No one has been able to find the bottom of the pit of indecency we’ve been freefalling into of late, but, on December 12th, African American women put solid earth under our feet. They are leading the charge to end this unchecked madness. All of us are working together, yes, but African Americans and African American women in particular have been witness to a horror show of bias and disrespect for centuries. They know how to mobilize, and now—thank God—they (along with a cadre of free-thinking, beautiful, southern souls who believe in the common good) have reminded us that we have the power to bend the arc of history toward justice.
I’m no spokesperson for decency, by the way. I will spare you the indiscretions of my twenties, but suffice it to say that the only reason I didn’t get arrested multiple times was because I was a white girl with a Honda Accord. It’s ironic that suddenly it is the liberal left that is offended by the obscenity of the right: tax cuts for the wealthy, denial of basic medical care for the poor, carelessness with immigrant lives, and the final straw, pedophilia.
Aren’t we, on the left, supposed to be the naughty ones? We’ve got the drag queens and potheads on our side, after all. Aren’t we the ones always being accused of being immoral? Not anymore. The conservative hard right has ceded the moral high ground. Their terror of our “sinful” ways has led them down the road to Sodom and Gomorrah. Their leadership is overrun with greed, lies, and sanctioned sexual misconduct.
But the buck stopped with the black women of Alabama—supported by young people and white mothers who came out to say ENOUGH. The high ground has shifted. It belongs to those of us who model (and will legislate) in ways that tend the fertile ground beneath all of us, every last one of us: sinners and saints, little children and the elderly, school teachers and nurses, the wealthy and the poverty stricken.
Deep into this holiday season, I hear echoes of Michelle Obama in my heart. I am prouder of my country than I have ever been before because I see the power we—the majority—wield when we show up to vote. The census is coming in 2020. We need people in office who are going to return fairness to congressional districting so, at long last, we can have a representative government that looks like we do, we the people.
2018 is the wide awake turning point this nation has needed for a long time. This is the time to show up. This is the moment where we say No more. No more ass grabbing. No more families suffering without health care. No more military-grade automatic rifles in the hands of the insane. No more greed masquerading as morality.
Let’s make America great again. Let’s make it black and brown and all kinds of rainbow colors. Take your holiday season to rest up. Fatten up a bit. Take baths, and get your sleep. Spend time with the people you love. Call your senator every day and tell them to vote NO on the inhumane tax bill making its way through congress, but once you’ve done that raise a glass to sanity and hold on for the ride.
These women in Alabama just schooled me. They washed me clean of everything I thought I knew about electoral politics, so I plan to look to their leadership for guidance on what to do next. Here in my home state of Tennessee, I will be standing right behind them, wherever they need me—white skin, pink hat, clueless some of the time, but humble and ready all of the time. I’ve got two good hands and am ready to work.
They gave us all a shot of the antidote just in time, and I will be forever grateful for that.