I didn’t ever want to hear Brett Kavanaugh’s name again, but if it means that the FBI might grow a pair and investigate this dirtbag, bring him out. While impeaching a federal judge is rare, there is a process for it. If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, 5 Calls has a script for calling your Members of Congress.
Mock Funerals were first used in this country in 1765, just before the Stamp Act was scheduled to go into effect. On November 1, the Sons of Liberty marched through Newport, Rhode Island carrying a coffin marked “Old Freedom.” When the protestors reached the cemetery, a groan came from the coffin and a figure emerged – freedom was not dead! A battle between Freedom and the Angel of Death was played out in the graveyard to cheers and the ringing of Newport’s bells. Similar protests were staged on the same day in three other cities. The idea behind this method is to create a spectacle – one that onlookers can’t resist, and the people in power will notice.
From the early days of the Trump administration, the White House has been doing everything it can get away with to limit the role of the FBI. It’s time a coffin marked “FBI” was dragged down Pennsylvania Avenue and dropped at 1600. For updates on Kavanaugh, the climate crisis, and the other Riders of the Apocalypse, subscribe to 5 Calls for weekly updates on how to make your voice heard.
Receiving your Postage was the best kind of surprise. Like you, my grandparents were artists, and they often included small watercolor paintings or cray-pas illustrations in their letters to me. I would hold the envelopes to my nose before opening them to see if I could guess the medium they used. For a long time, researchers thought that pigeons used smell to find their way home, and your relationship to handwritten letters feels warm and familiar, like a kind of homing instinct. I so wish I could join your workshop this weekend, and since I can’t, I followed your prompt.
Dear Uncle Dick: before i had a name for who i am, i had you. when i think of you, my feet curl and stretch to free themselves, and soon they’re up and running back to that cabin in the woods, the lake still sparkling, the smell of sun on cedar shingles. i’m making dinner tonight! you called, and everyone laughed, but you pointed to me and then to bobby: yes, i’m making dinner, and they’ll help. you shooed all the grownups off to the lake and said c’mon kiddies, we’re going to make a real dinner party. you took us by the hands, your skin soft and safe, flecks of paint under your nails and in your hair, and the three of us skipped down that pine-hallowed stone road like thieves. for two hours, we waded waist-high in a field of queen anne’s lace, gathered the flowers up in our arms like they were bales of hay, and carried them home. when we’d piled them on the picnic table you said, go on, i’ll take it from here, and you poured yourself a drink. by the time you banged a spoon against the bottom of a dinner pot, the sun was longways along the lake’s edge and everyone was cranky from hunger. by then I’d pulled a sundress over my bathing suit, anticipating something from somewhere else, somewhere that smelled like gin and aftershave and conversation. what happened next is something i plan to take to my ever-after: as we made our way up from the lake, it was like the sun had set behind the water and rose inside the cabin. the first thing i noticed were the porch railings, wrapped in garlands of queen anne’s lace, thick green braids the size of my thighs. i reached for bobby’s hand and said look! but there was no need to show him, his mouth was an o, his brown eyes shining in the candlelight, because that was the next thing i noticed – the candles. hundreds of tea lights, maybe a thousand, you had filled that place with so much light, the cabin seemed winged. behind me, granny was laughing, oh dick, you’re something, and when i turned, granny and gramps and mom and dad were all laughing, too. come-come-come you called, before dinner gets cold. up the stairs, the pathway to the table was a petaled runway of green and white, on the table, vases of white petticoats, sprays in vodka bottles and medicine bottles, too. and at our places, each plate held a crown of queen anne’s lace. when we were adorned and laughing, you reappeared from the kitchen with a steaming pot, twirled your spoon in the air, and presented the meal with a flourish: hot dog stew for everyone! nothing could contain us then, whatever crankiness people had felt was gone, and it was then that i understood the most important lesson about entertaining: whether the food is good doesn’t matter, it’s all about presentation and connection. as you dished out the bowls, i remember the way you looked at my grandfather like he was something that could be eaten up, and i remember the way he beamed back at you when you ran your fingers through the bristles of his silver hair and placed another garland on his head. it was a smile i saw him make only once in all the time i knew him, a smile i see now he must have saved for you. and that’s when i knew that the words i had heard used to describe you – irresponsible, bankrupt, flamer, cirrhosis – they were all wrong, because when i imagine what god must be like, i think of you.
“Next year, Stewart will embark on adapting for the screen Lidia Yuknavitch’s book The Chronology of Water...listening to her speak about first reading the book sounds holy and indoctrinating, as if Stewart mainlined the words. “The way [Yuknavitch] talks about having a body, and the shame of having that. The way that she’s really dirty, embarrassing, weird, gross, a girl. It was a coming-of-age story I haven’t seen yet. I grew up watching fucking American Pie, these dudes jacking off in their socks like it was the most normal thing, and it was hilarious. Imagine a girl coming—it’s like, what, so scary and bizarre. I feel like I started reading her stuff, and she was articulating things that I’m like, ‘Dude, I didn’t have the words for that, but thank you.’”
In early August, my essay “The Borderland” was published at The Rumpus. The piece describes life in the border town my parents have called home for the past seventeen years. They moved to the Arizona/Mexico border to work as volunteer park rangers at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a protected biosphere and home to many Native American sacred sites.
Yesterday morning, this happened:
Quitobaquito springs is a sacred site of the Hia C’ed Oodham people. Federal laws waived by DHS for the construction of new border wall include:
In springtime, the arroyos fill with water and the desert floor swells with green. By July, the saguaros bloom red with fruit. Ha:sañ is the O’odham word for saguaro cactus, and Ha:sañ Bak means “the saguaro is ready.”
Before the first harvest, Tohono O’odham rub the meat of a fallen saguaro fruit on the body near the heart. When you enter the desert, you must have a clear mind and a good heart.
In the midst of Denmark laughing off Trump’s hints to buy Greenland, the Amazon is on fire. Brazil’s Bolsonaro claims “hoax,” saying that NGOs are setting the rainforest on fire in order to make him look bad. Another way of looking at it? Watch the rainforest burn, buy Greenland before it melts, and run away with your new BFF. The new normal sucks so bad it’s tempting to cover myself with couch cushions, but instead, I’ll offer you this little slice of joy:
What does this mean? GAME ON, sisters.
To understand the power of Method 42 (Motorcades), imagine what would happen if every Sunday morning for the next 440 days, all of us got in our cars and drove around our neighborhoods at 5 mph passing out voter registration and election information.
Imagine it from drone perspective.
The whole point of the 198 Methods is to be a consistent, unified presence – to be a recognizable FORCE. What that means is that wherever and wherever you see one of these methods in action, let as many people know it’s happening as you can as fast as you can, join in if you can, and keep doing it until November 3, 2020.
Ready to act now?
If you like to talk, go to 5 Calls, and if you like to write, try Postcards to Voters. Both are fantastic organizations consistently doing the work.
I’m excited to share that the first installment of my new political column, TURNING PURPLE, is up at The Rumpus! I’m a longtime fan of The Rumpus and thrilled to be a part of the team. The Borderland is the first of many hot button election issues that I’ll cover between now and November 2020.
“The personal is political” is a phrase that was popularized by feminist Carol Hanisch in 1969, and this first installment is a walk through my own story as a border-dweller and the deep roots of this country’s dehumanizing immigration policies. Artist Dara Herman Zierlein’s vivid artwork captures the energy of the border crisis and the beauty of the desert.
We can take turns. Pick any one of these 198 Methods and do one a day. Share them with your friends, and ask them to do one thing a day. Ask your friends to ask their friends to do one of these methods a day. When you see any of these methods in action, share it with everyone you know, and participate if you can.
We can march.
About the 3.5% Project
Research has shown that no repressive regime has survived the active sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population. There’s a playbook to fix this, and every week, I’m blogging a new method. Subscribe to receive your weekly method.
I went to bed furious and woke up afraid. Now that I’ve had my coffee, I’m back to rage. The footage of the crowd shouting “Send her back” at last night’s campaign rally has brought back the fear I felt in November 2016. We have every reason to be afraid. And we must fight this.
In April 2019, more than 1,000 parishioners made a Palm Sunday procession to a century-old Catholic chapel on the U.S.-Mexico border. Father Roy Snipes, known as the “Cowboy Priest,” led the procession as he does each year, but this year, the march took on new meaning. If the border wall is built, not only will it limit La parishioners’ access to La Lomita chapel, it will also cut off access to city services like 911 for people living on the other side.
From NPR: Mary McCord is a senior litigator at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, and she’s one of the lawyers representing the diocese. She says the church argues that the wall is inconsistent with Catholic teachings, “which includes this principle of universality that all people are equal and need to be treated as such, and provided with basic necessities of life. (The Historic Chapel At The Heart Of A Legal Fight Over The Border Wall, NPR)
The next court battle will be over the government’s plan to seize the land and start building.
WHY NONVIOLENT ACTION WORKS:
Before I move onto my writing day, I want to mention a recent example of Method 39 in action. When used as a vehicle for political protest, parades call attention to a particular grievance or point of view. A week ago today, the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City to the cheers of “EQUAL PAY!”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the parade celebrating with the team, and during the festivities, he signed an equal pay bill into law. Do you see the kind of power we hold? It reminded me of the first parade for women’s suffrage in Washington, DC in 1913. There were an estimated 10,000 participants, some of them U.S. senators and representatives who marched in support of their wives.
When the people in power join together with activists, change happens.
Watch this video before moving on with your day, and then let’s turn this fear and anger into energy and action.
I’m excited to share that my essay, “The Brazilian Healer and the Patron Saint of Impossible Causes,” has been published and featured on Longreads. This is not an easy story to tell, but it’s time. Here’s an excerpt:
The roosters started at 4:30 in the pasture behind the inn. On the second crow, I rolled onto my back and blinked at the jalousie window’s slatted light, considering my first day at The Casa. We were allowed to ask three questions, no more. A visit with the world’s most famous “spiritual surgeon” was like going to see the wizard.
Mariana was silent in the twin bed next to me, the sleep falling in loose spirals across her face. I pulled back the sheets and slipped inside. “Bom dia.”
“Bom dia, meu amor.” A soft sound from a distant place.
Seven and a half years later, I receive a text from a friend in Rio: “Did you see the news?” She links to a New York Times article: “Celebrity Healer in Brazil Is Accused of Sexually Abusing Followers.”
Read it on Longreads and if my story speaks to you, I’d be grateful if you would share it on Twitter. Thanks so much for your support all these years – more exciting writing and publishing news coming up soon!