by Rachel Siegel, PJC Executive Director

The circus of Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment process exposed that horrors of our rape culture, of misogyny, and of how much rich white men can get away with. I am distraught that he is on the Supreme Court. But even if we had stopped the appointment, we would have had work to do.

We need to continue to expose and undo sexism. To unearth it in ourselves and in our systems. And we will do a better job at this if we recognize the interconnectedness of sexual violence with other forms of oppression and violence.

See how masculinity is used to turn boys into soldiers to do the dirty work of our imperialist, capitalist machine.

See how racism is used, very effectively, to divide working class and poor people to benefit wealthy white people.

See how wars are fought over resources that benefit the few while destroying the lives of many people — usually people with brown skin and less money.

See how corporate interests have twisted both the Ds and the Rs into crooks.

See how so called “free trade” agreements are destroying lives so we can access food and products that cost little on our bank accounts but cost much in human life and the environment.

See how climate disruption is causing the most harm in poor communities of color

We need to remember these things are all connected. We need to support each other’s fights. We feminists need to back Black Lives Matters, to stand with Standing Rock, to support queer and trans youth. We need to turn these systems of oppression upside down because they are killing us.

Girls are starving themselves. Boys are suffocating their emotional well-being. Non-binary folks are committing suicide.

We are on stolen land. We have never paid for that crime. We’ve never done the slightest bit of reparations to Indigenous folks nor to the descendants of enslaved people. How can we be a healthy culture until we do this? We haven’t even gotten slavery out of the Vermont constitution.

In many ways we are falling apart.

And yet… we have each other. We stand in solidarity. We take action. We disrupt business as usual. We can do so much. For example, in case you’re unsure what we can do:

  • Vote
  • Register voters
  • Run for office
  • Educate ourselves
  • Make art
  • Make good food
  • Feed our souls
  • Sign petitions
  • Start petitions
  • Show up for marches and protests
  • Organize marches and protests
  • Listen to and center the experiences of those whose voices are not heard in the mainstream
  • Donate to groups you believe in
  • Join action groups
  • Post on social media
  • Write letters to the editor
  • Call legislators

Everyone can do something. And if everyone does what they can, we can turn this boat around. I truly believe this. And while we are righting the ship, it is critical that we are kind. We need to use the power of love and kindness to create a different world.

That is not to say don’t be angry. In fact, when we are angry, we need to rage. We need to let it out so it doesn’t eat us alive. Find ways to let your rage out safely: scream into a pillow, take a kickboxing class, knead bread dough, write, whatever it takes.

And then, when the rage is under control, we need to organize. And we need to keep up the momentum. If the Ds take back the legislature in November, our work is far from done.

Keep up the momentum. Take breaks when you need to. And then come back. We need you here. I need you here.