Mike had jury duty on Monday. Let me pause here for a minute and say that I would be an excellent juror and I am not sure why I never get called for jury duty. Possibly it is because I am a little overeager. Pick me, pick me! I was obviously jealous of Mike, although that jealousy was tempered by his text messages from the room where he was being held for hours. We’re all just sitting here. They told us not to ask when we can leave.
One of his fellow jury pool members was a former mayor of our city, and Mike was surprisingly calm about that fact. I would have been sneaking photos of her and facebooking it to high heaven: “Civic duty! We’re all Americans! Be inspired!” My friends would have rolled their eyes but that stuff cuts through my cynicism and I hope it always does.
My saving grace was that I was having my own democracy moment making signs for Moral Monday with Atticus. You know what they say, the family that protests together stays together. I let him pick out the markers and help me with the coloring.
It’s no secret that I believe that restricting voter rights and cutting unemployment benefits are issues of justice and morality. Those things are wrong and they hurt people. On a personal note, it’s unbelievably frustrating to have people tell you that you are doing good work in a hard place and then see those same people turn around and support the dismantling of our public school system.
There were a lot of great signs at this week’s Moral Monday, including my friend Katey’s sign that quoted Cornel West: “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” That sums it up for me pretty well. But the one that made me cry said, simply, “This is what democracy looks like.” We chanted as we marched down the street waving our signs: Tell me what democracy looks like? This is what democracy looks like. I swing between being appalled and depressed by the things that are going on in my state, but I am fiercely proud of the public dissent and the civil disobedience that is happening alongside these decisions.
(Who knew democracy was so cute?)
I cried some more on the way home when I thought about all the different people who were there because they care about the future. And I cried when “Salvation Song” swelled through the car speakers. Being part of something bigger is always a life-saving experience for me, and I want a better way for my boy. The steady determination of the people around me did cheer my heart.
We came for salvation
We came for family
We came for all that’s good that’s how we’ll walk away
We came to break the bad
We came to cheer the sad
We came to leave behind the world a better way
We saw the Avetts on New Year’s Eve, and “Salvation Song” was one of the first songs they played in 2013. It felt to me at the time like a perfect way to start a new year, and I adopted it as a mini anthem for myself, a resolution of sorts. I played it twice in a row on the way home, and when it finished, Atticus seemed sad.
It’s not done yet, Mama?
Do you mean the song?
It’s not done yet. Not by a long shot. I will play it again.