Both Sides Now By Cora Treoir Duncan: A Strategy for Creative Insurrection

Literally hours after last month’s election results I received invitations to join new movements arising in protest as the local and national LGBTQ community reacted in panic. I felt the same tremors as the earth shifted and disrupted the solid ground under all of us whom had begun to believe there was new hope as marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws were enacted.

Yes, we knew we still had much to do and clear areas of resistance where counter forces gathered. With Hillary Clinton running for President it seemed like the tide was turning. Her expected election as the first woman President would signal the dawn of a new positive progressive era of diversity, acceptance and inclusion.

My response to the invitations was a further shock to myself. I declined to sign up. I said “No.” I, who marched in the late 1960s, joined a student strike after Kent State, wore my Che Guevara T-Shirt and sewed American Flag patches on my bell bottoms, all in the name of Social Revolution. I let my freak flag fly and faithfully sang Guthrie, Seeger, Ochs, Country Joe and Dylan protest songs. I discovered a rich history full of topical songs in our country’s culture that have addressed abolition, economic injustice, civil rights, the temperance movement, women’s suffrage, the union movement, social activism, the military draft, environmental issues, racial discrimination, nuclear destruction, unpopular wars, the plight of immigrants and now gender equality.

I suggested to one of the younger barrier stormers that they do their research on what happened during the Civil Rights marches and demonstrations and their use of nonviolence. They should also consider the Anti-War movement and how they railed against a well entrenched Conservative element so they don’t make the same mistakes. Then, like Billy Crystal in The Princess Bride I ended saying “Have fun storming the castles!”

Why the reticence to join in, you ask? Certainly there is ample reason to protest and march. But I chose to direct my attention and talents to the problem in the best, most effective way that I can…with my mind. I will vocally and spiritually support anyone who is willing to march, but for those of us who are capable, who have a creative talent I would suggest another approach that may be even more effective in bringing to light the plight of all minorities affected by the rise of the Trump Nation.

I choose to respond by focusing my outrage into my words and music. I intend to use satire, parody and comedy to embarrass, educate and express all of the insanity. I will plumb my vast resources to find songs that make people squirm in discomfort, laugh at our follies, fails and flaws. I will write new songs that disturb the status quo and invite people to dance all DAY, singing anthems full of lusty choruses that cajole, floodlight and incite. I will say outrageous things, making listeners and readers uncomfortable, ridiculing the willfully ignorant, titillating the awkward and fearful to face their humanity. I will parody and satirize the rigid, the ridiculous, the sanctimonious and self righteous as an troubadour, a clarion and a beacon for reason and clarity.

These are my aspirations as I face what may be the most culturally defining years of my life. I will harbor no shame nor shield myself from criticism or hatred. I will view all with compassion bearing in mind that everyone has hidden wars they wage. I will be outrageous, selfless, vulnerable and daring greatly. I will live an integral life that displays the values I embrace and embody wholeheartedly. I will use my voice and life force for the advancement of all persons. If the madness continues I am cognizant and accept that I may need to kick start a defense fund. Goddess, help us all!


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