Thoughts on Change

Since last Tuesday night, I’ve been thinking a lot about changes. The ones I don’t want to happen, and the ones I do. Some of the changes that I’m welcoming are in myself.

I believe very strongly in equality and freedom for people of every race, belief, and orientation. But other than talking to friends and donating money, I haven’t done much personally to back up those beliefs. Tuesday’s election shook me out of my laziness and complacency. As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” and while I haven’t been neutral in my personal life, I haven’t been very public in my opposition, either.

In general, I haven’t been very open on this blog. I’ve been a vocal Hillary Clinton supporter, but I have kept most of my other beliefs to myself because 1) I figured no one cared, that you just came here for recipes and projects; 2) I didn’t want to lose readers who see the world differently than I do; and 3) sharing that kind of stuff requires vulnerability, which makes me uncomfortable in general. Basically, I played it safe. That ends now.

The events of the past week have radicalized me. While I’m heartbroken not to have Hillary Clinton as my president, this isn’t a sour grapes situation. Right now I’d gladly take Mitt Romney or a Bush, any Bush, instead of Trump. By his own words and actions, he is simply unacceptable as a person that has any sort of political power, let alone the highest office in the land. Reading about the crimes against people of color already being committed in Trump’s name, and the debacle of a white supremacist (and noted misogynist), and a climate-change denier appointed to positions in the White House in the six days post-election is frightening and heartbreaking and infuriating. So no appeasement or normalizing for me. I cannot trust that things will be okay.

Know this: If you support bigotry and oppression of any sort by legitimizing it with your vote, I’m happy to offend you. While I’m not going to start regularly writing political essays, I might mention my political activities, and I will be a lot more forthcoming about myself and my beliefs.

In that spirit of openness, here are a few things about me that you probably don’t know.

  • I’m an ardent feminist. Out of respect for those who believe that “intersectional feminist” is a term reserved for black women, I don’t use that term to describe myself, but it accurately describes my understanding of feminism. As this article points out, “As feminists, it’s important that we pay attention to the fact that feminism is about more than ending sexism — it’s also about ending all the interconnected systems of oppression that affect different women in different ways.”
  • I have a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, and a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. I did my dissertation on cellular mechanisms involved in Alzheimer’s disease. So I’m a big science nerd, but I left that field.
  • I stopped believing in any gods or religions when I was 12 or 13. I consider myself an atheist/secular humanist. If you think that somehow makes me amoral or uncaring about my fellow human being, you could not be more wrong. Excluding the god parts, I agree with most of the morals of major religions. Jesus was just a dude, but he had some amazing ideas.
  • When I was a teenager, I stopped eating meat. For several years I still ate fish, but I stopped eating that over a decade ago. (I still use and wear secondhand leather, though.)

So what does this have to do with this blog? Well, I’m thinking about ways of opposing Donald Trump, and everything he stands for, in my own life. Being more conscious about shopping locally and with companies who share my values is one change I want to make. I’ll definitely be be using this list of companies that do business with and support the Trumps (and Trump-free alternatives) to make decisions about where to spend money. By doing more of my purchasing at local companies, I can keep the money in the community, and it’s likely not going to a Trump supporter, given the political demographics here.

I’ve already been to one peaceful protest (despite what you may have heard about the “riot” in Portland, it was peaceful while I was there), and I’ll definitely go to more. Other than protesting, I will be actively supporting my own community in a much more direct way. I’m figuring out what groups to volunteer for, and while I have a serious phone call phobia, I’m going to force myself to overcome it to make calls to people in power.

Some of this is to explain that I will probably not be posting content as regularly as I’ve tried to do in the past. Continuing to share projects and things I love is really important to me, but posting will be more sporadic as I make some adjustments with how I use my time. Some things are just more important right now.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on Change

  1. Hey Rachel,
    I only can say bravo! This is the first non political blog I used to read that say something like this, and I apreciate that. Sometimes you need to say who you are, no matter what happen later. You have my support fron Spain

  2. RONA MCFADDEN says:

    Hi Rachel. I want to applaud you! I loved your blog. Thank you for recognizing that this man is not fit to lead this already “great” nation. It does not matter to me that you don’t believe in God, because that is your choice. What matters is how you treat your fellow human being. Many Christians call themselves christians but will treat a person of color or sexual orientation or of another religion with hate. We as human beings have more in common than we want to believe. I am a Black woman and have been very blessed to have not been raised to hate anyone (of course if the piss me off that’s different) and I have been called the “N” by a white person. And when it happened, I was shocked! In fact I turned around to see who they were talking too realizing it was me. It shook me to my core. But anyway, thank you for realizing that we are all equal and for recognizing that racism still exists. Unfortunately we have a president-elect who has made it okay to be a very public unapologetic racist and has set the tone of this great nation back hundreds of years. Because what he was really saying when he said let’s make America great again is let’s make America whites only. So thank you!!! You have not lost me as a follower of your blog. But you’re probably correct in your thinking that you will lose some followers. Take care and stay strong.

    • Rona, thank you. Ugh, I’m so sorry that you’ve been verbally abused like that, it’s disgusting and sad. With all of the horrible events lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about racism, and I just want to tell you that I’m sorry for all of its effects in your life, systemic and personal. Obviously this election didn’t create racism, it’s just been there all along, right under the surface, invisible to some but all-too-visible to many. Maybe if anything good comes of this it will be waking more white people up to that fact.

      As for religion, I definitely agree that it’s how you treat others that matters! I have nothing but admiration for people who use their religion to help others and advance social justice. It just kills me that people used their religion to justify voting for Donald Trump, as if he has any resemblance to what Christianity is about. I have no doubt that I know more about the Bible than he does. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” certainly comes to mind.

      Also, based only on your lovely name, at first I assumed you were an Irishwoman. Do you get that a lot? 🙂

  3. Awesome blog. I like your honesty. I think if individually people become more aware and proactive we will make a difference in this new Trump regime. We as a nation, will NOT be bullied.

  4. Birgit Muenchen says:

    Dear Rachel,
    you found the right words at the right time and I can tell you, that you are not alone with your thoughts and fears.
    Today, Barack Obama met our chancellor Merkel on his last visit in Europe. It made me think about what we are going to do when Trump will come to Germany attending G20 summit in july next year. Be sure, we will do the same, as Merkel did during her first phone call with Trump. We will bring him to mind our collective responsibility as world-citizens for democracy, freedom and human rights!
    But what leaves me even more frightened is the signal your election gave to all these other nationalist, rassist, populist, homophob rabble-rousers around us. All these Le Pen, Wilders, Kaczynski, Orban, seeing their chances to grab the political power in their countries.

    • Birgit, I have faith that Merkel and the German citizens won’t let Trump off easy when it comes to human rights. Today on a news show a Trump surrogate said that WWII Japanese internment camps set a “precedent” for the treatment of Muslims. It was certainly a chilling conversation.

      I’m afraid for the very same thing about the signal our election sends to those people. I can only hope that the majority of the people of Europe are better-educated, more well-informed, and less partisan than the ones here.

      • Birgit Muenchen says:

        Well, I often wonder, what´s left from the spirit we felt after donation of the Nobel Peace Prize to European Community in 2012. Today, we are so far from that…

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