January 29, 2017
On the evening of January 21st, after a day of stomping through the soggy streets of Portland in solidarity with millions of women, men, and children worldwide, Hot Won’t Quit and our good friends Plastic Pets and This Fair City took the stage at Kelly’s Olympian to benefit the Center for Reproductive Rights. We want to thank everyone for rocking out and raising money for such an important cause at such an important moment.
In their most recent issue, the editors of n+1 magazine struggled to contextualize the election of our current president, and they captured the essential project of post-Trump feminism thusly:
We thought we could take the entry point of feminism for granted, believe in the permanence of its basic achievements: the franchise and representation in government, the right to pleasure and the right to solitude, 100 cents on the dollar for our labor, the freedom to decide when and whether to have children. We assumed our own generation’s fight would be for new and better things, for ways of being and thinking not available in the past – not for the achievements won by our mother and grandmothers… The challenge, now, is to expect nothing but still demand everything: to fight our mothers’ fight and our own at the same time.
In addition to framing the daunting challenge of modern feminism (and its maddening resemblance to historical feminism), this passage points to another, broader truth that is only now beginning to dawn on those of us who hoped to one day live in a post-racist/sexist/genderist world: progress is not won, but nurtured; not achieved, but sustained. Ground is gained or lost, but rarely held.
It is frequently exhausting, frustrating work, and after 2016, it’s tempting to seek a reprieve from political-everything. Hey, we’re a punk rock band, and the word “stoned” is in the title to one of our songs (so far!). Diversion is the name of our game!
And it’s not just political now, because of Donald Trump or the invective of the last 18-month election cycle or the false notion that there are suddenly “two Americas.” It is because when people are organized into a society – especially one that espouses democratic principles – everything is always and by default political. Perhaps circumstance is only now opening our eyes, but the price of a ticket in a true, mature democracy has always been constant vigilance, constant participation, and constant self-sacrifice. Citizenship has always been a 24-hour job. The society we imagine for ourselves – the one we pretend to live in now – demands it.
And while HWQ’s fumbling capacity for nuance – an essential element of progress and understanding in a climate of manufactured, fomented left-right opposition – and our cozy spots in the genetic catbird seat mean the protest anthems are best left to the Laura Jane Graces of the world, we are learning that there is a place for everyone when it comes to doing what is right – and doing what we can.
It meant the world to us that you joined us on the evening the 21st. We won’t always get this stuff right; no one does. But we’ll keep our legs pumping. And have a blast doing it.