Sunday, November 20, 2016

Three Reasons I'm Wearing a Safety Pin

phone banking for Hillary in happier, saner times...
There has been a lot of cross talk about safety pins in the post election whirlwind. First conceived by Britons concerned about the anti-immigrant/anti-muslim backlash after the Brexit vote this summer, the safety pin idea jumped the pond after 11/8/16. The concept is simple: wear a safety pin to show vulnerable people (refugees, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ folks, etc) that they are "safe" with you. It's a small act of solidarity and symbolism, and it's a whole lot easier than wearing a full length dress with the Declaration of Independence written on it.

BUT... some folks pushed back, like isn't this just another lazy way of showing 'solidarity' without having to actually DO anything risky or self-denying like protesting or escorting women at Planned Parenthood or boycotting Macys or something. Is this the ice bucket challenge of the year?

Well, I think, Yes. And. That ice bucket challenge did actually lead to new medical breakthroughs and treatments...

I've been wearing a safety pin on my clothes or jacket every day since Election Day. Here is why:

1. It reminds me of who I am. It can be so easy to get distracted by real life- by laundry piles and trip slips and grocery lists. It is fun to think about pie recipes or Christmas decorations. I wear the pin to give me a little mental pinch- don't forget. Don't forget that you are a smart woman, a Democrat, a Unitarian-Universalist, a mother of two beautiful African-American children, a New Yorker, and a teacher of children of special needs. I wear the pin to keep me focused on doing the vital work of being fully present in my life.

2. It might give someone else a sign that they are safe with me. If even one vulnerable person is felt held in love by my little pin, then it is worth it. If even one of the parents of my Muslim students feels a little bit relieved upon seing the pin, it's worth it. If a grocery clerk or a postal worker or a neighbor or a kid on the bus feels a tiny bit more ok seeing that pin, it's worth it.

3. It reminds me that THIS IS NOT NORMAL. This election was not normal. The outcome is not normal. (I'm not prone to believe conspiracy theories, but it does seem like some Russion interference happened on 11/8, and that is both bad and really, really not ok.) This "transition period" is not normal. The President elect holding meetings with both foreign leaders and foreign businessmen and Neo-Nazis in his gold plated penthouse. NOT NORMAL. A President Elect tweeting nonsense and settling fraud lawsuits for 25 million dollars... NOT NORMAL. Most of the time I can walk around my life distracted by my to-do lists and grocery shop and worry about our budget. I live in my lovely "bubble" and I'm not going to apologize for it. BUT, the world right now is reeling from this terrible election, and the pin reminds me to stay grounded and stay sharp.

Do you wear a pin? Why? or Why not?

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