What can I do? This question faces us in any circumstance where the answers are not easy. And to become stuck on that question leads to despair. In many ways that question is despair. But to try and give it an answer is hope, even if the answer seems small or insignificant. When you are not alone, the small adds up. Battles are not won by just one soldier.
I know no lawyers or politicians or judges. I cannot afford to 'just' get Kirstin a lawyer for her case. What I can do is analyze, and I can write, and that is why this weblog exists. It is what I have to offer, and it is not the answer. But it is the weapon I know I can use. It is my answer to the question: What can I do?
I have recently heard of a contribution to this fight that is probably not the answer either, but it is a touching and original tribute. A woman named Shelly Miller from Chicago has written a song inspired by Kirstin's plight. A couple of the lines are not factually perfect, but that really is not the point (especially in creative expression). I don't know if she can contribute money or has lawyer friends or anything like that, but I do know that she can write a song. She did what she knew she could do, and I admire that.
Michelle connects and supports the network in a big way. She reaches out like a herald, always seeking out new ground and new platforms to reach new people - and she succeeds. That is invaluable, and it is what she can do. Helen does the same, presenting the case in tangible ways through writing and website construction. This likewise valuable, and what she can do. And there are others, I know, who have done work that I either cannot remember or do not know of. But I do know that we do not fight for justice on our own. We use the skills we are best at using, and combined it may be enough. If anyone had access to the easy route ("Here, have a few thousand dollars for a great lawyer!"), it would have been the road travelled by now.
So hope really lies in answering the question: What can I do?
A few suggestions have been given, both on the website and on my last blog entry. But maybe there's something else I would never have thought of or couldn't do. I wouldn't have thought of a song, to be sure. And yet, there it is. I don't have the knowledge to create a website, and there it is. I don't have the social inertia to contact new people as Michelle does (I tend to be incredibly unresponsive, for example, with all apologies), and so her way is not mine, either. Neither is your way going to be mine, but it is yours - and I hope you can use it to help right this wrong.
I wrote once that I have reason to believe that Kirstin Lobato is an honest and idealistic person in many ways, who walked into that courtroom believing that justice wins and that the truth would set her free. I believe she is right. I believe that most people know what justice is, and many know that it doesn't happen all on its own. You have to defend it, and that can be an incredibly hard slog, sometimes without a visible way out. And though there are many who understand justice, there are only a few that will fight for it.
But no matter how many or how few, each person does what they can. There is no other way to win.