Make More Possible | October 29,2018
When we started writing this blog eight weeks ago we thought we had a pretty straightforward purpose: to inoculate against dog-whistle politics. It seemed obvious that some politicians were going to race and gender code words to try to divide voters, to build their own careers.
Then last week happened.
Our hearts go out to families and communities in Pittsburgh. And Louisville. And New York, and D.C., and Florida, and California.
The line from dog-whistles to hate-speech to right-wing political violence is unmistakable. And sadly predictable. Politicians have been warned. Studies have been published. Survivors have spoken out. Still, some politicians hide behind false equivalencies, whataboutism, and plausible deniability.
To this we say: we see you.
Your dog-whistle is disqualifying. Your anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ, anti-woman rhetoric is more than irresponsible; it is a contribution. It is participation. It is a building block of political violence.
But while we are angry, we can’t act out of anger. We won’t demonize or name-call. We also won’t act out of fear (though we’ll admit we do feel that too).
The people being targeted by right-wing hate are the very people who inspire us. People and communities who experience oppression, but still show up, still act together, they have something we want. That’s why we’re so invested in political healing. Developed by women of color, like Cara Page, it’s an active, deliberate response to the historic & everyday trauma that too many communities have lived through.
Political Healing: We All Need It
Want to find out more? We are trying to integrate political healing into our everyday work, like our Political Healing Day of Action happening today at our office. We won’t let fear paralyze us. We won’t let anger make us small. Together, we are #GreaterThanFear.
Private Pain and Public Memory
At TakeAction Minnesota, we have a simple set of values: we love and support each other, we tell the truth, we have enough, we figure it out together, and we heal together in public.
On Sunday afternoon, I (Kenza) came home to find my entire neighborhood packed with cars and people. (As I write this, my car is still parked… creatively.)
The Transgender Minnesotans rally stretched 40 blocks down Lake Street in Minneapolis, over the Marshall Street bridge, all the way to my neighborhood, Merriam Park. For hours, car horns honked wildly in solidarity and celebration of the trans community. It was a traffic jam of joy and a beautiful site of public healing.
As we look at the ways that private pain is turned into public memory and political healing, we’re brought to the powerful article written about Attorney General candidate Doug Wardlow in the Pioneer Press. (Doug Wardlow, LGBT rights and the gay man he allegedly bullied in high school.) It’s a firsthand account about high school bullying that brings private pain into public memory.
In 2018, no one should be held back because of their gender or sexuality. Doug Wardlow’s anti-LGBTQ+ views do not represent our values, or who we are as Minnesotans.
Here’s the truth: the consequences of Doug Wardlow in office are real. We love and support each other–and there’s no way we’re sitting this race out.
Keith Ellison has always fought for equal rights and justice. Tim Walz was the high school teacher who helped his students start the Gay Straight Alliance. We have candidates on the ballot who represent our values, who will fight to make more possible for all of us, no exception. That’s who we’re voting for.
Question of the Week
What sustains your love for Minnesota? Answer here. We love hearing from you.
For me (Kenza), it’s the people. I believe that, in general, Minnesotans want to do well and do good. We have a north star in this state and it points us toward progress.
For me (Chris), my love of Minnesota is sustained by our history. I feel challenged by it, by its contradictions. We’re both above average and unequal. We’re capable of both terrible violence and deep, active, compassionate response. One part Janteloven, one part political prairie fire: I love that we’re a work-in-progress.
See you on the doors. That’s a wrap.
– Kenza and Chris