The trials of this extraordinary time have been many, yet this moment of anticipation and preparation feels more challenging than any before it. To me, the battle is not about candidates or an election - but the limits of hate and power of love. It is up to us to make sure that there actually is an arch in the American story that truly bends toward love and that is inseparable from justice.
Past slogans capture fragments of this moment and the exigencies that propel us. "Protect What You Love!" "We Are Many!" "Forward Together!" "If Not Us Who? If Not Now When?" All of these ring true and capture some aspect of the solidarity and action calling us together in this pivotal moment.
What feels different is the fear. The glorification of hate, the celebration of intimidation and violence in word and deed that permeates our country is poison to the potential for actually solving problems together. With the threats of an escalation of violence in the coming days it difficult not to succumb to fear. But of course, that is what these threats are meant to do - to either paralyze us into passivity or turn us ugly and destroy our bonds with one another.
As reports of people arming themselves have played on the radio - I too have been tempted to retreat into fear and ugliness. Why not arm myself? Wouldn't that be prudent for protecting my friends and family? But what toll does that investment of imagination and time actually take? To dwell in this fearful scenario is nauseating and lonely. It cannot manifest beauty, or truth, nor affirm the fundamental reality that we are all in this together. So, for the love of all that matters to me - I refuse it.
As I shared with a friend last night, I find guidance in the parable that says that there is a good wolf and a bad wolf that battle within each one of us. In that story, the child asks "which one will win?" The wise elder replies, "the one that you feed." So, in moments of fear, I am digging deep to find ways to feed the good wolf. Humor, beauty, and life affirming action is the only weapon I want to wield. This clarity of intention immediately makes me feel less anxious and more prepared for what awaits.
A mentor once said to me that "Opportunity favors the prepared." So, I wanted to remind myself - and you - that all of us have been preparing for this moment for a very long time. Your collaboration with and support of Backbone Campaign is manifesting beautiful, powerful images and actions. Sharing this connects me to you in a bond of gratitude, hope and solidarity. I thought you might feel the same if you knew the following:
We’ve sent GOBO messages to projectionists across the country (Texas, Maryland/DC, Wisconsin, Maine, Oregon, Washington and California and more) to address any number of contingencies and crises related to voter suppression, vote counting, and honoring election results. (photo below)
Our giant We the People banner is on its way to DC in case it is needed as a tool for literally and figuratively holding space for the values of democracy, liberty and justice for all - and the mission of creating a more perfect union.
- The Seattle banner crew has been deploying the VOTE VOTE VOTE banner over I-5 throughout the last month; Election Day message will read "Count All Votes / All Votes Count."
Our LED banners - made possible by our Builders Guild- will light up the nighttime marches with the Protect the Results coalition in Washington State.
Amy and I at Backbone HQ are deeply thankful to you for being part of the Backbone Campaign and for the many ways you make all this possible. Thank you. Together, we have everything we need to get through this perilous time, because we have each other. IF you are inspired to pitch-in to help, and able to do so, now would be a most excellent time to do so. No pressure - just gratitude and teamwork.
So, I invite you to join me, help me and help those with whom you lock arms to remember to feed the good wolf, be fiercely beautiful, and fight from a place of love.