In the hustle and bustle of the finals/holiday time, I have had the pleasant opportunity to see a lot of old family and friends. This also means that I have been involved in political and ideological discussions with those among them that disagree with a lot of my views. I had a really great experience with a very conservative uncle who was trying to show me how unprepared and under-qualified Barack Obama is when a lot of the knowledge I gained this semester finally came into play. It was when I was coming down from the high that occurs after you win an intellectual argument that my friend started talking about my beloved Obama, and how from recent news she understood that the priest who will be present at the Inauguration was in favor of Prop 8. I realized that I had been paying so little attention to him after his election that I didn't even know about the current controversy, having adopted the defense mechanism of brushing off any opposition as Fox News inspired. This was the first sign.
A few days before that, I was at a birthday party for a friend and Flobots came up on the iPod mix. I had only heard one song, "No Handlebars," but seeing as that was my summer anti-Dubya jam, I was psyched to get to listen to more of their songs. One of the girls at the party just happened to have a copy of the CD in her car that she no longer needed, being of the iPod persuasion, and she gave it to me as an early Christmas/sisters in the struggle gift. Since then, I've been jamming out to my inner insurgent in my car. I was moved so much by the lyrics of "Mayday" that I put a few lines as my Facebook status, which got me a lot of "?" comments over the next few days. I looked back at what I'd posted,
Fuck that. We don't give 'em any weight. True liberty and freedoms at stake. Peace will never become passé, live my life until my last day.
and suddenly I felt nervous and worried that these lyrics might send the wrong impression. Before Obama was elected these lyrics would have seemed normal on my page. I consistently posted statuses to report my current political outrage, and it was obvious (to me, at least, and those who think like I do) that these outbursts of pent-up rage were well-deserved and just another drop in the vast ocean of proof that America's youth were ready for change. My fear of sending the wrong message in that moment by continuing to voice my displeasure with the status quo was quite unsettling. That was the second sign.
When Obama won the election, everyone, including myself, was delirious with joy. People spilled onto streets across the world, celebrating as is normal for a sports team the election of Barack Obama, the change-agent. But, as I consistently reminded nay-sayers who warned that he could not possibly bring all of the change he spoke of, it wasn't only about him. "From the beginning," I would say, "he has told us that he is only the face of this movement. And in his acceptance speech, he reminded us again that he needed everyone to take their own responsibility to bring the change they seek. Electing him, as he said, was not the change we were looking for. It was only the opportunity to make that change a reality."
Now, faced with my growing apathy and disinterest in news channels, I am starting to worry, but only slightly. If I, having three Barack Obama bumper stickers, a flyer in both windows, and countless books, posters, and signs all over my house, can drop the Change-ball, I'm sure that many others with a lot more on their minds are doing the same thing. That's why I am up, way too late on Christmas day for those of us who still have siblings young enough to wake up early for presents, to remind myself and any readers out there of the charge that we have been given.
It is our time to make the changes we believe in. Barack Obama was elected as a result of massive grass-roots organizations and donations in small increments that everyone could afford. If anything, this campaign is proof that change really does come from the ground up. Those of us who were politicized without the help of the Obama campaign are those with the most to lose. We have to plug ourselves back in to whatever source it was that pushed us onward before and take our newfound knowledge of the true abilities of the American people and keep moving forward towards the future we know we deserve. Allowing our activism, and that of those around us, to fail now is like embracing the idea that feminism is dead. Just because we have won this very public victory does not guarantee that all of our demands will be met without a fight. The activists of this country came out in force to support someone who seemed to believe as they did, in the need for a new America. As much as it pains me to finally say this, though, he is just one man. He is a very powerful man, true, but with that powerful office come incredibly powerful political restraints that we do not have.
Whatever your cause, I just ask that you do like I am doing and take time to return to it this holiday season. Whether you are celebrating some spiritual ceremony or simply chillin the fuck out, this time without assignments and other topics clamoring for your attention is the perfect chance to reboot.
Lets start the new year right with resolutions to fight harder than ever before. In this renewed spirit, I present my WOmanifestA of 2009:
I am a woman, and I will not fear the feminine power within me.
I will celebrate my body and revere it as my connection to the heavenly bodies and earthly rhythms, and I will submit myself in awe to these ancient movements that I am cannot control.
I will become conscious of my thoughts and motivations, and I will then move consciously towards the things that better myself and this world.
I will not forget the injustices still present in this country.
I will not let this year go by without making a difference.
I will be the change.