Friday, January 20, 2017

On the Eve

I spent the majority of the Obama Administration as a graduate student, surrounded by people who couldn't vote for him because they saw him as a neoliberal tool, others who voted for him as the lesser of two evils, and a minority that more or less liked him. I was in the third group, but dipped my toe in the second. Have my beliefs changed in the last eight years? Well, I should hope so. I should hope they change for everyone. Otherwise, you're not human. My 36-year-old self is more strongly pro-union, because he's in one, less gung-ho about gay rights, because we have them, more concerned about economic policy, because he would like a nicer apartment and because he's finally spent a significant amount of time with people who make up the lower 75 percentile of the US population. He feels the same way about the prison industrial complex and imperial warfare. 

On the identity politics front, I can't imagine a president I could relate to more. As someone who hates bombs more than guns, I will admit to being irritated by his priorities and his moral compromises. As someone who thinks we are on the verge of the environmental apocalypse, I am troubled by the melancholy thought that neither Obama nor his successor will be discussed all that much in another 200 years. 

I have another hour of reading about animation ahead of me. Then I'm going to enjoy a nice dinner in the city center. 

Oh, and if you can indulge a little obnoxious mansplaining from someone who isn't even in the country on the eve of the women's march on Washington: It's heartening to see so many people who would never have thought to protest for any cause rise up. Maybe Lenin was right. We needed it all to get as bad as possible before it got any better. But your protest means nothing if you don't get organized, if you don't get leaders. Be vertical, not horizontal. Be inclusive, but don't compromise with every jerk in your ranks. Don't ask yourself if you're a good ally. Just help people. Allow yourselves to make mistakes, but always know your goal. The goal is not to feel good or be good, but to do good.

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