Poetry, Safety Pins, Fear and Hope

The weeks since the election have been hard for me. I have been alternating between sorrow, anger, shock and incredulity. And also hope, love, support and beauty from the amazingly beautiful people that I call my friends. I have watched both division and coming together. This is not an easy time for anyone.
I cannot help but be scared for my friends who are of color, non-Christian, LGBTQIA, women, and the many who are all of these things. I am aware that as a middle class white woman, that I am not at a huge risk, and actually stand on a lot of privilege. But I fear for my own reproductive rights, as a woman who is childfree by choice, and for my freedom of religion, as a woman who identifies as an eclectic cottage witch.
I am standing tall, though, to be an ally to all those who may be a victim of the hate that seems to be so prevalent at this time. I want to help ensure that your voices are heard, and not to speak for you. I want to be a support system, but not impede your progress. I will gladly stand up and fight for you, hold your hand, and ensure that you are safe.
When I got wind of the Safety Pin project which began in England after Brexit, I immediately put on a safety pin. I know that it has been getting a lot of flack in the press as being a cop out form of activism, and having to be sure that you would be willing to step in to a situation if you are wearing the pin. Well I am, and I do. I am a place of safety if you need it.
I keep thinking of a poem that we read in high school called The Hangman by Maurice Ogden. I read it aloud to my husband last night, and it was just as powerful as the first time I read it. The poem was written about World War 2 Germany, but it seems frighteningly applicable while we are discussing the "alt-right" (white supremacists). Listen to it at the link above, or you can find it online to read, but really read it. And take it to heart. It is our job to stand up for our fellow humans, and to fight for them while we have the chance.
So...volunteer, smile at a stranger, donate money to worthy causes, be a good ally, stand up against discrimination, educate yourself about other religions, countries, ways of life, find a reputable news source, and stay strong in the face of overwhelming adversity.
For now I love you, I am glad you are part of my life, and I am here.

Betsy

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