Posts Tagged ‘Election 2017’

  • Friend or Unfriend

    Date: 2017.01.31 | Category: GIFTS OF RESISTANCE 2017: creative writing | Response: 0

     

    I recoil every time a conservative FB friend posts something I vehemently disagree with.  I know I am not the only non conservative who has a handful of conservative friends, but I’m wondering, in this toxic national environment do we/do you “unfriend” them (whether they are on FB or not)?

    I listen to a meditation tape that asserts there is no good or bad energy—only too much energy.  I’m not sure if I believe energy is neutral; but, I do know that people whose values I don’t agree with zap my emotional energy.

    Yet, if we ostracize everyone we don’t agree with, doesn’t that leave no room for communication?  My conservative friends are, for the most part, kind, generous, and fun.  But, politically I feel I am being hypocritical if I don’t speak up, but mostly I don’t.

    I refuse to dialogue on FB with my conservative friends when they post their conservative views because too often I notice people who do so are bombarded with malicious, unintelligible replies.  I notice they also don’t respond to my liberal posts (which until recently were very limited).

    In person, I do ask questions or comment, but usually it becomes light banter between us, neither person willing to push their views.

    I admit I have family members and a few former friends who I have had confrontations with, and now we no longer speak to each other.  I admit, also, these confrontations have felt shaming, and because I am now, after years of therapy and bad relationships (not just intimate ones) aware of shaming and run from anyone I feel is shaming me, as fast as I can.

    Someone once told me there are people who we need out of our lives for our own health and sanity [I add, no matter how much we might love them], and the only thing we can do is pray for them/pray for each other.

    Truly, I do not know what my conservative friends think of my liberal/progressive, feminist views or if they read my political FB posts, but they, like me, don’t respond to anything political-just cute cat and dog videos (which is good, we all need comic relief sometimes).

    I am a mixed-race, feminist, baby boomer, recovering Christian, liberal/progressive (pro choice, pro immigration etc.) citizen who believes in unconditional love, but I am furious that my few (conservative/white) friends (especially the women) voted for Trump, or didn’t vote at all, and they can’t understand their action/inaction was a vote against their daughters, granddaughters, LGBT friends, non Christian friends, economically poor friends-was a vote against me (and, in my opinion, was a vote against themselves) .

    Now is not the time to agree to disagree!  As the saying goes, if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem.  However, the problem is who defines the problem and who defines the solution.

    Trump is not my president.

     

    ©Sherry Quan Lee

    January 31, 2017

  • My neighborhood Cub – a safe(er) space?

    Date: 2017.01.29 | Category: GIFTS OF RESISTANCE 2017: creative writing | Response: 0

    I shop for groceries at my neighborhood Cub in South Minneapolis, on the corner of Minnehaha and Lake. As grocery stores goes, it is unfancy, even by Cub standards. A hood Cub, as many have called it, but it has the lowest prices and is convenient for us who live around it. I’m not a grocery shopping fan (or any kind of shopping fan), so even though I can currently afford it, I do not make a trip or extra trips to the co-op or Whole Foods a part of my routine in order to acquire fancier, healthier, better sourced foods. I go to Cub, zip up and down the aisles for what I need, pack my bags up and go home. Sunday after Sunday afternoon.

    I have lived in near-South Minneapolis for over 40 years, so I’ve watched our neighborhoods and stores evolve. We’ve always been a diverse mix along Lake Street, and I honestly don’t know when shoppers at “my” Cub or Target became typically more brown than white, but it’s been that way for a very long time.

    Like everyone else getting their shopping chores done, I don’t normally think philosophically about these stores, who is in them, or anything symbolic or political at all. I just get my groceries, or toothpaste and toilet paper, and go to whatever is next on my list of errands.

    But the Sunday after the election I went grocery shopping feeling completely raw and started noticing we the shoppers, gliding up and down the aisles in our many languages, our after-church wear, our hijabs, our sweats, our ink and asymmetrical haircuts – our carts spilling with our kids and grandkids along with our foods.

    And we appeared unbothered. I imagined us collectively feeling safe(er) – or at least able to focus on just shopping. That may not be true. Folks may have been been feeling all kinds of ways, and “safe(er)” may not have been one of them.

    But I’m wanting to believe folks that day were not worrying the way I’ve heard others worry since the election while shopping in their whiter neighborhoods and communities – fearful of being targeted because of speaking a language other than English, for wearing clothing that identifies them as Muslim, about the possibility or actuality of being hurled hateful words. “Go back where you came from.” “Build the wall.” Or having to see confederate flags in trucks in the parking lot.

    Of course crap goes down at that Cub – people are profiled and insulted – this is the U.S./Minnesota/Minneapolis, and I’m not that naive. I’ve been insulted and called out many times myself, not so much for being queer, but mostly years back when my children were young for being a white mother of brown kids (everything from being called a n-word lover to having serious shade thrown at me for being us).

    Let’s not be delusional. We live in the same old days. But it’s new day, too, with a sharper, harsher edge and even more terrifying possibilities ahead. Maybe I’m being my sentimental older white woman self looking for hope wherever I can find it – a self who I love. But maybe – just maybe – places like a neighborhood Cub can actually feel like a safe(er) space in a new kind of way.

    Maybe.

    copyright Ann Freeman
    http://upsidemyheadpayattentionnow.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-neighborhood-cub-safe-space.html
  • Lessons from my mother – lead with love and kindness

    Date: 2017.01.29 | Category: GIFTS OF RESISTANCE 2017: creative writing | Response: 0

    My mom passed away from pancreatic cancer when she was just 70. Pancreatic cancer is one bad cancer. When you learn you have it, it’s too late. It kills you quickly and painfully. My mom fought like the warrior she was and lived for over a year after her diagnosis. As she fought, she taught everyone around her lessons for life; lessons she embodied her entire lifetime made even more powerful as she experienced pain and dying.

    To lead with love and kindness.

    Even in excruciating pain, my mother embodied love. She was kind to everyone. She led with gracious dignity until her last breath.

    This early morning I am swimming in those memories, perhaps a gift from her angel-self, as I battle with a different kind of pain. As we approach election day, my heart hurts and I can barely breathe.

    Hate has never left our troubled country, but eight years ago, for a shining moment that manifested itself on that magical night in Grant Park, we led with hope. Since then, since the visible marker of another barrier broken, since the promise that if a Black man could be elected president all things might be possible, another man – a terrible white man – has given voice to the ugly mobs that were lying dormant just under the surface and invited them to rise up once again. The mobs of whiteness that once gathered with their children under the hanging bodies of lynched Black men for entertainment, the ones that bombed churches, the ones that put masks on their heads and terrorized innocent people, have been awakened and feel emboldened.

    Sometimes it feels like hate leads now. Not hope, and certainly not love.

    I know the truth is that love and kindness, respect and caring, are everywhere. But how easily their evidence is muted each time we learn of something new – a church burned, a football game where people felt (what did they feel; that it would be fun, funny?) to costume themselves as that terrible white man with nooses around the necks of others costumed as our current lovely president and our – hopefully – next first woman president. A man who hangs “fake” Black bodies from the tree in his front yard, a sign supporting the terrible white man just below them. How far are we from the day we learn of real bodies hanging once again? And on my own college campus, targeted hate at our Muslim students and our immigrant young people – who perhaps come from families who perhaps have fled unspeakable terror and hardship to come to this country with hope for a better life.

    I want to scream. Not on my campus. Not in my community. Not in my country.

    STOP THE HATE.

    LEAD WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS.

    BE LOVE.

    I will go to polls on Tuesday and vote. Of course. Hopefully enough of us who want to fight this evil unleashed will go vote, too. And we will win. At least we will defeat the white man with the voice of bitter hate.

    I just hope it’s not too late. With the mobs and their kin no longer dormant, how do we slay the beast? How do we keep moving forward? How do we interrupt this madness, this terrible danger?

    I am going to follow those lessons from my mother. I’m going to rise and rise until my last breath, no matter the pain, to fight with love, fiercely.

    To protest hate wherever it manifests.
    To insist Black Lives Matter. That water is life.
    To center other voices.
    To love across difference.

    To honor my beautiful mother.

    copyright Ann Freeman
    http://upsidemyheadpayattentionnow.blogspot.com/2016/11/lessons-from-my-mother-lead-with-love.html

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.

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SHERRY QUAN LEE

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