I saw Rogue One this weekend! I won’t spoil anything–it was fun! I hope you get to go see it. I’m not sure 3D was necessary, but it did help hide when I cried, so plan what is best for you.
It got me thinking though. We all want to be the soldiers in the rebellion. The people who would sacrifice everything, but whose names will become synonymous with hope and victory.
If only all rebellions kept us fed and clothed and offered homes to our children! God, we’d all be such big damn heroes.
But they don’t, really. The professional protester is a myth. The people on the front lines of any cultural war are the few underpaid staffers of some non-profits, the one or two radically motivated, and the people who’ve lost everything and have nowhere else to go. The rest of us will not be infantry. We will be intel, we will be supply lines, communications, runners, and cogs in the war machine. Don’t get discouraged that you won’t be a general! Your options are not “in the trenches” or nothing.
So what can you do? What can any of us on our couches, lacking financial or political resources do?
You fucking rebel. That’s what you do.
- Give resources you have.
Got cash? Give it to a non-profit that makes sense to you. Don’t over think it. Something is better than nothing. Got time? Volunteer somewhere. Anywhere. There are a million wars looking for troops. Got neither? Make a call or two a week. Set a schedule, pick topics, get numbers, and call people with more resources than you have.
- Encourage and educate.
This is freaking exhausting work and it will never end. It is thankless, painstaking, and so, so important. Shoulder this burden. Be kind, supportive, and gentle. Remind workers that they’re valuable. Thank people for asking questions. Provide answers even if you’re yelling “this is what the internet does!” the entire time.
Art isn’t for the tame. Be fearless. Recall the struggles you wish to highlight and overcome. Make something for it that communicates your thoughts to others, in solidarity, censure, or the spirit of growth. Shoulder your part of the criticism, because art is the riot shield pushing back status quo.
- Live, laugh, love.
It’s trite, but true. Do not let the nebulous “them” rob you of your joy, whatever that is. Fall in love, celebrate, explore, cherish the things we’ve won, the rights we’ve secured. Don’t feel guilty for living. Just don’t forget those who didn’t make it. Celebrate them, too. You’re standing on their sacrifices. They didn’t do it for you to be miserable. Continue the work, and appreciate what you have.