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Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004, 12:12 am
Dark Days

I'm depressed and angry. But then again, what intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate person isn't, these days?

I keep asking myself why I bother to write, read, think, make art, when I could be devoting my life to activism and when there is such a clear need for activism, given what is happening in this country these days. Every time I ask myself the question, I come back to the same thing: Bush didn't steal the election, at least not this time, and that means that people out there wanted him in charge. Not only that, but they supported him based on his moral values, an idea which makes me either want to laugh or cry (but usually both). What that means is that I can't just rise up in righteous outrage against the evils of this government. It's the beliefs of the American people that are going to have to change, and activism just isn't going to cut it. (If nothing else, most activism comes off as patronizing as hell.)

But you know what? Stories might work, because stories move the heart, and the head follows the heart. As Scheler says, we cannot know what we do not already love. You can't convince someone of something that they don't already, somehow, feel is right - and so I'm not going to waste my time arguing with people who believe in the institutionalization of bigotry and all that other good stuff that Bush actually represents. Instead, I'm going to play it sneaky and hit them where it counts: in the heart, not the head.

What this means is that even though I would like to leave the country and go somewhere that actually reflects my values, I am going to stay and fight. I am going to stay and fight even though this government has made it damn clear that as a woman, a bisexual person and a non-Christian, this is sure as hell not going to be my country. I am going to stay and fight using the weapon that I am best with: stories. I am going to make people think, I am going to make them feel, and I am damn well going to make them reconsider the nature of their moral responsibilities and the quality of their values.

If I - we - can't change the hearts and minds of the people that we have to share a country with, we may someday look back on this election with nostalgia for better days. But if we can open their hearts to the possibility of change, I do believe that someday this country can again be my America.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 05:15 am (UTC)
maastrictian

Go you.

--Chris

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 12:16 pm (UTC)
hakamadare

why I bother to write, read, think, make art, when I could be devoting my life to activism and when there is such a clear need for activism

heh. i see this question the other way around; that is to say, it seems to me to be heart-wrenchingly wrong that so many brilliant, emotional, wonderful people are being obliged to devote to activism time and energy that they could be using to make art, delight the hearts of those around them, or do something fundamentally worthwhile.

one of my friends has put forth the argument that it is necessary to fight against the rising tide of theocratic government because of the military resources that the theocrats will have at their disposal if they consolidate power; i can't help but think that a better way to address this problem would be to work together with other nations who share more common values in order to cut off American resources. American needs the rest of the world far more than the current administration would like to admit publicly.

-steve

p.s. and there are a lot of disagreeable people with whom we don't actually have to share a country - and i'm not only talking about emigration.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 07:02 pm (UTC)
kleenestar

p.s. and there are a lot of disagreeable people with whom we don't actually have to share a country - and i'm not only talking about emigration.

Huh? Is this an allusion to secession, or just to going postal somewhere in rural Mississippi?

In any case, it's not just a question of political activism for me, and it never has been. I've always wondered what my obligations are to the larger world. Making stories is fantastic, and it's what I was born to do, but I've never been entirely convinced that it's fundamentally worthwhile to do in a world where people are starving and being murdered every day. Ironically, it's this election that has convinced me that maybe making stories is the right kind of activism for me, because it's shown me that there's a real need for change in people's hearts and guts, not just their heads and their external lives. So I've put paid to my fantasies of going to run an orphanage in Argentina, at least for a while. -g-

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 01:56 pm (UTC)
boffo9

What this means is that even though I would like to leave the country and go somewhere that actually reflects my values, I am going to stay and fight.

This is why I think you are kewl.

I am going to stay and fight even though this government has made it damn clear that as a woman, a bisexual person and a non-Christian, this is sure as hell not going to be my country

To give hope, most active Republicans (all the ones in DC, Virginia, and Maryland I know of, anyway) think in this fashion. Its the religious minority that work differently. Most Republicans couldn't care less about your sexual orientation, your gender, and their big issue with religion is that Islam gets so much more time these days in schools compared to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or whatever, when their arguement is that religion should either be given equal time, or removed altogether.

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 07:04 pm (UTC)
kleenestar

See, that's why we need a party that combines Democratic social values (i.e. tolerance, freedom of religion) with Republican fiscal sense. Want to start one, and screw over the religious parasites who're feeding on the Republican party by taking away their ability to pretend they're anything but God-fueled bigots?

Fri, Nov. 5th, 2004 08:48 pm (UTC)
boffo9

See, that's why we need a party that combines Democratic social values (i.e. tolerance, freedom of religion) with Republican fiscal sense. Want to start one, and screw over the religious parasites who're feeding on the Republican party by taking away their ability to pretend they're anything but God-fueled bigots?

Sure. But we would need to explore a number of issues. Lets list them and see what we can come up with and see how close we match. I wonder if we can do an NPAT survey on-line or something?