As we go about the important work of resisting, here’s what I want us to remember:
Resistance is Fertile.
Not “futile,” as the Borg in Star Trek’s The Next Generation would have you believe. Fertile. According to a quick google search:
- (of soil or land) producing or capable of producing abundant vegetation or crops.
- (of a seed or egg) capable of becoming a new individual.
- (of a person, animal, or plant) able to conceive young or produce seed.
What does it mean for our resistance to be fertile? As we call our senators to oppose cabinet nominations; as we call, write, and visit Congressional offices to fight the repeat of the Affordable Care Act; and as we try to get our bearings in a swirling maze of “alternative facts;” we’ve got to remember that while this moment demands that we push back against regressive forces, it also calls us to imagine, plant, and build a new world.
Fertile = capable of producing, becoming, creating.
When our resistance is fertile, it’s not just about anger. It’s also about love and possibility. It’s about resisting bad policies, divisive rhetoric, and lies portrayed as truth—and it’s about reaching out to neighbors to build community, starting book clubs to read and learn with new friends, planting gardens, feeding the hungry, and welcoming the stranger.
As Rebecca Solnit teaches, “There are really only two questions for activists: what do you want to achieve? And who do you want to be? And those two questions are deeply entwined. Every minute of every hour of every day you are making the world, just as you are making yourself, and you might as well do it with generosity and kindness and style.”
A couple of practical tips for Fertile Resistance:
- If you’re not already signed up for Jennifer Hofmann’s “Weekly Action Checklist for Democrats, Independents, and Republicans of Conscience,” sign up today. It’s fantastic.
- The Harvard Kennedy School’s Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America here offers 150 ideas for ways to build social capital. Social capital is “not just warm and cuddly feelings, but a wide variety of quite specific benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and – at least sometimes – for bystanders as well.” In other words, social capital is networking, support, and community resilience.
How are you dreaming, building, and creating, even as you are resisting? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Above photo used courtesy Mark Hillary via Flickr Creative Commons.