Chop Wood, Carry Water


There’s a famous Zen Buddhist quote: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

The day after the Mueller Report dropped seems like a good time to meditate upon it.

The Mueller Report is not going to “save” us – it never was.

The day before it dropped, what do we in #TheResistance do? Chop wood, carry water.

The day after it dropped, what should we do? Chop wood, carry water.


Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

There’s a saying on black Twitter: Come and get your people.

It’s often used to refer to white folks, and it means: Come get your granny, who’s been red-pilled by Fox News and propaganda being spread on Facebook. Come get your racist Uncle Fred. Come get your Trump-supporting parents, and your white supremacist brother.

Beloveds, if they were gettable, they’ve would’ve been got by now. I’ve tried. Many of us have tried. For MANY long, weary years.

There is NOTHING in the Mueller Report that will persuade them. There is nothing that would have possibly persuaded them. They’ve been with Trump from “Mexicans are rapists” through “many fine Nazis” to putting babies in cages. He could lay out an American flag on the floor of the Lincoln Memorial, take a shit on it, and wipe his ass with the original Constitution, stolen out of the National Archives, and they’d get tattoos of the image.

So we return to chopping wood and carrying water.

What does that look like in practice?

  • Registering people to vote. (Not sure how to do that? The League of Women Voters has all the information you need.)
  • Writing postcards to voters. (I know there are no active elections right this second, but there are ALWAYS issues you can write about. Postcards To Voters knows what they are and will set you up.)
  • Getting involved in local politics. National politics is the spectacle, but what happens in your city council or county government has an exponentially larger impact on your day to day life. Take 50% of the energy you’ve been devoting to obsessively refreshing Twitter and bitching about TrumPutin on Facebook and redirect it to learning about what’s happening in your town or city and getting involved. Get to know your local reps and issues and make your voice heard. They will actually listen to you and you may be able to change their minds – or at least their votes.
  • Volunteering in your community. Find an issue you care deeply about – hunger, homelessness, literacy, education, local wildlife, the nearest body of water, the arts, domestic violence, anti-racism – contact a LOCAL organization that’s involved in that issue, and ask how you can help.
  • Thinking globally but donating locally. $100 to Greenpeace isn’t even a drop in the bucket of their next direct mail campaign. $100 to your local food bank will feed 250 of your neighbors who are experiencing food insecurity.

Like I said, chop wood, carry water. Today and all the days.

Photo by the author. If you copy, please link back.

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @MrsWhatsit1.

4 responses to “Chop Wood, Carry Water

  1. What you say about local politics is so true! So many municipalities are making truly heroic efforts. My city (Austin) has been in a constant battle against the state and somehow it still makes progress. Giving money does not have nearly the impact of getting out and being active. However, of all the environmental groups the only one I would give money to would be Greenpeace. They actually get results. The others tend to use the money to enrich themselves.

  2. I remember reading a book, although I cannot remember the name, about exactly this idea. But even after and enlightenment what you do is chop wood and carry water. Of course it is even more true after a disillusionment, you must chop wood and carry water – It is how all the necessary things get done.

  3. thank you. I’ve tried so hard to help my friends during their anticipation of the report as if it would be a magical sparkle pony and Mueller as The Savior. I understood the hope, but I also know things don’t work that way.

    Oddly enough, the same folks are ignoring the important elements of that report (those elements that we were allowed to see). These are critical to comprehending what Mueller did. He’s given states that need it the info they need to indict but they cannot do so until he is no longer President. They are there and can act later, like the safety net. In this report, he gave out and open the reasons for impeachment and indicated that since this is a constitutional issue, he cannot indict a sitting President, and thus Congress must pursue it and “here’s how”.

    Unfortunately, just like the fox believing granny, they do not seem to be able to see and are doing the idiotic “corporate” Democrat blaming again. “They do nothing!” I keep telling them to follow Schumer, Pelosi, and major committee chairs and watch the almost daily parade of speeches (on the chamber floor and in the hall) and serious lay it on the line letters. Then understand that we are restricted in what we can do and how. We are fortunate that we can now block a lot of funding, but that’s it. The Senate will undo every single thing the House tries to do – all because we didn’t vote in sufficient numbers to take the few seats necessary to win the Senate.

    Reality is not fun, it’s not high five satisfying, it’s not run around and celebrate glorious. It ‘s just real. I appreciate your words.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! And btw, there are always elections going on. I’m a Postcards to Voters devotee, and I’m currently writing postcards for Marc Friedenberg, running for Congress from PA. Today’s election day in Allen, TX; I wrote for Melanie Hughes, who’s running for city council. Thanks to PTV, I’ve learned a lot about what’s going on in other parts of the country.

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