Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 - Terrorism and Yarnbombs

I think we can all agree that 2017 was a big dumpster fire of a year. The absolutely breathtaking cruelty and hypocrisy of the republican party has left me feeling sick, lost, and despairing.  I pray to God earnestly that Trump, Pence, and all their cronies will soon be viewing the world from behind bars.

My daughter Brigid at the Women's March in January, 2017

The #metoo campaign and the revelations about sexual misconduct have really led me to view men in an entirely different light. I have my own metoo stories. I'd forgotten about one of mine until Thanksgiving, when we admired a portrait of our friend's mother. The artist's name was mentioned - we had commissioned a drawing of our house from him years ago and when he'd come to deliver it, I was home with just the two youngest children who were babies at the time, and he made an advance on me, which I fended off, but which left me feeling deeply disturbed and frightened. This man lived in our neighborhood and used to frequently run past our house so I had to work to avoid him. He eventually died and I was glad. I never told Jon because I would have been told I'd overreacted, that "X" was really a good guy. I am tired of hearing the parade of misogynistic jerks I've been exposed to over the years defended as "good guys." 2017 was the year that women revealed what we've gone through. 2018 will be the year we shut men down.

I knit this sign and tied it to the Trump winery sign.

And of course there were the multiple white terrorist raids on Charlottesville, starting in May when Richard Spencer and his crowd staged a racist tiki-torch event in a downtown park. This led to a counter demonstration, candlelit vigil, which I attended. In July was the KKK rally in Charlottesville, which I attended as a counter protester and was harassed by Charlottesville police for hanging knitted signs that said, "Black Lives Matter" and "KKK Go Away." And then came the terrible Unite the Right rally on August 11-12, in which my town was invaded by hundreds of white supremacist terrorists, who marched in our streets with shields and weapons, chanting, "Jews will not replace us," who attempted to light counter protesters on fire with their torches, who brutally beat Charlottesville citizens while Charlottesville and UVA police stood by and did nothing, who drove a car at top speed across a pedestrianized zone, deliberately crashing into a crowd of people and murdering Heather Heyer and seriously injuring dozens of others, followed by the tragic helicopter crash of the two state troopers who'd been monitoring the day from the sky. It is impossible to understate the trauma that our community is feeling. The evening of August 12, I stood alone in my house and screamed and screamed until my voice broke. And the raids and abuses continue.* We were invaded by nazis again in October. There were no injuries, but I read several eye-witness accounts of drivers not yielding at crosswalks and stop signs and nearly hitting pedestrians and menacing people with their cars. On August 14th, three men on scooters deliberately swerved to hit me with their vehicles as I walked in the shoulder of the road on my street. I crushed myself into a hedge to escape, while the men beeped, looked directly at me, and laughed. Several weeks later, the same men drove past me again, and beeped in the same way they'd beeped when they tried to run me over. It was clear they remembered me, my house, and the fact that they'd tried to kill me. I'm wondering if I was specifically targeted because I painted RESIST on my roof before the A12 rally, and because I'd been featured in the local paper for my yarn bombs.

This one is my favorite. Of course it was ripped down.


This is the spot where Heather Heyer died.


Politics and terrorism aside, on a personal level, 2017 was OK. The highlight of the year was the Woman's March in Washington, DC. It might even be one of the highlights of my entire life. I also attended seven more protests in three cities, and knitted approximately 30 anti-Trump yarnbombs, which I hung in different places, most notably Capitol Hill and at the Trump Winery. I didn't do much traveling, other than to protests. We sent Seamus, our youngest child, off to school in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University. With the empty nest, I've started on the long process of turning our dilapidated old farmhouse into what I hope will be a blissful and beautiful home - a true retreat from the world. Jon experienced a series of health emergencies, from which he has now mostly recovered. Brigid moved to New Orleans and is crafting a beautiful life for herself there.

In 2018, I intend to work to help defeat Tom Garrett, our racist and cruel Republican congressman. I also would like to continue my work on my house and also settle many troubling questions about my career and my future. I'd like to expand my yarnbombing into more pictorial representations, rather than just words.

*White terrorists returned to Charlottesville last night, putting an American flag, chains and other things on the shrouded Robert E. Lee statue.

3 comments:

  1. Sending love across the miles! You inspire me!

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  2. At the risk of sounding like a blithering idiot, you go, girl! You are an inspiration to me, not just this year but every year. I hope 2018 is better for us.

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  3. 2017 was a shit year. I started out gung ho on various #resist efforts, but then things in our life changed, so I had to shift focus on more pressing items. House, career and family are coming first, although with Pat's new job, he's on the front lines of saving the world. Does that count? I'm also gonna keep on with my kids cooking class, because that reminds me what we're fighting for.

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