I don’t have the energy for this blog post. But my mind keeps trying to write it, so here we go …
The other day, I came across a comment from months ago from an unsubscriber who wanted me to know why she was quitting the Humanitou newsletter.
She wrote, “In the past, this was politically-driven. I do not agree with Liberal policies. Please Remove me from this list.”
For what it’s worth, I don’t identify as strictly “Liberal” or as Democrat. My views somewhat span the spectrum and I identify as independent with an unabashed lean to the humane, which happens to align with the left side of politics.
And given the “Conservative” track record of recent years (decades!), let alone the present hellscape we’re living in due to their red right hands, they’ve rendered it impossible for me to vote for them.
Anyway, I’ve been saying lately that everything is political. And this unsubscriber is tapping into what I mean.
Does my support of BIPOC and queer humans, among others, with compassionate listening and conversations on the Humanitou podcast (and the We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream podcast) ring as political?
Do my practices of self-inquiry (e.g. yoga, meditation) and thoughtful work on who I am as a spiritual being “in the past” and present ring as “liberal policies” and offend?
Do my contemplations of vulnerability, masculinity, love and compassion?
Does my writing, poetry and artwork, with reverence and connection with nature?
Does the compassionate poem I wrote, “Bird,” ruffle the feathers of one who is disagreeable to liberal policies? What with all its heart, bleeding on the page?
An excerpt from “Bird”: I wanted to give you my attention right then, to let you know I see you. With hands occupied and unready, I needed some moments to go and return. Maybe I needed to see how that man who came to you next treated you, though I’m sorry for it.
Maybe it’s my awareness of history, governments and humanity, and the oh-so-unpatriotic willingness to set aside my fragile white, male ego and recognize gaps in our memories and our hearts and say, “Hey! We can do this better. How about we do this better?!”
For example, from “The History of Now and Speaking Imperfectly”:
We must start speaking, and be willing to be imperfect in it, and be willing to have the angry and the reactive and the self-believing certain try to shout us down or correct us or dispute us. We have to be willing to take steps toward getting it right.
And it starts within, as individuals. To go within and figure out who we really are, what we’re really about, and to address our thoughts, words and actions at the roots, before we swing them wildly and, potentially, damagingly.
Oh, well, then there was this blog post, “A Symbol Distressed & Untended,” about the American flag. That one really must have pissed off my unsubscriber, or anyone else who might lack the compassion to comprehend so-called liberal policies.
Here’s one snippet of several unnerving truths from that piece:
The flag’s power is rooted in the skewed history textbooks of public schools across America. It’s rooted in the story told in America’s national anthem.
It’s rooted in policies and conquests and wars of colonialism, otherism and white supremacy. It’s rooted in the mass murders of indigenous (and other) peoples and theft of their lands.
I’ve not mentioned a politician or political party or piece of legislation or policy(!) on this site. I suppose, in truth, that’s because I have always known that you can feel where I stand. Even, yes, politically.
How sad that one’s politics are evident based on whether they show compassion and respect, and allow space in their hearts and minds, for other humans? And worse yet, “half” the American population sides with the uncompassionate, selfish, fearful and hate-filled.
I guess, in a way, my unsubscriber was right when she said Humanitou has been politically driven and clearly favoring liberal policies. Thank all the gods it’s obvious what my politics are.
Thank all the gods it’s clear that I stand for love, compassion, curiosity, knowledge, openness and light. Thank all the gods it’s clear that I stand shoulder to shoulder with BIPOC and queer and sensitive and expressive and thoughtful humans who feel and show compassion.
With that in mind, here are amazing verdammt human beings I’ve learned from who happen to fit those senseless “categories” that make them political targets in this land of thieves and murderers and tyrants at heart, the greedy, ignorant, cruel and arrogant who won’t lift themselves to agree with “liberal policies,” such as compassion for “other.”
(Break in case of emergency: “Triggered by Another’s Words? Ask Yourself This Liberating Question … ”)
On the Humanitou podcast:
Gregg Deal, public artist
Lisa Congdon, artist, author & illustrator
Jamal Parker, slam poet & writer
Amanda E.K., writer & filmmaker
Lucas LaRochelle, founder of Queering the Map
Ber-Henda Williams, founder of The Power of Girlhood
Virgil Ortiz, potter, designer & filmmaker
Sara Meghdari, artist
Inaiah Lujan, musician & prolific creator
Dáreece Walker, visual artist
Rukmini Poddar, artist of “Obscure Emotions”
Big Samir, emcee of The Reminders
Ruben Rojas, muralist & co-founder of Beautify Earth
Chip Thomas, doctor & public artist
On the We Are Chaffee: Looking Upstream podcast:
For those who “do not agree with liberal policies” as shown in the humanness of my work through Humanitou …
And Jesus spake unto them … And they clutched their guns and flags and wallets, and they did not listen, for Jesus was a drag queen refugee who consorted with sex workers and the diseased. Ew.
Dear unsubscriber, once again, you’re right. Humanitou is political. The real problem is I’ve not been bold enough with my white, male, cis-, hetero voice. I’ve been too safe, too hesitant of voice. I’ve had the white-male-privileged luxury of doing so.
I’ve not been loud and courageous enough. I’ve not been political enough in these times that call for all of us to be engaged, knowledgeable and speaking out for what’s humanely good more than at any other time in our lives.
Too often I’ve allowed the audience to infer from my compassion and heart that I’m liberal. By definition, the word liberal is an expression of ease, openness and acceptance, rather than fear, distaste and closedness. I’ll try to save all readers and listeners the efforts of their inference going forward.
Humanitou inherently is political because I am part of this distinctly human mess that makes my thoughts and expressions inherently political. So are you and yours. We’re all political. Moreso these days than in the less anxious past, it seems.
By our existence, we’re political. We are by our ignorance and failure to participate just as much as by our seeking knowledge and being actively engaged in society’s workings. All our actions and inactions ripple effects that collide with the ripples of others. We’ve roiled the sea with our ripples in conflict.
Now the question is, what ripples do you cast? What is the impact you have on those around you with those? Is it the effect you intend to have?
It seems that Humanitou clearly enough represents my answer. What’s yours?
Knowing your answer is important, even if only for yourself. It signals the “policies” you agree with and, even if quietly, support and urge forward.
Others know what your policies are, whether you’ve given them thoughtful consideration or not. More importantly, and this is a question I think far too few people examine within themselves, is knowing why those are your policies, which I’ll finally say I think is a lackluster word choice, but I’m keeping with my former subscriber’s use of it.
So, how about this way: Why are those your chosen ripples of influence in the world?
I think it’s a responsibility we hold to know our whys when our actions so effect the world.
Disagree? “Unsubscribe.” Quietly, if you’re confident in it. No need to announce your departure; this is not an airport or train station or political campaign run dry.
It’s Humanitou. And, whether we always like it or not, we are all Humanitou. (Read: “What Does ‘Humanitou’ Mean? A Lot.“)