My friend Joyce came down from NYC on a bus sponsored by Audra McDonald for the big civil rights march yesterday. We met up amidst 300,000 of our closest friends and had a wonderful time.
Bayard Rustin is one of my personal heroes. He organized the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King made his "I Have a Dream" speech. He was the principal aide to labor and civil rights pioneer A. Phillip Randolph. He was 20th-century America's foremost strategist, practitioner and teacher of non-violent civil disobedience. That's not my assessment. It was Gandhi's.
Part of why you don't know about Rustin is that he was gay. So he lived in the shadows of peace movements, civil rights campaigns and coordinated acts of non-violent resistance that could not have happened without him.
I was tickled appropriately pink to hear his name and spirit invoked often and with due reverence yesterday.
One thing I love to do at political protests is read the signs. The two best I saw were:
A) A body-length placard worn by a thoroughly suburban looking teenager which read "I CAN'T BELIEVE WE STILL HAVE TO PROTEST ABOUT THIS SHIT", and
B) The one I've plucked from twitpics, below:
Joyce and I saw these folks on the Capitol grounds.
I got an appeal for contributions this morning, to help people walloped by Typhoon Ketsana and the Pacific Earthquakes.
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Director of Development wrote:
As you've seen in the news, at the end of September, Typhoon Ketsana struck the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, causing hundreds of deaths and displacing thousands of families.
A few days later, powerful earthquakes struck the Pacific near American Samoa, triggering three separate tsunami waves, killing over a thousand people, many in the West Sumatran capital of Padang. Subsequent storms killed hundreds of people in the Philippines and millions have been displaced from their homes due to flooding.
Numerous organizations are providing life-saving aid in these areas. For a list of some of the organizations that are accepting donations for this effort go to www.urj.org/relief.
Rabbi Marla J. Feldman Director of Development Union for Reform Judaism
Both my father and my paternal grandmother were suicides, so pshrinks drool like a kennel full of Pavlov's dogs when they hear my family history. The meds put a floor under how sad I can get. I might be miserable, but I don't tip over into suicidal. And when not in the grip of an acute episode, I'm capable of as much joy as any other average twit.
Beyond meds and talk therapy, a couple of other things help.
(A) One is remembering the First Rule of Holes: If you find yourself in one --- STOP DIGGING. Because it's hard to apply the judgment this rule relies on when you're depressed, loving, honest feedback from family and a competent therapist are critical.
(B) Another is the old joke about how many psychiatrists it takes to change a lightbulb. (Just one, but the liightbulb has to want to change.) Again, lovingkindness from those around you is sometimes the only motivation you have left for changing, because the depression obscures your ability to see that change is even possible.
Ultimately, I had to decide for myself to find the help I needed. That entailed, among other things, accepting the idea that depression is an illness, not a character flaw. Crucial to my finally accepting that idea was the encouragement of friends and family.
Withdrawal is a symptom of depression. If someone you love, or even just like, is withdrawing and spiraling downward, reach out to them. There's no guarantee you'll be the right person at the right time, but you might be.