Hi everybody—I was planning to weasel out of saying anything because these speeches are always boring, but the other week, I was at a Denny’s in Santa Ana, CA—it’s in Orange County—and there were these guys sitting there, wearing tank tops with “Make America Great Again” on the front, and they had swastika tats on their arms. They were just sitting there, eating pancakes and drinking coffee, and nobody was reacting or really even noticing, like somehow, the swastika, one of the most reprehensible political symbols in history, right up there with confederate flag, is ok to have displayed out there among decent people.
Now, I don’t know if Donald Trump is a symptom or a cause; certainly, we have been in a backlash for some time now—the Planning Advisory Board attempts to erase all language about racial justice from our standards was just one instance of how the backlash came to planning long before Donald Trump became the curse of our electoral process and television sets.
I feel like I am watching white America have a giant temper tantrum, like a little kid throwing himself on the floor and bashing his fists around, all because he’s realized that he’s not as important as he thought he was.
That is a somewhat amusing image except that the rage of the powerful is so very dangerous to the vulnerable. This rage kills innocent people, and then blames the victim and exonerates itself again and again and again. Well, he was a thug; he was a big strong scary kid; she was mentally ill; he had a toy that looked like a gun; if the other kids pick on him, maybe he’ll stop being so effeminate and learn to be a man….and on and on, with one excuse after another for why innocent people suffer at the hands of power.
I was reading the other day that children born with noncomforming gender-sex alignment have the same suicide rate as children who have survived torture. If that statistic is true, it should chasten us…make it clear that we must do better in loving and nurturing difference.
And yet instead, we have the largest law enforcement organization endorsing the same presidential ticket as the Klu Klux Klan.
That is messed up, and we can’t let these people win. Not on election day, and not on any other day after that, either. Being a feminist in the 21st century means fighting for immigrants, fighting for Black Lives. fighting against US imperialism, fighting for transgendered people.
Now I am old—I know this because I am getting awards, and that’s some straight up indisputable evidence right there that you’re old. I’m not sure how much use to any fight I am to anybody any more, but I am still a feminist and to me that means fighting until we are all, every single one of us, safe and free.
It has been my honor to serve FWIG. I hope that I am a credit to all of you, particularly Sandi Rosenbloom, Cheryl Contant, Lisa Bates, Anna Hardman, and Gen Guiliano, who have helped me along the way become a better feminist. Thank you for your attention today.