickly that elections have very real and long-lasting consequences, what is critical to make clear in the next 4 years of this fascist regime isn’t just that we are taking to the streets to make our voices heard, but that we are willing to disrupt society at every turn to make sure that people on the other side of the proverbial political coin know we will not go gently into that good night.

I’ve been questioning G-d a lot lately; wondering what has happened to that shining “City on a hill” that John Winthrop called for in his 1630 sermon “A Model of Christian Charity.” The idea that the United States of America is “G-d’s country” is based in an American exceptionalism based not only the rich bounty of land and resources many would soon benefit from, but also on the potential for a different kind of society that America represented in a world full of monarchs.

Many Presidents have often recited the very same idea to the American people. From John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, America, although diverse and full of various communities from all walks of life, is presented as a beacon for prosperity, freedom, and dreamers. For myself (and many others I’m sure), that idea was called into question on November 8, 2016. We had come so far in the struggle for and the potential achievement of the “American Experiment” only to fall before we got to the top and, as we have all felt since then, hit every jagged rock on our journey back down to the bottom. However, what we need to remember is that we’re not anywhere close to the bottom yet; all the symbolic bruises and scars we each have will only continue to grow as we keep tumbling down the rabbit hole.

Although the hits keep coming, I refuse to let them get me down. I refuse to sit back and watch the country and communities I love be attacked by a tyrant and his cronies looking to cash in on people’s lives.

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On January 21, 2017, I saw the resistance rise. For me, the Women’s March was more than just 750,000 people in Los Angeles alone, from all walks of life taking part in a communal action across the world, it was an accumulation of what is not only possible but also the hope and dream of what is still to come.

What a lot of people do not know is that while I too, was a part of the crowd, I was also behind the scenes working on the march here in Los Angeles. I was fortunate enough to be 1 of the 13 co-organizers of the march, a group that included women I now call my heroes.  Although I do not think that I’ll ever be able to put into words what the march or being part of its organization means to me, the one thing I do know for sure, now, more than ever, is that we are always stronger together.

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At the march, we went from “I” to “We.” We became part of something that we will never be able to understand. If that isn’t G-d, I do not know what else it would be. While November 8 had me questioning my faith, January 21 brought it back full force.

The night before the march, I was with three of my closest friends. We laughed, we cried, we shared in the love that we have for this country and most importantly, the love we have for each other. Falling asleep that night, the following quote kept me awake. I didn’t understand why until I got home after the march. The quote is:

The Devil whispered in my ear,
“You’re not strong enough to withstand the storm.”
Today I whispered in the Devil’s ear,
“I am the storm.”

While I believe the quote is perfect as it is, the only thing that I’d change is that on January 21, “I” didn’t just whisper in the Devil’s ear, “We” did.

Welcome to the resistance, my friends. The march happened. We all went home changed and more awake than ever before. Now, the only remaining question I have for you is: what’s next?

John Erickson is a Ph.D. Candidate in American Religious History at Claremont Graduate University and holds an MA in Women’s Studies in Religion; an MA in Applied Women’s Studies; and a BA in English and Women’s Studies.  His areas of focus are women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, LGBT history, American religious history, and 20th and 19th-century American women’s history.  John is currently the Community Events Technician for the City of West Hollywood where he works on community events related to women, gender, sexuality, and human rights issues.   

 

 

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Categories: Activism, American History, Belief, Feminism, Feminist Ethics, General, Men and Feminism, Politics

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22 replies

  1. Who is going to Georgia to register and speak to voters? The first seat we can win, if we try. Who is going to run as a democrat, a feminist, an anti-racist, a progressive for the seat?
    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/democrats-weak-contesting-georgia-district-trump-barely-won-877467203665
    We have to get serious about retaking the congress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a critical point Carol! I plan on working extra hard in Nevada in 2018 to re-elect a progressive Democrat to take over Heller’s seat! 2018 is not favorable to Democrats but we must get out and take back a chamber on congress! Sadly, the House is so gerrymandered, we need legal intervention ther.e

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  2. Great post, John. In answer to your question, what’s next, among many daily nexts, a big next is the march on Washington, March 10th in support of Standing Rock. There are a number of huge issues that dovetail in what has become a movement: The sovereign rights of tribal nations, the rights of all of us–not just human but animal and plant–to clean water. The danger and recklessness of the fossil fuel industry, how to hold that industry accountable. The need to invest in renewable energy. If you can’t come to Washington, do research on the banks that have invested in Dakota Access Pipeline. Seattle, WA, Davis, CA have already divested. NYC may follow suite. It is a small gesture, but I canceled my CITI card, because Citibank is an investor. We are all welcome and needed in a multi-facted resistance. Hope to see some of you in Washington DC March 10th!

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  3. I agree with Carol, and Rachel Maddow, we need more women in congress and we need that seat in Georgia. However, there are apparently 15 new women who will be sworn into congress in 2017, and most of them, happily, will indeed be Democrats, so that might be of help — here’s the complete list I found online.

    Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Democrat, Illinois
    Sen. Kamala Harris, Democrat, California
    Sen. Maggie Hassan, Democrat, New Hampshire
    Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Democrat, Nevada

    Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, Democrat, California
    Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican, Wyoming
    Rep. Val Demings. Democrat, Florida
    Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez, Republican, Puerto Rico
    Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Democrat, Hawaii
    Rep. Pramila Jayapa, Democrat, Washington
    Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Democrat, Florida
    Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Democrat, Delaware
    Rep. Jacky Rosen, Democrat, Nevada
    Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, Democrat, New Hampshire
    Rep. Claudia Tenney, Republican, New York

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  4. There are many ways to resist. John Milton also lived in tumultuous times (one of the English civil wars). Milton was a Puritan, but he was less “puritanical” than some of his fellows. Some of us, who don’t want to take to the streets ourselves, might find other–quieter, sneakier–ways to resist. Here is Milton’s sonnet about his blindness:

    WHEN I consider how my light is spent
    E’re half my days, in this dark world and wide,
    And that one Talent which is death to hide,
    Lodg’d with me useless, though my Soul more bent
    To serve therewith my Maker, and present 5
    My true account, least he returning chide,
    Doth God exact day-labour, light deny’d,
    I fondly ask; But patience to prevent
    That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
    Either man’s work or his own gifts, who best 10
    Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
    Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
    And post o’re Land and Ocean without rest:
    They also serve who only stand and waite.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks, John, for letting us know that you were one of the people organizing the Women’s March in LA. I was in DC, marching with my daughter, and the energy of that march has kept me writing letters, letters to the editor, and most importantly making telephone calls to my congresspeople. We have to keep on keeping on until we get rid of Trump and Pence (which looks more possible today than yesterday)!

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  6. A wonderful post and everything you and the other people commenting said is so true. I just want to give a shout out to you and all the organizers of the various marches. I was at the Boston march and one very important reason it was such a success – and I’m sure this is true across the marches – was the expertise, commitment, and very hard work of the organizers. In the last week or so before the march, the number of people registered increased from 20,000 to 40,000 to finally 70,000 and about 200,000 actually showed up. And everything went off perfectly – communication, security, the speakers and sound system, etc. — despite the fact that almost three times the number of people they had planned for attended. You are all amazing!

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  7. PS It must have felt really great to have helped to organize such a huge and powerful march.

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    • I do not think I”ll ever be able to put how I felt or still feel into words; it was wonderful but to look out and see that many people marching for a common purpose was life changing.

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  8. Many, including myself, are not on the front line, but are praying and fighting spiritual warfare. Regardless of what things look like, God is still in control.

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  9. Well said. I marched in DC and for me the most profound experience happened when the singer, Janelle Monae, brought the mothers of the Black Lives Matter movement and led us in a call and response. We as an audience shouted “say their name” and mothers shouted the name of their child who had been killed. Over and over we shouted “say their name” until the mothers’ voices cracked and the buildings on the Mall echoed a mixture of shared grief & defiance. I became We. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment! It was life changing. I can only imagine what that experience would have been like. Dr. Melina Abdulla from Black Lives Matter in Los Angeles spoke and she said things that people in the crowd needed to hear and continue to hear.

      Liked by 1 person

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