I have been pretty silent the last few weeks.
Part of that has been because we are in the process of moving, and my house is filled with boxes and packing paper and my days are filled with conversations with moving companies, utility companies and closing attorneys.
But part of it is because I don’t know what to say.
Every time I listen to the news, there is something to be outraged about. And It isn’t manufactured – it’s real. Concentration camps for children, for example, is a real thing, and it is horrifying.
And crippling. The constant news cycle and the constant pinging of our attention creates spike after spike in our lizard brain, the oldest part of our brain that seeks to search out threats and protect us. The lizard brain in our head sees all of the outrage and seeks to escape the threat, but is also afraid to tune out, because you have to be alert in case another threat is coming.
You want to look away, you need to look away, but you are afraid to look away.
Part of my silence is because I don’t know what else I can say.
My outrage on Facebook is unlikely to change the mind of someone who believes that putting the infant child of someone who comes here seeking sanctuary in a cage is the right thing to do. That person and I don’t have a difference of opinion, we have a difference of morality.
But just because I don’t think there is anything to say doesn’t mean there is nothing to do – there is so much to do. Call your elected officials. Donate funds to organizations that seek to build the world you want. Protest. Insert yourself in the cogs and shut down the machine. Show up. Amplify the voices of those with less power and privilege than you have. Resist.
But as important as the work of resistance to the current world order is, it is also vital that we seek to build the world we want. The best critique of the existing world is the building of a better one. Viktor Frankl tells us that even in the Nazi death camps, there were people who sought to comfort others, to share their meager rations, who sacrificed for the good of others.
We cannot, on the day to day level, control what the Powers That Be do. But their actions have no impact on our responsibility to live into the world we desire to exist.
The government can never dictate what is right, only what is legal. Whether the Powers That Be respond with crushing cruelty to those who seek sanctuary or provide a welcoming hospitality, my responsibility is the same either way. The government does not make it possible to do the right thing – they can only make it easier.
They have the power to imprison brown babies. We have the responsibility to hide those babies.
They have the power to control the narrative that dehumanizes people. We have the responsibility to share a different narrative.
They have the power to strip the health care from people. We have the responsibility to band together and pool our resources to make sure each other is OK.
They have the power to terrorize. We have the responsibility to comfort.
They have the power to separate and divide. We have the responsibility to build and unite.
We are not powerless. We are many and they are few. Their plans require our cooperation, but our plans do not require them.
I am outraged, but in the midst of outrage, we have a responsibility to resist the current world order and to build a new one. And we can start that right where we are, today.