Democracy is a thing we DO

A reminder to keep screaming

America is an oligarchy organized by the hierarchy of the white supremacist patriarchy. Pancake Brain is a (free) Friday newsletter dedicated to replacing the status quo with equitable public power, and a community dedicated to building the discipline of democracy that equity requires. We move through the world committed to a daily practice of activism and critical thinking. We reject limitations and embrace the possibilities of social imagination, certain that the queer future is better than anything we’ve yet dreamed up. We insist on our right and duty to the political conversation, and empower others to join us. Out of love for ourselves and the collective, we are engaged in a sustainable practice of freedom, endlessly un-fucking our brains.

This project is based on How to Start a Revolution, which I hope you can read or listen to here.

Dearest Pancake Brains,

The proceedings of impeachment continue to reveal that this country is an oligarchy, in which a small group of leaders barely even pretend to respond to the electorate. It’s maddening to watch as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell openly espouses allegiance to the President, as if he were hired legal council, and not a representative of the American people. Much coverage of the Senate trial makes it tempting to succumb to a foreordained conclusion of this anti-democratic spectacle. Supposedly, the Republicans have already decided that Trump is getting acquitted. Don’t give in.

As I insist “How to Start a Revolution,” and will continue screaming until I permanently damage my vocal cords: Democracy is not a thing we have, it is a thing we DO, and all the time. Resist the pull of impotent cynicism. To go numb is to silently consent to the ongoing dumpster fire, surrendering your share of our collective public power to tapping out entirely.

If raising your voice politically is intimidating, start small. One easy (and free!) thing you can do is make a commitment to call your Senator every day of the trial. Reach out to five friends, and tell them to do the same. Maybe, beyond that, you’ll consider making a donation to the candidate running against openly obstinate Senators, taking the leap and volunteering for your primary pick, joining or organizing a protest. (For my fellow New Yorkers: I’ll be joining the LasTesis action in Foley Square tomorrow morning, lending my voice and dance moves to the #MeToo demonstration which will honor the continued impact of the Women’s March and reject the illegitimate power of the admitted sexual predator in the White House.)


The thing we all must commit to is a sustainable discipline of active citizenship. Maybe your ritual includes contacting elected officials, demonstrating, joining a campaign or starting one yourself. I don’t give a shit what you do, but do something. Bonus points if you can be the Lisa Simpson of your social circle, and get all your friends in on saving democracy too.

Sending love and strength,

p.s. My dad recorded a podcast, and it is the sweetest thing my ears have ever heard!!! I did a interview on Positively Dad, talking about the way we’ve healed our relationship, and after my dad heard it, he agreed to share his side of the story. I’m so goddamn proud of the friendship we’ve built after our 2016 election fallout. Listen here if you feel like crying happy tears on your commute later.