There’s a slogan in Alcoholics Anonymous that recovering alcoholics use to remind themselves and each other: “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
And so it goes with alcoholism and activism — to not change is to stagnate and die.
I went to the Women’s Rally in Louisville Sunday, Jan. 21 to register my general disappointment in Trumps’ election, my specific disappointment with white women who voted for him (which I consider a betrayal of women and every giant step for womankind we have ever made), and to support the strides women are making daily to level the patriarchy playing field. I cheered when Sadiqua Reynolds, now head of the Louisville Urban League, said she wouldn’t vote for a woman simply because she is a woman.
I cheered when a speaker said the churches, businesses and people in The West End existed there before and after elections, so maybe candidates for office could stop by anytime, not just when they declare their candidacy.
The shutting down of the hypocrisy was strong that day.
As a fan of Hannah Drake, the poet, instigator, truth teller and now Cosmopolitan writer, I was prepared for what she was going to say about racism and economic inequality. I knew her scorn for people who take credit for the foundation black women laid for the wealth and prosperity of the country, and the civil and human rights they work to secure now.
My stomach no longer flutters when I hear her ask white women what they will contribute to the success of black women. I don’t fidget when she asks people to recognize that white women have been made comfortable at the expense of black women for centuries, while black women have been enslaved, the subject of gynecological experiments, raped and brutalized without recourse of any kind, subjugated, oppressed and left out of economic opportunities through modernity, despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all of its prohibitions against racial discrimination.
What I didn’t anticipate at the rally was the complete lack of any new ideas.
I heard talk of getting women into the pipeline for local, state and national government, but that is not a new strategy. It is a great one, to be sure, and the swell of women running for office is at its highest we have witnessed. By itself, though, it’s not enough.
During one of the speeches, my friend turned to me and said, “They’re preaching to the choir.” Then it hit me.
We’re in a full-on echo chamber.
If we want to affect any lasting change for women and minorities, we have to find a way to get the message of equality and parity and autonomy and fairness and justice to the 53 percent of white women who voted for a man who is anathema to every single value I hold.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Who is running for governor, Kentucky? If Democrats continue to allow the same minds and money to choose candidates, we will lose the race in 2019 and slide further into the abyss of theocracy and poverty and illiteracy and joblessness, while enriching the 1 percent that we are in today. A new slate of new faces with new ideas is the shot Kentucky needs to empower us to dig out of the mine (and mind) in which we are trapped to our collective demise.
The city continues to offer false harbingers for progress.
Hotels go up all over downtown, healthcare companies move in, Greater Louisville Inc. calls itself tenacious and decries this is the year of the entrepreneur.
Yet, we are moving backward, not forward, and in obvious ways. California’s attorney general put us on notice that the state won’t do business here because our governor and legislature are anti-LGBTQ. Gov. Bevin (with the aid of the Turtle) wiped out in a fell swoop the one policy that positioned the state as a change-maker, the Affordable Care Act, and replaced it with his draconian work-for-your-Medicaid-you-lazy-slobs policy.
Also, as if we needed more evidence that our Chamber has little interest in anything other than the deepest pockets and how to best serve them, at its annual meeting, GLI patted itself on the back for right-to-work, and nailed its status quo coffin shut.
It’s time to leave the comfort of the echo chamber.