A literal cat and mouse are in the cards today!
This combo brings to mind the delicate balance we must walk as we find and use our personal power.
I have seen many activists and educators asking the question in recent days: what happens when the language and methods of resistance organization are co-opted and used by the oppressor to maintain power?
There is a commercial for running gear on TV right now that uses this analogy: the gazelle wakes up and thinks it must run for its life. The lion wakes up and thinks it must run or starve. Therefore, each of us must be prepared to run.
What I am hoping to illustrate is that the same language we use to speak our personal stories of liberation can be used by the patriarchy to justify it’s existence. The sword of power cuts both ways.
On the eve of an historic election, it may be that everyone wants the same thing and that we just have different ways of getting there. But I think there is a segment of American culture that does not want change, progress, or even a return to the “way things were.” They want an imaginary future where positions of power are guaranteed and there is nothing to do but walk down the primrose path to the American dream. Here there is an illusion of work = reward but what is really going on is the desire to do the same thing and get the same rewards white people have always gotten. Some people can only imagine a future where their basic needs are met at the necessary expense of those “less fortunate” than them. Hashtag blessed.
To return to the cat and mouse / lion and gazelle analogy, we are animals and we are part of the natural world by we are also human and endowed with something more unique. Unlike those creatures who must choose a life of survival, we have the ability to create a new reality. We can choose not to chase, we can choose not to run away in fear. We do not have to be predator or prey. Life is not the binary that it is presented to be.
On the cusp of a new future, with uncertainty and excitement in the air, consider those ways you can use your voice and power in a new way that does not merely replicate the patterns you seek to change.