The Women’s March and the Arts: Benediction for the Artist in a Time of War

Susan DeFHot Season, Protest PoemsLeave a Comment

Yesterday, *rump had his inauguration parade–though not, apparently, the North Korean-style extravaganza he would have preferred, and apparently not the number of attendees he would have preferred either. Today, over 500,000 women are expected to descend upon D.C., and upon cities around the country as well, to protest his policies.

Needless to say, it’s strange to be watching all of this from a hotel room in Tehachapi in the course of a cross-country road trip. I wish I could be there with my sistren of the pink pussy hats, with all the nasty women gathered in such a fierce show of force.

But in recent days, as Tabitha Blankenbiller pointed out, the *rump team has made it clear that two of their first two targets will be our national parks and the arts–two of the causes closest to my heart, and, I imagine, to the hearts of virtually anyone who enjoys my work, which is and always has been centered in the natural world.

In such a time, with so much at stake, the urgency can be paralyzing to the creative impulse (as John Scalzi recently pointed out). Making art can feel self-indulgent, unnecessary. But I’m convinced that history will be written by the people with the most beautiful, most compelling narratives, the ones that resonate with the lived truth of these times, and those narratives cannot be created by activism alone.

And so, in solidarity with the real and necessary action being taken–today and tomorrow and beyond–to stop the fascist, racist, late-capitalist death cult that threatens to destroy both our planet and our democracy, I’m sending out a benediction to those taking less obvious actions to win the imagination.

Which is to say, the future.

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