Notes on needing/supporting Abortions in the US, now and Post-Roe (Open Thread)

Everything below is from my prior awareness and information collected recently. Corrections welcome:

If you need assistance, or want to help the fight via donations and/or volunteering? This document focuses on local/state level support groups.
(Thanks to UncleEbeneezer for the hookup on this!)

A broader, if slightly older (just a couple years), set of guidance is the Handbook for a Post-Roe America by Robin Marty. I can recommend the author as someone I paid into the Patreon of, before she closed it. And that was due to the quality, and importance, of her work in this area.

I hear from some sources, including a Doula I know, that acquiring Plan B now is wise — if you can w/o impacting overall supply. For those unaware, Plan B is a “morning after” drug. However, you should be clear on it’s usage and esp. it’s weight restrictions. It’s not dangerous, just has key limitations.

In addition to http://reprocare.com, mentioned in 1st link above, someone here noted https://aidaccess.org/ as another site for Abortion via mail.

I’m providing a variety of approaches — different people will have different needs. Even today, Roe is a dead letter for poorer people, especially of Color, due to lack of Internet access and ability to take time off for the procedure, if needed — including for bullshit “waiting periods”.

Many of the agencies and advocates mentioned above have experience, and guidance, in these areas. It’s worth at least getting familiar with modern options now, even if you’re in a “safe” State.

We have a lot of threads on the Roe leak. This one’s Open.

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Anti-Abortion equals Morally Bankrupt (But we knew that)

Apologize if someone has already noted this. From Mz Magazine:

On Thursday, April 7, Texas police arrested a woman and charged her with murder for allegedly self-inducing an abortion using pills. The woman, 26-year old Lizelle Herrera who lives near the Texas-Mexico border, is being held in Starr County jail on a $500,000 bond.

When I first heard of this, my initial response was to think of an old quote that I hold dear:

How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.

From Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., in Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Before I go on — if you can spare it, Frontera Fund is on the ground protesting this horror-show, as they have been for all the Texas restrictions. I suspect they could use the assist.

So — why care?

When I was a Baby Pro-Choice Activist, one of the things that got me over my Maleness and listening (at least a bit!) was the stories people would tell about their experiences with Abortions. Espcially when those Abortions were, shall we say, proscribed and constrained via Dr. King’s “unjust laws.” So-called “back alley abortions” were far from the only experience; coat-hangers, a useful symbol of a far more complex, and historically deep, process.

This cemented in my mind that Abortion is Moral, is Ethical. To debate its rightness in the face of all that we inflict upon those society identifies as Female, is horrifically unjust and a perversion Especiallyall right to self-identity and freedom. It locks them away in invisible chains, forcing them to do more, just to make it by — and silences them from communicating this unjustness, in many ways.

In that light: I do not know Mz. Herrera’s story. I do know that being arrested for murder, via self-inducing an abortion, is on this society’s face an unjust law. I do not discount, for a moment, that they targeted a Woman of Color, and slapped a half-million dollar bail on her.

I also note this arrest happens, even though the already-horrific Texas Legislature has been too cowardly to make taking the pills she took, a direct crime:

Texas does not have a law that makes self-inducing an abortion a crime (three states do—Oklahoma, South Carolina and Nevada).

So it would not shock me to find at this was a purely political move, designed to promote fear in people who’s biology allows them to reproduce, and their allies. A move to present this kind of Reproductive Rights as a “clear and present danger,” spurring on media attention and allowing this shameful Texas GOP to fig-leaf it, to use it as a “story” to install future restrictions on those Rights.

And, of course, to make all the political hay they can around that activity, as they have for months now.

It is beyond shameful to use this person as a “test case” in this way.

This is yet another in a long series of signs that the anti-choice, anti-reproductive rights forces have decided that any moral failing, in pursuit of “saving babies’ lives,” is allowed. And that they echo the ethical black hole of Mitch McConnell and Ron DeSantis in this, as recently documented on this very site, is not a coincidence.

I don’t have a fancy end for this, mostly because I’m red with rage. But this must be marked, and most be acknowledged for the brutality it inflicts, and threatens more of.

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Guess who’s pushing to end Russian Sanctions?

In his recent speech to the US Congress, Ukraine President Zelensky asked something of our Federal legislature – look into US businesses still operating in Russian territory:

All American companies must leave Russia from their market immediately because it is flooded with our blood. Ladies and gentlemen, members of Congress. If you have companies in your district who financed the Russian military machine, you should put pressure. I am asking to make sure the Russians do not receive a single penny they used to destroy people in Ukraine, the destruction of our country, the destruction of Europe.

Let’s give him, and them, a head’s up – they can look into how our old friends the Kochs are not only doing business in Russia to this day, but how they are steadfast in that business while leveraging paid political syncopates in attempts to limit Russian sanctions.

The Devil for this, is in the details. Specific notes from that reporting (links to sourcing available in the above-linked articles) after the break:

#1: Stand Together

Founded by Charles Koch to fund other groups. Dan Caldwell from the org started with arguing for American neutrality when Russia “merely” threatened Ukraine, and now claims that these current sanctions make Russia stronger.

There is a useful debate on these topics. Yet not when you’re shifting around, rooting for a reason to go easy on Russian aggression.

#2: American Institute for Economic Research

Has both funding and employees tied to Stand Together and the Charles Koch Institute. Ruger argued against American involvement in defending Ukraine on the Reason Magazine podcast in 3/2/2022, saying that “Ukraine simply doesn’t matter to America’s security or our prosperity.”

Then an 3/8/2022 article from a Cato Institute member, Doug Bandow, had the Caucacity to call the kinds of sanctions we’re imposing “grotesquely immoral.”

#3: Defense Priorities

Funded by the predecessor to Stand Together in the past. To sum up their opinions, per the reporting, they hate them some “useless” sanctions. One wag, Daniel DePetris, said in a 2/24/2022 article that sanctions are “merely an exercise in virtue signaling.”

“Virtue signaling” is the kind of dogwhisle Atwater would have loved, and underlines the truth of where he’s coming from.

#4: Koch Industries

After the above stink started to leak into mainstream media, Koch finally released a statement. In it, they simply…well, I’ll let the reporter’s opinions stand for itself:

Koch Industries is attempting to argue that continuing to operate in Russia is in the best interest of Ukraine and the Russian people. The company suggests that shuttering its massive glass manufacturing plants would benefit the Russian government. The implication is that the hundreds of companies that have left Russia are, in fact, empowering the Putin regime.

And there you have it, everyone. Koch has chosen where they will stand, in this moment drenched in innocent blood.

Wrapping the stink up

Now, again, there’s an argument to be made, by people who know more than I, about the utility of sanctions. Yet you can’t make it while hiding your funding sources — people who want those sanctions gone. (Although we know this is SOP for these folx).

So we should thank and support journalists like Popular Information for bringing these networks to light. It’ll make our Government’s work in rooting out the people and companies President Zelensky asked our lawmakers to look into, that much easier. I’m sure the same GOPers who were so eager to defame a brilliant legal mind this week, will get right on that.

As for the rest of us: if these groups are, as evidence shows, closely tied to any political movements and politicians? Well, we as citizens know some good questions to ask them, as well. To do our part to help our government, help Ukraine.

Win-win.

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Being Trans? Not A Crime.

And speaking of “nothing better to do than demonize and torment innocents in the name of power”:

As a non-legal reader, I should not say much on the petition itself. I do recommend reading it, length and all — that said, the crux of the issue is, per that document:

[…]on the afternoon of February 24, 2022, Plaintiff Jane Doe was informed that her family would be investigated in accordance with Governor Abbott’s letter to determine if Jane Doe and John Doe had committed abuse by affirming their transgender daughter’s identity and obtaining the medically necessary health care that she needs.

On February 25, 2022, a DFPS Child Protective Services (CPS) investigator visited the Doe family’s home to interview Jane Doe, John Doe, and Mary Doe.[…]the CPS investigator sought access through releases to Mary Doe’s medical records, which the Doe Plaintiffs refused to sign.

The CPS investigator disclosed that the sole allegation against Jane Doe and John Doe is that they have a transgender daughter and that their daughter may have been provided with medically necessary gender-affirming health care and is “currently transitioning from male to female.”

The issuance of the Paxton Opinion and the Abbott Letter, along with DFPS’s implementation of these, has terrorized the Doe family and inflicted ongoing and irreparable harm.

As a result of DFPS’s implementation and the subsequent investigation of the Doe family, Jane Doe has been placed on leave from her employment.

[Edits and emphasis mine — MisterDancer]

I will also note this line:

Mary Doe is transgender. When she was born, she was designated as “male” on her birth certificate, but she is a girl.

And that’s all that should matter.

Additional reading, especially if you lack time for the petition proper:

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Terrorism towards Historically Black Colleges and Universities

For Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Black History Month starts with terrorism. Multiple institutions of learning have had terrorists call in bomb threats, yesterday and today. Here are the ones I can find direct evidence of, either thru (semi)local reporting, or the school’s website/twitter/facebook:

I would assume there are others. I would emphasize these are all acts of terrorism, with all that implies. Furthermore: this is certainly meant to, at a minimum, send a message. To put fear into Black folx and those who stand with us.

Therefore: I list all of them in this way, as a small act of defiance. Not just to the terrorists, but to a media that will certainly will make the reporting on this act murky, will dump a partial list on the public without underlining the lives at risk, and the fear the students, faculty, and community rightly feel, at this time. Presenting each institution with its own report, as separately and directly as I can, is a small pushback against how these narratives tend to fail the people involved.

More than that, I’ll leave to experts in the field.

I’ll just close on a bit of the statement from the Morgan State University President on these tragedies:

My message to you this morning is to stay strong, remain resilient, and continue to prepare yourselves to grow the future and lead the world because our nation and world desperately need more leaders steeped in the values we teach here at Morgan. Those values are LeadershipIntegrityInnovationDiversity, Excellence and Respect. Hate is not one of them!

 

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OH Whoopi Goldberg NO

So, while The View team discussed the MAUS-banning school board, it turns out Whoopi Goldberg needs to be working thru her business:

[Whoopi] Goldberg continued to assert that Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” was not racial.

“What is it about?” Behar asked at one point.

“It’s about man’s inhumanity to man. That’s what it’s about,” Goldberg replied.

“But it’s about white supremacy,” co-host Ana Navarro retorted. “It’s about going after Jews and G*.”

Goldberg, meanwhile, claimed that “these are two white groups of people,” prompting co-host Sara Haines to point out that “they didn’t see them as white” while Behar noted that the Nazis targeted Black people as well.

[Edit and Emphasis mine — MisterDancer]

Now, I showed my ass in comments on this topic a few days ago. I’m still working thru my crap on this. So take this post with that pound of salt y’all keep in the pantry, please.

Yet: who just drops Jewish identity as unambiguously “white,” even in my relative ignorance compared to many? She should at least understand that whiteness, and the power it’s stamp brings, is a social construct. As such: it can be granted, denied, or even rescinded. Its arbitrariness is a boon to those who wield it — and Jews are so not in charge of that wielding.

And sometimes, that is explicitly laid out, in black and white.

See, Whoopi might not know this: Jim Crow and related US laws were used by the Nazis to baseline their Nuremberg Laws:

[…]American law, hard though it might be for us to accept it now, was a model for everybody in the early 20th century who was interested in creating a race-based order or race state. America was the leader in a whole variety of realms in racist law in the first part of that century. Some of this involved American immigration law, which was designed to exclude so-called “undesirable races” from immigration. In 1924 American immigration law in particular was praised by Hitler himself, in his book Mein Kampf.

But it wasn’t just about American immigration law. There was also American law creating forms of second-class citizenship — for African-Americans, of course, but also for other populations including Asians, Native Americans, Filipinos and Puerto Ricans. Not least, there were statutes in 30 American states forbidding and sometimes criminalizing interracial marriage. Those were of special interest to the Nazis.

[Bill] Moyers: And these lawyers saw America’s “Negro problem” as similar to their “Jewish problem?”

[James] Whitman: You bet they did.

Moyers: American law did not specifically target Jews, but— 

Whitman: But it certainly had a highly developed body of law targeting other groups.

Being a born-and-bred New Yorker, she might have heard about the 1939 Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden. If she had, its implications should have been echoing in her ears as she made that horrible argument, pulling her up.

That implication? That our struggles are united. Harm done to one easily spreads to all. It’s imperative we understand the cross-currents of bigotry, lest we fail to see the warning signs.

Yes, she should know better, as should have I. I’m not going to dive into the long a painful history around Black and Jewish communities, and struggles for equality. Yet I must say: to buy into this “they both white!” bullshit is beyond merely “harmful.” And we Black folx should know that, more than most.

She deserved not just the pushback on the show, not just the callout from the ADL, but a lot more, besides. And it’s something to not just throw vitriol at, but to learn from and strive to avoid.

I don’t have a great ending for this post. Just a promise that I’ll try to do right by y’all — and a fucking great heap better than Whoopi.

(Also, too: I get The View person trying to correct Whoopi via incorporating the other groups targeted. Yet Romani is a much better term to use; something else I learned the hard way. Those folx are to this day getting the short end of damned near every stick there is, and deserve at least a modicum of respect.)

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MLK: from Dreaming to Reality

Among the most painful bits of Dr. King’s legacy is how so much of it’s reduced to “I Have a Dream.” It’s true that it’s a landmark speech, powerful and moving…

…and always heard out of context of the other, more direct speeches that graced the March on Washington (a March organized by an openly Gay Man, no less – go look up the badass Bayard Rustin, please and thank you!). As if  the marchers just wanted to spend all day on their feet, listening to platitudes and winsome ideas!

I’m not going to dive into that context, I assume your Google button ain’t broke. :) What I will do, is talk about a couple of other works by Dr. King, works that ground him in the realities he fought to overcome, and that echo into these times.

The text for the afternoon will be taken from two works from near Dr. King’s passing:

  • “The Drum Major Instinct,” (hereafter DRUM), which you can listen to here, and read here, and
  • “A New Sense of Direction,” (hereafter SENSE), which you can read here.

I post all this to encourage you to read/listen to the above in full. To underline that Dr. King was far richer a thinker and even rabble-rouser than gets noticed — that the Hoover FBI feared him for damned good reasons. If you chose to read the above docs, and skip the rest of this? HELL YA!

But for those who want more? Follow…

See, Dr. King did not buy into a color-blind society. That wasn’t the context he gave his “Dream” speech under. The context, the fuller context of his work and life’s mission, is made plain by this remarkable passage in DRUM:

 

[…]when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, “Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You’re just as poor as Negroes.”

And I said, “You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. (Yes) And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white.

And you’re so poor you can’t send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march.”

Now that’s a fact. That the poor white has been put into this position, where through blindness and prejudice, (Make it plain) he is forced to support his oppressors. And the only thing he has going for him is the false feeling that he’s superior because his skin is white—and can’t hardly eat and make his ends meet week in and week out.

And there’s so much more.

One of the positive parts of Dr. King’s approach was in seeing a bigger picture, was in tying together all manner of injustice into a massive framework, what we today would call an attempt at intersectionality. It’s far from perfect; we know he was far too casual about martial relations to see the fullness of sexism. And although he was surprisingly cool with Rustin, he also failed to be vocal at all about what we’d today call LBGTQIA+ issues.

Yet there was a seed of power in his approach to directing white people to look inside themselves, in his challenge to their (and society’s) assumption of inherent goodness. And as critical as he was towards poor whites, that sympathy evaporates completely when you consider his words towards what we, today, might see as Privileged White people. From SENSE:

[…]policy-makers of the white society have caused the darkness. It was they who created the frustrating slums. They perpetuate unemployment and poverty and oppression. Perhaps it is incontestable and deplorable that Negroes have committed crimes, but these are essentially derivative crimes. They are born of the greater crimes of the white society.

King is far more aggressive – even angry — about calling out white society than he’s usually portrayed as. Reading his dissections of that systemic failure, and ideas on overcoming it, are bracing to this day…sadly.

See, King’s quick to lay the political blame on what I contend are still surpassing the Black and Brown voice in politics:

Negroes became outraged by blatant inequality. Their ultimate goal was total, unqualified freedom. The majority of the white progressives were outraged by the brutality displayed. Their goal was improvement or limited progression.

Obtaining the right to use public facilities, register and vote, token educational advancement, brought to the Negro a sense of achievement; he felt the momentum. But it brought to the whites a sense of completion. When Negroes assertively moved on to ascend the second rung of the ladder, a firm resistance from the white community became manifest.[….] Everyone underestimated the amount of rage Negroes were suppressing and the amount of bigotry the white majority was disguising.

(Not everyone. Ask Malcolm X, or Rev. Shuttlesworth, and you’d get a different answer on this, to name two people right off.)

But Dr. King is hella on the right track. And he knows it. And we’re still talking about the impact white progressives have on the Black and Brown vote, to this very day.

And because he’s on the right track, I can say this: Dr. King is clear that some changes can’t be made by speaking too kindly. That some painful truths have to come to the fore.

That’s what Black Lives Matter did. That’s what the 1619 Project did. That’s (part of) why Critical Race Theory – an academic theory mostly for lawyers – had to be scapegoated.

Dr. King saw that the closer we get to reality, the harsher the blow back. The more we talk about the systemic issues in this country, the more the arc of justice pushes the many folx who’ve suffered under those issues into the light and air we all deserve…and the more the old guard will press and preen and pervert and backstab to maintain power.

And SENSE touches on what kind of people have, and can, overcome those barriers:

[…]there are millions who have risen morally above prevailing prejudices. They are willing to share power and to accept structural alterations of society, even at the cost of traditional privilege.[…]Their support serves not only to enhance our power, but their break from the attitudes of the larger society splits and weakens our opposition.

It’s…not an easy calling, that Higher Calling, y’all. If you say it is, if you think I overstate things, then I ask you to show your work.

To conclude: I submit there are some things we can all learn from studying even a bit of Dr. King. And I hope the above serves as a starter, to that on your part, today.

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Gravely Disappointed

Regarding Senator Sinema’s words, yesterday: I would muse on the…universality, if you will, of the toxic approach people like Senator Sinema take in all this. For it reminds me, again, of Dr. King’s words on this kind of person:

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is:

  • more devoted to “order” than to justice,
  • who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice,
  • who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”,
  • who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom,
  • who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

—-King, Martin Luther. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.].” Upenn.edu, 16 Apr. 1963, www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html.

[Edits mine – MisterDancer]

Why does the above matter? Because: There’s a saying in some social justice circles, that what’s needed aren’t Allies. They need Accomplices.

What does that mean? It means people who are willing to not just let go of prejudice, not just willing to address other’s prejudices when it’s convenient for them, but actively engaged in using their privilege to raise people up, and in – at the end of the day – engaged in the life—long work to dismantling their privilege.

They require people who will avoid taking up all the space so that all voices can be heard far more equally, than happens today. They underline that you cannot support a movement, while sucking at the teat of the forces that seek to break that movement.

And so, yesterday, Senator Sinema chose to take up all the space, to take up all the air. She chose to offer a negative peace, over justice.

She, and the other Senators, outspoken and silent, she stands with will say to their last breath, they are Allies. They will insist their stance is about doing the right thing, the right way. That they just can’t agree with the methods for direct action, to protect the stealing of votes. They insist there is time to find another convenient season, to address these issues.

In this, they are not far in words traded in our media from the deeper threat – the GOP who applaud these moves. The ones who see on the horizon a time when their cult of power cannot be broken, and their desire for power will go unchallenged. These are people who have not forgotten the truth of the Dixiecrats: for all their spoken hate of Black and Brown folx (among many others), they needed my ancestors. Jim Crow’s broken-assed economy meant they couldn’t just throw their bodies, or even minds, away. They couldn’t escape the reality, save by lying to everyone about it by claiming Jim Crow as the “moderate” stance, the stance of “good” people.

Indeed, “scientific racism” was invented so that Victorian-era people could feel good about treating groups of people like machines. And to do so while claiming they were Allies to the people they abused, just as slave owners came to say that Black folx were children who required a firm hand…indefinitely.

And that “good feelings first” mentality allowed 1700 of those slave owners to stand in Congress over the centuries. The very same American Congress, the seat of freedom, where Senator Sinema chose to defend their horrors in standing against voting rights.

After all, they were all good moderate people, to be certain. /s

People have always sought a way to be a moderate, a centrist, even in light of much of the worst humanity has done. To retain every bit of their privilege, a thing they “deserve” and have “worked hard for, unlike others”. To hold their space and never yield it, ensuring they and the people they “care” about are always seen as important, now and forever trapped in an amber poured of blood and pain.

There are trials and tribulations to come. And they come, in no small part, from what I’ve written above.

So, to you, the reader who made it through all this ramble: I’m going to try to use my energy here to be a better Accomplice. And I’m working through what that means, considering the current situation. What I can bring to light here to accomplish that mission, and to build connections and community — even if I have to be mean about it, sometimes. :)

Y’all hold me to task, on that, OK?

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A Reason to Sing.

[EDIT: Yes, this is Woodrow/Asim, in my new nick!] Nothing pisses off The Right, like actually enjoying your life, even when that life holds pain and sorrow.

So let’s talk late 90s’ pop tunes!

Specifically: how one of them came to be played at the Inauguration…and how it reminds me, of the emotional richness from singing Gospel, many years ago. A richness that can help, to push back a bit of the darkness.

Let’s start with the song — “You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals, aka Beau Biden’s “theme song” as he fought cancer…:

…and a One-Hit Wonder. Yet, despite it’s seemingly ephemeral nature, so many of us who heard it at that time, kept it close to our hearts. As a struggling dancer myself, it was a massive uplift for me.

And for a Beau Biden who, years later, would struggle with something much more serious in his life? It became a balm, one he passed onto his “old man” — a man who is now our President, and who had the band come back from the dead to play the song at his Inauguration.

But why this song? And what the heck does any of this pop pablum, have to do with the long and treasured history of Gospel Music?

So let’s dive into Joy…and Pain. How “life is more, than mere survival.”

I suspect Beau and Joe came to this song for the same reason a lot of us did — because it made us feel, deep in our gut, emotions we don’t always acknowledge in our words and deeds — that we feel we cannot. And said feeling was of a song that, despite its catchy tune, despite lyrics reaching out for joy, it’s also drenched in — and it’s infamous ending reeks of — pain. Of a loss, of control over our lives, and screaming out for that to change.

And if it can’t change, much like the Serenity Prayer, you learn to accept.

In that, yeah, it reminds me of the Gospel I sang, as a kid.

Gospel Music (and in this, I’m laser-focused on the songs from the African-American tradition) has a lot of emotional power, power that comes from shared burdens and pain. By its very nature, both coming from the long history of Christianity, and the specific “out of bondage” narrative of the African-American traditions, they are oftentimes songs about finding joy in the worst of pain. The old saying of “Making a way out of no way” is richly echoed by “You Get…” without aping or appropriating, and that gives it a ton of power that helps explain it’s near-cultish survival.

When the Florida Mass Choir sings that Jesus “makes my bridge over troubled waters/makes my hope — hope! — for tomorrow,” yeah, it’s a Christian version of “You Only Get…”‘s chorus around “One dance left, this world is gonna pull through/Don’t give up, you’ve got a reason to live”. Both are reminders that there’s power in sharing our burdens, a topic I expect to return to, in my tenure here.

But more critically, Gospel does this not in the style of a hopeless, painful singing style, not in ways that drag down the actual listening experience. You learn to sing Gospel as an act of defiance, of joyous surrender to the moment, and to God/Jesus (yes, that’s a whole-assed topic itself…). Gospel taught me, and “You Get” reinforces, that you can sing about horribly painful subjects, about the ugliness of the world around you, and do so in ways that empower you to step into tomorrow.

That’s…not for everyone, to say the least. Toxic Positivity is a real thing, and so is real no-joke Depression that turns everything dark, with no light from anything. These words, my writing here today, should never be used to mask or force people into some “damned light”.

But, in the aggregate, they do matter. Pushing back fear, always matters. Building connections, especially across the boundaries of artifice and culture, always matters.

And if me building a connection between a lamented son’s favorite song, and a musical style that lifted up millions for decades, helps you, today? I’m glad.

And if it just confused you? Well, welcome to the fun house that is my mind.

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