As school begins for the fall I remember the hopeful season of last year, and think how, in many ways, I barely recognize my country.
And yet. The hedonistic and destabilizing and predatory Patriarchy was always there.
Destabilization as a business practice has facilitated the concentration of wealth and power in ways unmatched. Now, social networking is unmasking these tactics in ways never before imagined.
On this day when we’re all feeling the fallout of natural disasters on top of how branded America has become, consequences of decades under the foot of exploitative environmental practices – I am somehow more hopeful than I have ever been that Restitution can be talked about in a real way. I’m somehow more hopeful than ever that Democracy can overcome a slave based economy. I’m somehow more hopeful than ever that we can start crafting policy as if all our children are all OUR children. Maybe, we can finally ditch Colonialism.
The work of Mothering Justice on initiatives like earned paid sick leave (which, Michigan voters, please sign the ballot proposal petition if you haven’t already or volunteer) is helping us build a dialogue about how the details of a workplace can demonstrate value TO a worker. This is a pragmatic and practical matter. We talk all the time about income inequality, but as a matter of policy treat poor people like they’re not working hard enough. It’s unsustainable, and the financial wealth that has been increasingly concentrated – it’s still been produced from ALL the workers. The workers just don’t get to share in the value.
The set of facts is not new, but what is new is how visible the disconnect is – between the value of the work, and the product of financial gain. What is new is how easy it is to see how Black Lives and family are undervalued, how White family grieves for what they did not know – and what they continue to harm all families by. What is not new is disruptive tactics and ideological purity tests. What is new is how easy it is to see the interconnections of our food system. As ICE raids abruptly tear away at our Latinx family cultural fabric, crops go unharvested.
Yet, the stock market is doing fine.
So I still grieve for the Presidency that I wish we had, but I am grateful for the ability that I now have to show the atrocities of my White family to my White family and say: look.
We cannot heal from a wound that no one will talk about.
The White middle-class was created by policy, it was created for White people – not for anyone else. And it had worked just fine that way. But it didn’t work for everyone, wasn’t built to last, and it won’t keep working.
We have an opportunity here. We can put our pants suits on. We can ask what we did wrong. We can admit our mistakes – and apologize where it is helpful, and where we can learn from them. We can use the tool of policy to build a middle class, or even a prosperous working class that is given its due value. This is all possible by surpassing the allure of disruptive tactics. Know better, do better. We can practice shaping policy, while we practice listening, and learning.
I’m sorry about before.
I find another hopeful season in this fall, and I think how, in many ways, I can help shape the future of this country. For OUR children.
Rebecca La Duca
Mothering Justice member