Photos from a Pro-Roe rally in downtown Greensboro today. There were speakers of several genders, sexual orientations, races, and ages, including our U.S. representative, Kathy Manning. It was organized by a handful of young activists. I was seated near the front so there were many more people behind me, especially considering the time and day.
I shared an abstract portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsberg today on Facebook with the quote: “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
This is something that these organizers need to think carefully about and take to heart.
God knows I have a habit of letting the fucks fly, especially when I am angry. And I have morphed over the years into a solid atheist, although I have a lot of respect for the teachings of Jesus and follow several Christian ministers and writers who pay attention to what he taught, not to what will make them and their churches richer or more powerful. My mother was a devout Christian who was compassionate and advocated for peace and helping the poor and the immigrants. I have friends and relatives who are Christians and run the political spectrum, most of them progressive. But wherever these people are on the political scale, nothing good will come from by running them down or making jokes about their religious beliefs.
If your cause is about human rights, make your words about that. Choose your words carefully. I had a lot of good photo ops that I chose not to take because someone positioned a sign with offensive language behind the speakers. There were several news cameras there. What video do you think that they will choose to promote? What photos? Whether you support that person’s freedom of expression or not, or believe it was vulgar or not, it did not help further the cause that we were all there for.
This woman could have chosen other words to say what she meant on her sign. She could have carried that sign in a less prominent place. Another speaker’s joke about a certain Christian religious belief only had the purpose of her trying for a laugh. It wasn’t necessary.
By all means, express yourselves, but have some common sense about what helps and what hurts. Figure out your goals and tailor your language toward that goal. In this case, we need to unite people toward regaining our human rights and not losing more of them. It might seem that Christians are your target, but there were many Christians in that crowd that support abortion rights. There are Republican women who support abortion rights. Save your fucks and your religious jokes for your own circle of friends.
I also heard that the earlier rally this weekend turned a lot of people off when a speaker(s) urged everyone not to vote because it was useless. I’m not saying that you can’t voice your opinion, but consider your audience and what you want to accomplish. Do you want to express anger and despair or do you want to rally people to action? That is a choice too.
There are plenty of words to choose from to get your point across – think about your listeners and readers before your words leave your head.