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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Why I Shall March


When Donald Trump became president in January, it became immediately apparent that this was not going to be a run-of-the-mill presidency. Iran-Contra scandals and blow jobs in the oval office--those are issues that reach far away and don't affect me. Let the kings play their game of thrones, I have a family to maintain.

But this one's different. I worried about George W. Bush, but he played a political game. This one has made promises that will affect my friends. They will worsen the lives of people I know, people I work with, creative people like artists and authors, even porn stars I like. To say nothing of making others suffer.

Granted, it's appearing that the big braggy show won't be as immediate (or even as constitutional) as thought before (given the failure of health care and the "Muslim ban"). But that's because people are fighting. They're going to town halls, they're talking to representatives, they're paying attention. Good for them. Those people are my heroes, because... I'm simply not capable of doing that. I'm too introverted. They say the most effective way to fight is to call your congressperson, but I could never do that. Yes, people more introverted than me have--there are even scripts you can read--but I just couldn't. People have listed "step-by-step" what to do so that it's easy. But I HATE the phone.

I could write a letter. Not even an e-mail, but one that's typed and stamped and everything. But the written word is too easy to ignore. You could write pages and pages and they end up in the circular file. But I've got to do something.

It would be easy to sit down as I've always done: watch the world pass, go to work every day, eat a good breakfast, and wear my seat belt. But that's not what a hero would do. It's not what's right to do. I have to show my daughters that being a good person is important in day-to-day, but to enact change, it takes sacrifice.

Now I'm saying what I'm doing is, in the grand scheme of things, any great feat. It's no Rosa Parks or even a Million Man March. It's no MS Walk-a-thon. I'm not saying what I'm doing will affect anything. But it's a hurdle for me. At work, I can go for days at a time without saying a word to anyone.

But ever since Trump was elected, I feel like there's a bad guy out there to fight against. There's a Emperor Palpatine/Nurse Ratched/Red Skull/Henry Potter out there, the kind heroes fight against. Even if it's just sending a message. Or I'll just be one of those people who said nothing when they came for the Jews/Muslims/Klingons/what-have-you. I've got to do something, even if it means being another head in the crowd. That's one more head, one more voice. I read that the "tax march" had some effect of irritating him. If that's all the March for Science can do, that's enough for me.


A lot of people have compared what's happening to Voldemort in the Harry Potter series. I think this trivializes the situation a bit (one is a real person who can affect real life, the other is a revenant with no nose who can talk to snakes). Even J.K. Rowling said that Voldemort was "nowhere near as bad" as Trump. Probably because the things Trump does are real. Also, Voldemort never targeted specific races or genders. He was never nepotistic. He never used his power to accumulate wealth for himself (which is kinda obsolete when you got magic anyway). And he never wasted time at his restaurant or golf course.

But the thing about books is that they are "life-simulators". They allow us to escape into a totally different situation and see what would happen. And sometimes what should be done about it. And in this, the similarities can't be dismissed: a totalitarian taking power, who advocates torture, removal and blockade of "undesirable" foreign others, who favors loyalty over capability, focused on "winners vs. losers", spreading misinformation. And the theme of Harry Potter is "doing what's right versus doing what's easy".

It's thankful that he is only one man, and that the point of Congress and the Supreme Court is to override when necessary (and they've done so sometimes) but the partisanship is ridiculous. "My constituents and basic morality disagree with what you say, but you're on my team so that's more important. You may be an asshole, but you're my asshole." There must be accountability. If there is not, that's how we end up with Kings who think their right to rule was given by God so no one can protest. You end up with Catholic priests allowed to continue molestations. You have police taking unjustifiable actions with their firearms.


I hope you enjoyed my ranty thoughts about this. The fact is, this has been an internally raging battle within myself for the past four months -- should I go, would I go, could I go. It's a big step for me--it's very outside my comfort zone. But, as all the motivational posters say, do things outside your comfort zone. Do things that scare you. You regret the things you didn't do more than the things you did. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take. Jesus saves, but Gretzky rebounds, he shoots, he scores.
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