Talking about this presidency incites a great deal of rage given ethics and principles. Still, when Trump had swept states, the likelihood of his presidency wasn’t a surprise. Bearing witness to supporting Clinton too soon, aware of the two-party system’s implosion, what I learned from underemployment echoed. Who’s listening to the least?
This morning/afternoon on January 15th, I am catching up on the Women’s March. Their four-page statement makes sense. I appreciate the intent and I acknowledge that parts of me are there in spirit. The rush and high of mobilization, of crowds amassing for a cause bigger than themselves, there are few endeavors that are better.
Mass mobilizations are exhausting and expensive. Universalizing approaches speaks to the extent of their success. Experienced protesters attend in waves. The exhaustion and expense speaking to it–they care enough to know they need a break and need to pass on the torch. Some who take breaks on nationally recognized protests do not join ‘pop culture’ protests that undermine their years of blood, sweat, tears because their issues are not perceived as important. I saw as much with the work/research I follow as well as with the efforts from former allies to the campaign. The universalization of human rights, at its core, often presumes a trickle down effect. With whom it will start, remains the constant issue after the marchers have dispersed, the liter remains, and speakers’ throats ache with exhaustion.
Career protesters, the ones who make it to every regional or national mobilization are better thermometers of the probability of change. They never speak, they rarely write. What they do well; they last–because they listen. They listen and consider better than most. Again and again, I ask myself what I can hear between the lines. Between the lines requires looking beyond the violence Black Lives Matter and Movement 4 Black Liberation resists; beyond Standing Rock; beyond Oscar’s release and the release of all political prisoners.
How successful are we at convincing the indifferent of the inherent value of these (among other equally pertinent) movements? Decades after Roe V Wade, among other Civil Rights’ Laws, more than 50 years from the million man march, the focus on women is the great concern of those in power’s continued desire to police the body–the worker, the childbearer. And, to be clear, I separated them on purpose.
Because motherhood is yet to be perceived as work despite the continued responsibility women are expected to emotionally and psychologically carry. Challenging the right to abortion is about controlling and policing the purpose of sex. It is about stating that a person can solely have sex for the purpose of pro-creation in theory or in reality–because those incapable of biologically having children are not denied the possibility of sex. This denies the gravity of sexual violence as it does the lack of education regarding the complexity and nuances around reproduction. The right of a person to walk into life is not met with the state’s economic investment in providing that person access to basic needs.
The undervalued worker, the one not perceived responsible for other lives, increases in value when engaging in labor that has social value, not social need. Taking the potential of child-rearing out of the equation presumes that caring for others should not affect or influence one’s ability to contribute to the economy. Care work remains gendered and, in remaining gendered, does not factor into this conversation. The products that have value are not always the products of need. The effort of a job is not always met with equal level care for what it takes to get a job done. The ‘why’s’ behind these discrepancies has to do with why care, needs to be but isn’t discussed (despite research) when it comes to the value of any worker.
Taking the care out of work, like the standardization of education, drastically alters the potential of any work environment into building an ethical, beloved community. Literacy instead of having the time to spark creativity that leads to innovation for the majority; expects production, assimilation for the majority. Youth are expected to work, not to think when they/we become legally defined adults. The way standardizing education has been going, thinking is expected to have assigned value.
How do we address this? Resisting the lack of value in caring requires self-care and preservation, which needs to not be the contradiction it often feels like. Making the best choices requires sleeping & eating well while having access to needed health care. Having all three, though, still remains a privilege instead of a human need or right. Having all three charges many of us to consider how do we sustain dialog to ease collective access to more than the formally educated and employed? How do we write support for those least considered? How do we implement it?
These are the 2017 questions; the questions of our country’s political possibility. The revolution all of us want.