2 min read

How will you dissent

This is not your regularly scheduled Summer Reading issue
old-school TV screen, "Emergency broadcast system" screen, white block letters on a multi-colored test pattern
emergency broadcast system by Pipe Loyola M, CC BY 2.0

On Friday night I went to bed at 6pm.  I stayed there until I woke up on Sunday, thinking, “How will I dissent.” After peeling off the now-dank We Are The Squad t-shirt I had been wearing for 36 hours, I got coffee.

(This is not my summer reading issue.)

Once upon a time, you would have worked with more people who knew how institutions worked, and how people worked. Part of their purpose was to coach junior folks through novel situations, because they had seen it all before. If you had their ear and their support, they could also push back against bad decisions, or bad actors. Sometimes.

When I have thought about what I’m here to do — and I mean here in this newsletter, and in companies, even some of your companies — it’s been to imperfectly, temporarily, insufficiently, step into that role. Or at least to use that voice, to be that voice. That otherwise absent voice.

I’m here today to say, some of us saw this coming. Some of us, as young people, watched Joe Biden and his cronies on live TV as they dismembered Anita Hill, another young woman in our cohort. Just another warning to all of us Ann-Taylor-suit-and-nice-earrings-wearing-up-and-comers. So we protested and marched and voted and petitioned and volunteered. Again and again. Biden is not going to save us.

Your company, which may have backed the people who have been coming for us, or may be collecting data that will be used against women, is not going to save us. Or even you. Your company was built for its investors. When the rubber meets the road, the company won't have the stomach to break the pre-civil war era laws that may be on the books in your state. So sad too bad.

When I write to you, I usually try to include practical points, something that you can use in your work.  What would I do, were I that grizzled senior leader in your company, what would I say?

I’d say, this is an emergency, and it’s going to be a long one. I’d say, I’m not competent to understand how we function in the now hair-on-fire assault on the illusion of civil rights in the US. And that anyone who denies that we're in an emergency is either in denial, or a liar.

I’d say that our first step towards functioning is to recognize that nobody is coming to save us; we must save each other.

And that we do have each other. And, that I dissent.

May you and your loved ones be safe, healthy, and free.

Anne Libby

Gif - woman resolutely walks away from an explding house