Monday, January 31, 2011

Momentum Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

There is an fable by Aesop that I think of often when I think of the movement to find justice and equality for Natural Mothers and Adoptees. It's the one about "Belling The Cat."

" The Mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day. Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought good enough. At last a very young Mouse got up and said: “I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.”

All the Mice were much surprised that they had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of the rejoicing over their good fortune, an old Mouse arose and said:

“I will say that the plan of the young Mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?”

It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it."

Since the SMAAC position paper on Equal Access was published, there have been quite a few enthusiastic comments and no small amount of optimism. Not only is everyone excited by the idea that something might get done, it seems everyone has a different idea about how it should be done and then there are those who say it can't be done and we should be placing our focus elsewhere.

There are so many chiefs and so few warriors that it gets top-heavy in activism land. Then there are those that talk and say but don't follow through. I'm ashamed to admit that I've been one of those when it comes to taking my place at events and venues. The problem is that life intervenes. It's sort of like our plans to relocate for our retirement. The housing market bust has put the kibosh on that one for a while. We want to go here and we want to go there but can we afford the journey? Can we be sure that we or a family member doesn't fall ill?

It has been suggested that we take this fight to the streets and to the source. That is a really good suggestion but how many are willing to leave the comfort of the home, many of us in our Golden Years, to stand on hard pavement, holding signs and shouting slogans? How many of us are willing to put our names out there, to be recognized as an Exiled Mother of the EMS? How many of us are ready to spend long, boring hours in the heat or cold, sitting behind a table and giving out flyers? Money is an issue. How many are willing to donate for the cause?

Let's say the Industry, with its lobbyists and government toadies, is the cat and we are the mice. One of us against that behemoth would be news-worthy but foolish. The cat is a light sleeper and just one of us couldn't sneak up on it and place the bell around its neck. But enough of us surrounding the fat cat would certainly distract it and we just might be able to be heard above its yowling.

I have had my share of those who would lead us who delegate, critique the efforts of all their troops and then are nowhere to be found when it's time for a reckoning. I have grown tired of those who are sure they know a better way but no practical methods to achieve their better ideas. I am weary of egos, of people wanting to be the "go-to experts" in this area and who are more concerned with their imagined "legacies" than with justice.

Most of all, I am tired of watching people getting all excited, only to watch that excitement wane, lose substance and swirl down the drain to another repeat of the sound of silence.

I do what I do. I am a writer who pulls from my passions and flow of consciousness. I am a good rabble rouser with the extra advantage of having truth as a subject matter. I can provide a warm body and a fairly eloquent and fervent speech or two. I am willing to put those talents and attributes into this fight. I will be in San Antonio in August (barring death or disease*. I am one mouse who is ready to face the cat.

The question is, who is going to help us bell the cat? Gosh, it just got awfully quiet in here.


Unknown said...

Your room awaits, Madam. I am looking so forward to August, which is NOT something I thought I would ever say in San Antonio!! LOL

I am in almost total agreement with your post. I will be marching (if my feet hold out) and I will be carrying a sign. But, I am thinking about doing some picketing between now and then to sort of warm the waters a bit...I like that idea! I may have to start out doing it myself and alone, but I bet I won't be alone for long!

Chris said...

Well, I am quite willing to join any contingent of natural mothers and adult adoptees that would like to protest at the adoption agency of anyone's choice in the Chicago-Land area...that's what I can do. Sometimes it isn't always the Great Planned Protest that gets all the attention. I believe that many small ones, happening often, in many places and not necessarily at the same time...will garner just as much attention. And that does not require lots of $$$$$$.
I can no longer travel far and wide. But if called upon in the Chicago area...I will be there!!

Anonymous said...

I will do whatever I can legwork meaning
carrying posters,protesting etc. I have been
to DC marched with a big group of women
and adoptee's. Of course news media was
busy with every other media event of that day.
walked miles that day will do those things.
Have also traveled to Disney studios when
Barbara Walter was helping take a baby from
it's mother it was a show. Disgusting Barran
and her side kick forgot his name was there not
protesting but for media attention. Also been to
a CUB conference in California. My income is
limited but can plan ahead. Oh and have been
to New York with many of you.