Advice for 2018: Find your people and avoid the poison carrots

If this past year has taught me anything, it’s this: Find your people.

Let me say that again, louder: FIND YOUR PEOPLE. Find your people, love them, respect them and hold on to them for all you’re worth. Don’t take them for granted. Because all we have anymore is each other.

I used to kind of believe that most people were basically good and that Americans were basically on the same side. Now I know that’s not true. There are plenty of people out there whose “values” can be nudged if you only hold out the right kind of carrot in front of them. It might be a bigot-flavored carrot, or it might be the carrot that hates “the gays.” Some people chase the carrot that gives them power over women’s very lives and bodies. Some people chase the money carrot. The money carrot people don’t even care if some Americans have no carrots. Money carrot people figure they have their own carrot and fuck everyone else who can’t figure out how to get their own. What’s really weird is that all these carrot fuckers support each other and therefore are able to vote as an evil carrot block. Wild, right?

I also learned in 2017 that there is no reasoning with people who are so easily influenced by a poison carrot. There is no making friends. No agreeing to disagree. So I hereby turn my back on the bad carrot lovers. Fuck them. They have nothing to offer. Don’t get me wrong: I will continue to believe in and advocate for rights and fair treatment for everyone, even the poison carrot fuckers, because I do believe in equal rights, but I’m done trying to make friends with those folks. It takes too much time and energy to fight with bad carrots. And what do you have when you’re done? You’re pissed off and the bad-carrot asshole is going to go right back to denying gay people their rights or hiding his money in the Cayman Islands or ironing her white hood or whatever it is that bad carrot assholes do to pass the time. I don’t really care, and no, New York Times, we don’t’ need another article about what they’re doing because we no longer care.

I can hear my particularly squishy-hearted liberal friends right now: But Amber! We have to make friends! We have to reach across the aisle! We have to heal the nation! To my squishy-hearted liberal friends: I have heard you and I tried. But we can’t even agree on what it means to be Americans anymore.

White liberals: if you haven’t yet figured out that people of color are YOUR PEOPLE, then pull your heads out of your asses. If you want quality public education for your kids that’s science-based and not religious, make friends with people of color. If you want equal pay for women and men, make friends with people of color. If you’d like to see women have ownership of their own bodies, make friends with people of color. If you want to see Universal Healthcare and family leave, MAKE FRIENDS WITH PEOPLE OF COLOR.

And when I say “make friends,” I don’t mean to just pay them lip-service. I mean vote for politicians and policies that BENEFIT YOUR FRIENDS OF COLOR. Support businesses owned by people of color. Hire them. Work for them! Speak up when you see people of color being treated unjustly. Most importantly, LISTEN TO THEM. Make room at the table for people of color, and then … Seek out the tables people of color have already set up themselves, and ask politely if you may have a seat as well. And you know what? They may be reluctant to give you a seat at their table because you have, most certainly, wittingly and unwittingly, supported the carrot fuckers at one time or another, or at least benefitted by looking like them. So chill out, and don’t take offence.

I don’t know how to wrap up this poison carrot metaphor, so I won’t. The poison carrots don’t matter anyway.

What matters is us. We need to find our people and stick close together.

Writer, novelist, Kansan, wife, mom, essayist, journalist, reproductive rights activist, Jayhawk, dork. @KSAbortionFund

Writer, novelist, Kansan, wife, mom, essayist, journalist, reproductive rights activist, Jayhawk, dork. @KSAbortionFund