Upside Down You're Turning Me
From the first episode of Stranger Things—the critically acclaimed, science fiction/horror, web television show—I was hooked. Steve and I binge-watched the first season in two nights. At the heart of the show is an alternate reality—an upside down, dark and dystopian version of the world as we know it. The nature of that upside down world was explained in an episode titled “The Acrobat and the Flea": an acrobat can only move forward and backward on the top of the tightrope, a flea can crawl underneath it, as well.
So here we are in the age of Trump, where lies are called “alternate facts” and the world as we have known it has been turned upside down. Trumps vision is a dark one, as was his “American carnage” inauguration speech. The world watches. The revolt has already begun.
As is our custom, my husband Steve and I spent our holidays in the Deep South. One morning during my stay in Birmingham I arrived back at my brother’s house after walking the dog, to find a sign stuck into the wrought iron of the door. Since then, I have discovered it to be widespread; at the time, it was new to me, and I smoothed it out and put it in a more visible place on the front door of the house. That small sign read:
In this house, we believe:
Black Lives Matter
Women’s Rights are Human Rights
No Human is Illegal
Science is Real
Love is Love
Kindness is Everything
The heart of this message is love for one another, respect for human life—for all life. It is a message that seems to be at odds with the tone of our new administration—and that makes it the reason the world feels upside down to so many of us right now.
Great leaders cast great visions, they inspire others to be the best they can be, they tell the truth.
This year CAMP Rehoboth will celebrate its 27th anniversary. For each and every one of those years, we have worked to change attitudes by creating a positive environment everywhere we possibly could.
Since the last election, anti-LGBT groups have gained power, and feel emboldened. We may very well face defeats in some areas, but it will not last—especially in the places where people and organizations have created a strong network of love and support in their community.
The world is continuing to open around us, we are more and more becoming a global community, and that will still happen—even if some of our leaders make bad, temporary choices right now.
As we face a new year here at CAMP Rehoboth, we have to continue to build a strong foundation for our “house and heart” philosophy that all people are welcome—not just here in our amazing little community, but everywhere.
On June 11, a new LGBTQ March on Washington is being planned. The announcement of that March is too recent for us to have finalized our plans, but CAMP Rehoboth will certainly have a presence there—and Delaware will be well represented. Rainbow flags will fly: diversity and respect for all people will be the message.
In Stranger Things Winona Ryder’s character Joyce had to find a way into “the upside down” in order to save her son. Rarely in our lives have we seen “stranger things” than the state of our current politics, and like Joyce, we cannot allow it to drive us crazy, and we must find a way to navigate its unfamiliar terrain without losing our way—or losing our ability to love and to be kind to one another.
Back in 1980, Diana Ross had a number one hit with the single “Upside Down,” written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic: “I said upside down; You’re turning me; You’re giving love instinctively; Around and round you’re turning me.” Recently, that song keeps playing in the back of my mind, and it cheers me up for I am reminded that looking at something from a different vantage point can teach us a powerful lesson we might never have learned without being thrust into that uncomfortable position.
There is no question that the world is changing around us. The effect of social media on our perceptions, beliefs, and relationships is still being understood. We have incredible new tools to help us communicate and collaborate with one another, and keep up with what’s happening in the news, but even they can be used to manipulate and distort the truth if we are not savvy about our sources.
We have a choice. We can moan and groan and complain about how wrong everything is, or we can use this upside down time to better understand the kind of actions we need to take right now in order to make the future a good one.
Sadly, Mary Tyler Moore died last week. Fortunately for us, we’ve been hearing her theme song every time something was in the news about her. There is nothing more optimistic than that iconic moment when she tosses her hat up in the air, and we hear the words:
“You’re gonna make it after all!”
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach. Email Murray