If you don’t blink an eye when “Columbus Day” comes around but are shocked that Brett Kavanaugh has just been confirmed as our newest Supreme Court justice, your lack of empathy and inability to connect the dots of history are holding us back.
And it’s just cognitive dissonance. How can we uphold a celebration of the founding rapist, pillager, and murderer in our nation’s flimsy origin story and expect that the fruits of that story will not be rape, the theft and hoarding of resources from common people, and easy deaths to those not part of the ruling power structure?
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking into the library and saw their paper notice that they would be closed for “Columbus Day.” I reached into my bag and took out the only thing I had to write with, a pencil. I scratched out the awful holiday and wrote in “Indigenous People’s Day.” When I walked by the door later, I saw that someone had simply erased my writing.
I learned a pretty basic lesson in resistance that day. Always carry a sharpie.
I’m not smart enough to know if correcting the course of our nation is a matter of voting or a matter of revolution. I do know I’ll be taking my cues from indigenous people and Black Americans because they’ve been resisting for centuries.
If white women want to use Kavanaugh’s appointment as a crucible, let it be a crucible in our awakening to the pain and violence we’ve been complicit in with our inaction and silence and, as often as not, our vocal and logistical support. Let this moment in history be a reason to trade our pencils in for sharpies and contribute as humble foot soldiers in a cause that predates us and has been hurt by us. We can get free as women only when we break our ties with a violent system and stand unified with all who oppose it.