Saturday, December 3, 2016

"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”

I haven't posted since the election, because I keep waiting for some profound idea to come to my head, but I'm still just stumbling about and trying to evolve coherent thoughts.  Clearly, I'm enraged and saddened.  I'm confused and scared to a point that it has truly impacted my mental health.  That's pretty incredible, right?  From an election?  I'm an anxious, avoidant guy, there's no doubt about that, but this has impacted my perception of reality.  I'm terrified for all my friends and for billions I don't know.  Are my friends going to find themselves un-married one day?  Did Trump just reignite the ire of India about Pakistan?  And China about Taiwan?  Is my Taiwanese friend now stuck in a mess because Teflon Don can't help but middle finger China?  Are we going to have a bathroom bill nationwide?  Is California's smog coming back?  Are we going to fuck public schools up forever because rich people like rich schools but don't want to pay for them?

I'm terrified for myself, too, since I'm some sort of scientist and I rely on federal research dollars to figure out ways to stop locking up minorities and poor children.  Gee, I wonder how that'll work in a "law and order" society.  Not well, I imagine.

I think the end result from all of this is that I am again reminded of why I'm in social work.  Social work is about resistance.  It's about ethical fortitude and social justice.  Community-building and unification.  It's a values-based discipline that represents and supports the underrepresented and the disenfranchised.  And since that's going to be a solid 40% of the country in 6 weeks, it's important that social workers unite to start and lead movements and to prop up those who are most affected.

As a kid, I was rebellious and angry and I wanted to "fight the system," although, you know, I was 14 and couldn't clearly explicate what "the system" was or why it made me angry.  But, I knew some people were not treated fairly.  Some people had it harder than others, some were not treated as people at all, and that there were structural reasons for this was inherently wrong..  I had it ok in some ways, hard in others, but I knew I had to help people with whatever privilege I was given or earned.  What good is being human if not to help other humans?  To leave the world in a better place than it was provided?  It's what brought me to social work, which I'm now convinced is the progenitor of punk rock.  Exposing power structures, DIYing the hell out of everything, breaking down barriers and forming a community of inclusion. On top of it, we will kick in your door and save your children from whatever horrific shit you're doing to them.  We will save you from yourself.

This new leadership feels like it's going to bleed into every aspect of life I've ever taken for granted as "normal."  We became complacent, assuming the world was progressing slowly, but surely.  That's now in jeopardy.  We will see new barriers, new oppression, new dangers to people's lives, in addition to a resurgence of the old ones.

It's time that we Jane Addams the fuck out of this country.  It's time we kick complacency in the shins, unite, and undo the wrongs we see around us.

We can laugh about 2016 being a dumpster fire or whatever, but I'm putting it out here now that 2017 is on notice.  It's time we secure the good for all of us.  And if 2017 pulls any of the bullshit we've seen this year, we're going to have to fuck it up.

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