Tag Archive for resist

Determination

by Diana Dodd

I have a photograph of a small bird that has in the grasp of its claws two separate pieces of pond grass. One leg is extended to the right and the other to the left, and then it is leaning forward to get a sip of water. That is what I call determination.

Determination does not come easily. It requires careful thought and a willingness to do whatever is necessary to reach a goal. In the realm of resistance, determination is key, because there will be times when the resistance succeeds and times when it fails. How many times did the bird attempt his trial of derring do before he achieved the fine balance that brought him success. It is easy, as time goes by and more and more happens in our country, to lose sight of the fierce resolve we might have felt on election night.

In order for the bird to balance on the moment the picture was snapped were all the times that the grass gave way or he misjudged the distance to the goal of the water and he shook his head to clear it off, and try another route. There are many ways to resist. We can support candidates both local and state when the option arises or even consider trying to serve in public office ourselves. We can write to our legislators both state and federal to protect the things we hold dear. We can promote organizations that assist those whose rights are in jeopardy. And on top of this, we must vote.

This first 100 days of the president’s term have been like a constant barrage and as confusing as being in the throes of battle. It can be hard to see what is happening when so much mud is thrown in the water. We must remain vigilant and informed. If a small bird can find the balance in his life, we can find the balance in ours and the determination to stay in the resistance.

An Authentic Hero: My Rant on Resistance

 

by Jon Shaunessy

I don’t expect much from anyone any more.

I spent most of my life organizing people to stand up for something, almost anything, they could believe in, something greater and more important than themselves.

I retired from trying to make a living at it but found it impossible to quit completely. So I tried to find something simple, low key, and that wouldn’t matter too much if I [once again] failed miserably at changing anything:

What could possibly go wrong?

It was 2014 and, while climate change might eventually bring the human race to an early extinction, that was way off in the future and everything seemed to have its ups and downs and maybes. Al Gore had made it into a hit movie and no one asked him about it anymore.

I could dabble. I could take my time. No one would notice if I got nothing done for a few years or a few decades. At age 66 I only had a few decades left, so . . .

What could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile, back in my home town, a little college town in the upper left hand corner, they started building the biggest “luxury college dorm” the town had ever seen. The most grotesque, bloated, monument to hubris money could buy.

And only one man stood in their way.

But he’s not the hero.

But I helped him stand in the way because I thought maybe building huge projects in the middle of narrow streets and tiny apartments and condos would make a bad climate situation worse.

And no one else really cared. And the local papers, daily and weakly, looked the other way. And neighborhood groups stayed focused on neighborhood issues. Global issues had nothing to do with local people.

And then the phone rang.

Someone [let’s call her KLH because those aren’t really her initials and she doesn’t really want anyone to know her name] called me up, out of the blue, to ask if anything could be done to STOP THAT

GOD

DAMNED

NOISE!

She seemed to think that she, mere tenant, a mere college kid, had certain inalienable rights, equal to those of two billionaires living comfortably in a sunnier state in the same union.

Those God damned machines at that too fucking big project triggered symptoms of her PTSD* condition in 2015, before she ever heard them, before they moved their first cubic yard of dirt out of the way and into the dump trucks.

Feel it in her bones, ringing in her head.

Which she refused to ignore, refused to shut up and go away, like everyone else would. She would stand her ground while others drifted away. She would speak truth to power when no one else was listening. Just as she still does to this day.

Just as her sister, Joan, a simple farm girl in France in 1425, seeing and feeling visions that would save her nation but not her life, was labeled a crazy witch for acting on her feelings. They knew where she bivouacked and they knew what to do.

Or her sister, Rosa, in Montgomery, who just sat in her bus in 1955 because she knew right from wrong. And she knew her rights and she knew that the Klan* knew her address.

And the older and wiser leaders of the local NAACP chapter may have looked at her the way most people may look at KLH today. Foolishly idealistic if not clinically insane for saying what she says and never really backing down, never really being as polite as she sometimes acts.

All I felt was blessed, probably the way MLK* felt about Rosa or the Dauphin of France felt about Joan before him.

Blessed with someone, anyone, who would stand up to anyone, anything to get what she wanted.

Wanted passionately for herself, but also for others, more than herself.

So it’s over, right?

There’s really nothing anyone can do about it, right?

So England will win the Hundred Year’s War, right?

And it’s still segregation forever, right?

And we will never, ever, STOP THAT

GOD

DAMNED

NOISE!

Right?

Author’s Bio:  Jon Shaughnessy is a climate care organizer who thinks most people will only take steps to prevent climate chaos if people who already care [and know how to write] improve the “messaging” of the global environmental movement. He has learned from personal experience that most people are concerned but don’t see or hear anything that speaks directly to their situation in the world. He has met many amazing heroes in his lifetime in many different walks of life, in many different struggles, and hopes to find more people like the subject of this essay before he dies. Most recently, he has been associated with Friends of Climate Care, which can be contacted at 360/671-0248 or redjon76@yahoo.com.

The Benefits of Being Wrong

by Barbara Clarke

We were in Best Buy looking to buy a laptop. But first, we were looking for a geek in the familiar blue shirt. “Someone who looks smart and won’t talk down to us,” we agreed.

“Hey, how’s it going?” said a non-geeky looking young guy. We started to walk past him—too cool sounding—we were serious! But, given that it was a late Sunday afternoon and a sales-associate desert, we stopped. Tony, by name, turned out to be so knowledgeable, kind, and so many other fine attributes we couldn’t wait to get home to send off our five-star reviews of him.

Later that night, thinking about writing this blog on resistance, it hit me. Wanting to be right is really a form of resistance—to being wrong. Or that middle place where you are kind of right, but short changing yourself by closing your mind too soon. And then my own examples began to pour out of me. All of the times I had been so sure and had missed out on—well, life.

Here are a few of the costs and benefits of being wrong:

  • This is going to take too long or an even better one—a very long time—so why start? It can run the gamut of a long line for coffee at 7:00 a.m. to signing up to start a memoir. I’m 90,000 words into my memoir—thanks, Cami and classmates!
  • This is going to be too hard. I don’t have the skill set, the training, and of course, the MFA. Everyone in the class will be way ahead of me, right? Wrong. We are all there to learn, whatever our training. When I think I’m simply not good enough or know enough, I lose out. If it were just negative thinking, I’d be more lenient, but this is pressure from me on me to not be caught wrong.
  • I’d like to attend an RWB gathering on Saturday, but I don’t know anyone, and when I picture myself there, my heart races like those “wall-flower moments” from my teen years. What if no one talks to me? Wrong, so, so wrong! I found my tribe. And they are very talkative.

I’ve been wrong on these occasions and many others, driving home with regret as my faithful companion. Now that I am writing a memoir and doing a lot of digging deeper, I found these personal sources of my need to be right—or resisting being wrong:

  • I grew up in Missouri—the “show me” state. A blessing and a curse. We are given a finally honed bollox detector, passed down through the generations. My homeland favors black and white, right and wrong—not so keen on the color gray where more surprises, more choice, and fun reside.
  • I don’t “get those people.” This is so prevalent in today’s post-T_____ election world. I worked in the healthcare racket for fifteen years and can’t tell you how many executives and doctors refer to their patients—especially the ones they blame for their illness—as those people. So now when I see variants of this on FaceBook and in the harsh comments after articles and posts, I cringe.
  • Rather than feeling so right(eous), I’d rather try for understanding. I may not wind up having “those people” in my circle of friends, but at least I don’t want to think of them as the enemy?* Since I’m flawed, seriously so at times, why can’t they be?
  • Being right sometimes—well, it feels good. But, having to make snap or hard-edged judgments, even in Best Buy, to overcompensate for own my insecurities, close my mind and heart to all that lives in the gray area—these are my losses.

I leave you with my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, who, whenever I’m lost or at a loss for an open heart, reminds me:

“Becoming keenly and consistently aware of what’s good, true, and beautiful demands a discipline: we must open our eyes, minds, and hearts, and keep them open.”

*One disclaimer to my compassion quest: my noble venture does not apply to so many politicians. They earn every bit of the resistance we can muster!

 

Author’s Bio:  Barbara Clarke works as a freelance grant writer and is extremely tardy posting to her blog www.thiscertainage.com . She is not tardy and working very hard on The Shape of the Brain, a memoir, and grateful for Memory into Memoir coming into her life. Her first memoir, Getting to Home: Sojourn in a Perfect House, was published in 2009. She uses Beckett’s “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” as her mantra and writing guide. www.barbaraclarke.net

Understanding The Other

by Linda Lambert

You may remember Laura Rink’s first Resistance blog on Ignorance in which she sought “to understand my fellow Americans better,” those individuals who were other—not white, straight, or middle class as she is. She developed a substantive list of ten books.

Like Laura, I seek to deepen my understanding of others, to seek connection, and to have empathy. A whole lot of Americans, including members of my own family, voted differently than I did. To me, they are “other.” And that’s why I requested and picked up the following book at the South Whatcom Library: The Making of the President 2016.

Subtitled “How D______ T____ Orchestrated A Revolution,” and authored by a conservative political strategist who played a significant part in electing Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Roger Stone’s tome was an unlikely volume for me to tote home.

I am reading a book by a man who has written for Breitbart and Fox News, and who has been banned by CNN and MSNBC for his “politically incorrect” criticism of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Roger Stone is a guy who says the reporting standards of alternative media “are superior to the networks and the cable news behemoths.” To get a feel for who he is, watch this interview by Charlie Rose on CBS News.

I am reading a book by the author whose provocative tiles include The Man Who Killed Kennedy, The Case against LBJ, The Bush Crime Family, The Clintons’ War on Women, and Nixon’s Secrets.

On election night, so many of us were gobsmacked: “How could this have happened?” Roger Stone provides his answers, divided into three parts, in The Making of the President 2016 (362 pages):

  1. How D____ T_____ Hijacked the Republican Presidential Nomination
  2. How Hillary Clinton Stole the Democratic Presidential Nomination
  3. How T_____ won the White House.

(In writing this review, I have broken Red Wheelbarrow’s rule to avoid the name of the current president, but omitting his name from the title and headings of Stone’s book is unacceptable to this librarian.–The RWB webmaster made an editorial decision to blank out all but 45’s initials above)

I read with respect for an author who provides thirty (30!) pages of well-researched endnotes and for a writer who has contributed Op-Ed pieces to The New York Times. Yes, Stone is politically my opposite, but what he writes contributes to my understanding of those who voted for an individual I do not respect.

The election of our current president moved me, a newbie to the activist movement to Do Something! My wife and I marched in the Bellingham Women’s March. Then we joined Whatcom Undaunted, a newly formed group founded by Betsy Gross, one of dozens of groups under the Indivisible umbrella.

I lean on the twenty-five smart, involved women who meet every three weeks to have study sessions, share information, and promote action. You can check out our website built by Sue Ming and myself under Pam Helberg’s leadership. Work on the website has been my main contribution so far, but I have upped my attention to the League of Women Voters material and meetings and I strongly believe the quotation emblazoned on our website (“A leader once convinced that a particular course of action is the right one must be undaunted when the going gets tough.”—Ronald Reagan) and the description of our group: “We are a group of energized women dedicated to generating positive change.”

The act of resistance, too often heavy on pushing back, fighting back, and counteracting, necessitates forward movement, especially by those inclined toward the creative arts. As Toni Morrison said:

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

The writers in Red Wheelbarrow already knew that. That is why we publish a Resist essay every week.

Author’s Bio: Linda Q. Lambert is a retired community college library director, a recent graduate of the Stonecoast MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Maine, the mother of four sons and three daughters, and grandmother to thirteen. She also holds a masters degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California and one in library science from Emporia State University. She’s working on a bio-memoir of George Reuben Anderson, a civil war vet and her great grandfather. 

She inserted the initial Q in her name to honor the Quinbys who adopted her and to eliminate the alliterative overkill of Linda Lee Lambert. She is married to Amory Peck. Linda blogs at lindaqlambert.com

HOW TO RESIST CLIMATE DENIERS

by Nancy Adair

On the very first Earth Day, April 20, 1970, I joined hundreds of earth-lovers on Dunn Meadow, the wide lawn in front of our Student Union, for an event that was part march, part celebration.

Warm weather came early that year. We walked barefoot through the grass and dipped our toes into the crisp, clear Jordan River. We raised our faces to the glowing sun and let its glorious rays nourish our flower-children bodies all the way down to the chlorophyll. All was well with the earth.

Or was it? Speakers on soapboxes created a storm of controversy. They hurled thunderbolts of information us. Human folly was spoiling the earth.

Fossil fuels. Guilty!

Plastics. Guilty!

Aerosol. Guilty!

Students booed louder with each new charge.

The skeptical me stepped back, twisted a finger around a long strand of brown hair, and pondered the noise. Was this a hippie whim that would pass with time or a sinister plot by Tricky Nixon to distract us from Vietnam? I hate to be tricked by anyone, so here began my long quest for answers.

Which I need today more than ever.

Our new Environmental Protection Agency Director—former Attorney General from Oklahoma—is censoring the EPA, including its own website and Facebook page as well as new reports and findings. Research grants are frozen, even to scientists finishing Ph.D.s. Our new government policy is: The public must not be informed on environmental impact issues, not by the EPA nor by NOAA, our important weather center.

Ever debate a climate denier? They’re locked and loaded with fake news.

“Unprovable theories,” they sneer, “by liberals wanting regulations that will ruin our economy and employment.”

“Are you kidding me?” I reply. “Those theories you mention now pour out torrents of facts and evidence. Look at the changes since 1970: the winds in Bellingham, the earthquakes in Oklahoma, the violent hurricanes back east.”

The Climate Denier opens his umbrella and replies, “Climate comes in trends,” while his umbrella blows inside out.

“That’s half true,” I say, knowing half-truths can be more dangerous than lies.

Thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, a right-thinking President and father of our National Park Service, I can now argue the full truth of climate trends.

From the 2016 Centennial until last week, I have visited over fifty National Parks, including fossil beds and painted deserts, which are more than just pretty hills. They tell the story of climate trends. Each band of color represents an era of history in our land. From these bands, scientists discover evidence of climate change. The wider the band—sometimes representing millions of years—the slower the trend. Today, we have a rapid, man-made climate trend that is changing fast it will be represented by a narrow sliver of a band.

“Petrified Forest. Note hiker for perspective.”

What does this mean? A long, slow climate transition gives plants and animals time to change and adapt. In a rapid transition, species are shocked by change and go extinct.

Here in Washington State, the warming trend is elevating bacteria levels in our water, making our food fish toxic. It’s driving bugs further north, and humans don’t have time to adapt to their diseases. I never thought about mosquitos or deer ticks when I moved to Washington twenty years ago. Now I do. When the cockroaches show up, I’m outta here.

Last week in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, I learned how rapid climate change harms cultures. For 5,000 years the Navaho have lived in that Canyon. Our warming climate now spreads fires that burn their trees, crops, and homes, as well as their history, recorded as petroglyphs on sandstone. The decrease in snow and increase in rain creates flash floods that wash away river banks and expose or destroy precious artifacts.

Yet, while all these rapid changes take place, the climate deniers  in Washington, D.C. are gutting important agencies and making science political. Go to the Facebook page, Save EPA,   if you want to see the damage already done.

The March for Science on April 22 and The People’s Climate March on April 29  will show Washington that we resist policies which “threaten the future of our planet, the safety of our communities, and the health of our families.”

We don’t have time to wait until the new administration figures out climate change is real. Our situation is urgent.

It has been 47 years since I pledged my allegiance to our earth, and it’s time to renew that pledge. It’s time to march again.

Author’s Bio: In the 1980’s Nancy Adair left the U.S. with her diplomat husband, two babies, and a typewriter. After twenty-five years overseas, she now resides in Bellingham, where she turns her life experience into novels, blogs, and memoir. Her stories have recently won first-place awards with the Chanticleer Reviews and the Write Practice.