We’re a year out from that infamous speech where Mich McConnell somehow thought it would be a good idea to speak of his colleague, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, like an errant grade-schooler. It was a crystallized moment of dismissal and disrespect that catalyzed the feelings of a nation and created a rallying cry.
“Nevertheless, she persisted.”
The collective response from anyone with any cause at all was a collective “Fuck yeah, she did.” What was supposed to be a condemnation was taken as high praise. It was a very public and very clear reminder that activism isn’t a single act. It takes hard work, time, and perseverance. It takes persistence.
I worried, at the time, that there would be no persistence. It is easy to get angry, it’s hard to stay angry. It is so easy to get used to the status quo, no matter un-quo that status might be. After a couple of months, it can easily become the new normal. It seems my fears were unfounded.
This administration it refuses to let dust settle. Their key strategy for dealing with angry hornets is to kick their nests harder. They haven’t given anyone the chance to settle down, and to get used to the water temperature. They have kept people angry and the incompetent thrashing about keeps churning up hidden detritus throughout their fetid pool. They have failed to drain the swamp, but we’re getting a really good look at what is in it and had previously settled to the bottom. They continue to pile fuel on the fire of anyone with a hint of compassion for the poor, the sick, the displaced, the weak and the persecuted.
The constant deluge of borderline criminal and childishly tyrannical behavior has kept people awake and angry and the effects are starting to be seen. Women’s marches happened again. Serial abuses of women are getting exposed and ousted from positions of power. #MeToo and #TimesUp are making the shitty treatment of women both incredibly public and viscerally personal. The divisive #TakeAKnee movement gets more and more support and is spreading from footballers to veterans all over the country. Longstanding, institutionalized systems of abuse and oppression might actually be changing.
Good Job, Mitch. Nice work Donald.
Like any good movement, this one inspired no shortage of art, and there’s nothing like some good protest art. Here on the blog, four of use were inspired enough to throw down designs in support of the cause
But we were by no means the only ones. There are something like a thousand designs available on Redbubble, many donating their proceeds to causes like the ACLU. There are Pinterest Boards teeming with images of all kinds with variations of the theme scrawled across them. My favourite pieces, though, are the tattoos. There are no shortage of people permanently inking McConnell’s quote into their flesh.
I’d rather in every way that there was no need for the persistent resistance against an increasingly tyrannical government, but I’m proud to watch all of the protests. Watching the exhausted population continue to cry out, march, and fight back in whatever big and small ways they can gives me some hope for the future. Even the wealthy and comfortable have been largely unwilling to settle and accept the state of things as the new normal.
One year out, we’re tired, we’re fighting on too many fronts, but we’re still fighting.