As a general rule, I try not react too quickly or too callously to major political events. My years of experiencing in arguing about Wolverine’s love life on comic book message boards have taught me that some subjects just can’t be discussed rationally. Add politics into the mix and you might as well swim naked in a pond full of hungry snakes.
However, I realize that some events are too big to just ignore. Make no mistake. I’m aware of all the upheaval, outrage, and shit storms that have erupted since the apocalypse that was Election Day transpired last year. I’ve chosen to minimize my discussions of it on this blog. I want this blog to make people horny, not hopeless.
That said, I also understand that there’s a difference between avoiding a subject and purposefully sticking your own head up your ass so that the most you’ll ever hear about a topic has to compete with the echoes of your own farts. I don’t want my head in such a dark place.
This brings me to the big event that transpired on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC, a city that’s less than a two-hour drive from my house. It was called the Women’s March on Washington. On the heels of Inauguration Day, it flooded the streets of DC with thousands of men, women, and children protesting the new regime in Washington. Given the kind of people who support this regime, they definitely had plenty to protest.
It was a powerful display, unlike anything we’ve seen that didn’t involve a Super Bowl parade. It’s certainly the largest, most organized protest I’ve seen in the past couple decades. This isn’t some fringe protest of hippies claiming there are shape-shifting lizard people running banks and covering up the truth about UFOs. These are people who are genuinely afraid that their lives are going to be at risk because of this new regime.
I can understand that fear. I certainly sympathize with it. There are people in my immediate family who discussed joining this protest. I certainly support their effort to do so. I think this is worth protesting, much more so than pet issues marijuana or fur coats. Our society works best when we only seek to screw each other in ways we enjoy.
I say all this as a preface of sorts because my overall reaction to it probably won’t win me any awards from hippies, vegans, priests, mullahs, or anyone who voted for Rick Santorum. In my youth, I usually came down fairly hard on one particular side of the political spectrum. Then again, in my youth I thought UFO insurance was a good investment. That should reveal the extent of my political expertise.
With all that in mind, I thought I’d take a moment to just write about my reaction to this protest. It is a big deal. It is something that’s worth paying attention to. Even if I’m just a struggling erotica/romance writer, this is something that can and will affect me, both directly and indirectly. It already has in some respects. So how, in the grand scheme of things, am I supposed to react.
Well, my reaction can best be summed up in one way and I think my friend, Spongebob, says it best.
Please put the pitchforks down and stop for a moment before you start busting my balls. Give me a chance to explain myself because I’m trying to be both honest and helpful here, two concepts that might as well be alien to political discourse these days.
A part of me really was moved by these protests. I even support pretty much all their stated mission, as well as their stated principles. In terms of their values and policies, we are both on the same page. We’re on the same team. That’s beyond dispute. It’s the methods that leave me feeling somewhat underwhelmed.
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a house where whining was about as productive as licking a toilet seat to clean it. Whatever the reason, I just look at these protests and see too much style and not enough substance. Seeing people wearing vagina costumes didn’t help.
Don’t get me wrong. I think those costumes are funny and topical. If someone wore those to a Halloween party, they’d definitely liven things up. In a serious protest though, it just makes me roll my eyes. It gives the impression that the issues at hand aren’t as serious as they should be.
As I’ve already said, these are serious issues. They’re issues worth fighting for and they’re worth protesting. However, there’s a right way to protest something and then there’s a shocking way to protest. More often than not, those methods are mutually exclusive.
If the goal of the Women’s March was to get attention, then they definitely succeeded. In terms of provoking change, that’s a good first step. Remember the technique pitched by this guy, albeit in the most vulgar way possible?
The first step of that process is to get attention. Some argue that’s the most important step and the Women’s March did just that. It’s the other three steps, namely interest, decision, and action where they come up short.
You see, my experience on comic book message boards has wired my brain to process a situation in a backwards sort of way. By that, I mean that when I see a situation like this, the first thing I do is ask, “Okay, how is the other side going to twist this in their favor?”
When you deal with a lot of dogmatic comic book fans, that’s an important question to consider because 99 times out of 100, that’s how discussions go. Someone makes a point and those who don’t agree with it will twist it in a way that makes them feel smart, superior, or whatever other emotion Lex Luthor feels when he wakes up every morning.
What manifests in message boards often manifests in political discourse as well. Some see the Women’s March and they see a huge group of concerned citizens, making their voices heard on issues that matter to them. Others, namely those who are inclined to lump protesters with hippies, see this protest as one giant act of whining. Neither side can be right, but both sides can be wrong.
This is why I can’t help but feel indifferent to these protests. They seek attention. They seek meaningful goals. They have so much style, but not nearly enough substance. For someone like me, who needs both in order to become a successful erotica/romance writer, lacking either really undermines the message.
Now I want the Women’s March to make for meaningful discourse. I want it to provoke real, meaningful change. However, based on what I saw, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Our collective attention span is too short and the powers that be are too callous. I’m not saying the Women’s March was a waste of time, but I don’t think it’s going to change much in the long run.