… But #All Statues Matter! (Politics Post #2)

Update 8/23/2020: The Politics Posts are a series of deviations from the usual pop and poetry you find here. They’re an attempt to make sense of the chaos that ensued in 2020. Sometimes they’re uneducated, or too forceful in opinion. Worse, they’re at times influenced by ideas I hadn’t fully explored enough to satisfy my own confidence in their verification. I’m not always proud of these posts, but I leave them up as a testament to the idea of truth in writing and the process of educating oneself after the fact. Thanks for bearing with me, friends

Excuse my absence. Me and the wife done had another kid. Welcome, my son (to the machine).

When I started this site, I wanted to write about entertainment. Keep it light while I worked on my next project. Well, all cards on the table: it’s tough to keep it light these days. Here’s what I have to say, for what’s its worth, which maybe ain’t much.

The politicization of Covid-19 is the most ridiculous and stranger-than-fiction event I’ve witnessed in my [relatively young] life—at least, on our national scale. I can’t imagine a more inefficient response to a public health crisis. (What public health crisis? It’s all fudged numbers anyway!)*

You could say the politics of the Covid-reaction stem from problems our country has had for a long time. Problems I think many of us were unaware of, or at best marginally aware of. At least, if you lived in that nice liberal bubble that Trump popped. This is a divided nation, and the ideologies—liberal vs conservative, Democrat vs Republican, etc. are increasingly detrimental to any meaningful progress, combating covid or otherwise. This cluster*!&# called for a unified and confident response from our current administration. That did not happen. Instead of unifying this country in any capacity, powers that be fueled fires of a divisive nature and sat back to watch us all burn. Amusing.

I can’t help but wonder, as those that celebrate our potus continue to deify him and deflect any criticism whatsoever to the popular “but Obama was worse because ___ !” …Was Obama that bad? As someone who (idiotically) assumed most of the country was on the same page circa 2008-2016, were conservative minds, like liberal minds currently, living in a state of fear for abuse of executive power, nepotism, “subtle” encouragement of racism and rebellion of science? What, exactly, causes one to loathe Obama? These questions might seem rhetorical, but I’m genuinely curious.

Mind you, I’m not an ardent Obama worshipper. While I was more at ease in that political climate, I do believe most of our politicians, and especially those in higher positions of power, should have their truths taken with appropriately rationed grains of salt.

And, as if 2020 wasn’t batshit enough, we’ve got deeply rooted unrest coast to coast. With the necessary awareness #BlackLivesMatter unearths, there’s also the ugly cracks of vilification—something critical thinkers should keep in mind. We are so quick, when enraged, to hit that share button. Yet, it’s still important to question information, to find as much truth as possible. I’m going to relate the story of a woman who, for details a bit unclear to me, posted a white profile picture for a bit on Whiteout Wednesday. Through hearsay, I learned this was in error (however implausible that might seem). Apparently, this woman’s intent was to post something about reflection, but the post was never finished. When brought to her attention, she quickly took it down.

Too late. Social media steamrolled, and this woman is now a racist. I’m not defending her, because I don’t know her, or exactly why she did what she did, or even if she was telling the truth. I DO know she is a business owner, and must have been aware of the repercussions of intentionally posting something so inflammatory. She is being threatened. So is her business, and by default, her employees, their families, and their livelihoods. What to make of this? Did those who shared this woman’s evil with the click of a button have the full story? I doubt it. I don’t have the full story either, but I don’t need it to prove my point—caution and critical thinking before sharing. Or, #RuinLivesResponsibly, if that works for you. Sometimes, social media emboldens us to a point of arrogance and ignorance. Don’t be that person.

On to the statues. People have problems with this. Look, reparations have been a long time coming. As confederate monuments, and in one case, a statue of Christopher Columbus at the California capitol, are torn down or removed, many people bemoan the loss. “We’re erasing history!” “What about the artists that made the statues!” “So if I’m offended, I can just take anything down?!”

Sounds like the same petulant whine of “but ALL lives matter!”

The statues removed so far are pretty blatant testaments to genocide and enslavement. Sure, removing them won’t fix everyone’s problems, but it’s an acknowledgement—a gesture, a step in the right direction. It’s not erasing history. The figures represented in these statues will not be forgotten, they just won’t be celebrated, or venerated. That’s okay, right?

And hey, if you’ve got a big enough problem with it, by all means start the movement. #AllStatuesMatter. Hit the streets and protest this great injustice. Or you know, whine about it on social media.**

Was the world always this exhausting? Or am I just naive and more plugged in now? If you try deciphering the information and misinformation onslaught, or figuring out who’s manipulating who for which questionable political party of greater or lesser corruption, or questioning whether you’re being pandered to (you probably are) you’ll fall down an existential rabbit hole, hit the ground and find you’re immobilized. Remember the kids in cages? They were still there at our beautiful migrant detention centers until covid came. It took a pandemic to “fix” this problem. Fucked up.

What to do, then?

I’ve landed on empathy. Try it. You think something’s ridiculous, or “evil”? Ask why it’s happening. Ask why people want this. Try to understand them. You can apply this anywhere, at any time. It’s not easy. Then pick a cause (or, maybe the cause has picked you). Take your time. But when you find the one, or more than one if you can manage, let it be yours. Make a difference, somehow. I find it hard to slap a filter up on Facebook or Instagram with the movement of the month, do nothing else, and call it a day. Then again, let me know if I’m wrong here.

And if you disagree with anything I’ve said, or want to educate me on something I’m missing, please feel free. This should be an open discussion, always.

Until next time, be good. I mean it.

*satire

**I’m okay with taking down statues in an official capacity as an act of reparation. I think things like this deserve consideration on a case by case basis. I’m not for destroying or vandalizing statues as acts of rage.

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