Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why I Wear the Rose

*self indulgent, likely self-righteous prattling to follow.*

As I write this, I'm still reeling a bit from the election. Not quite as aghast and depressed as many of my friends, but still thrown and worried. Not even so much due to our choice of leadership in this country, more by what this past election has brought to the surface. We've seen a pushback against all the movement forward our society has made, an empowerment and legitimization of racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and the use of force and intimidation to enforce these ideas. It saddens, scares and angers me. 

All the same, adopting the tactics of rage and violence feels too much like accepting what has appalled me.

I know I cannot force a change in the ideas and ideals of others. I can talk to them. I can try to convince them. I can beg and plead that they at the very least don't use those ideals as an excuse to harm others. But I cannot force the change.

However, I can do my best to make it clear that I do not agree. That I do not stand with those who want to demonize difference, those who use positions of privilege to reinforce that privilege. I can make it clear that I am not the guy to bring your “bitches be crazy,” “no homo,” “go back where you came from” bullshit. I can make it clear that I will do my best to provide a safe space from any of that as well. That is what, to me, the rose is about.

You can look up the history here. It's interesting stuff. I acknowledge, though, that I am not in the same position as those WR members. I don't risk imprisonment or death. Still, they stood up to make it clear that not all agreed. They fought with words, instead of guns, and with actions that halted the machine of ignorance and destruction when possible. I aspire to such, myself. 

In my younger years, I used to go to a lot of shows that were also frequented by a straight edge gang (Courage Crew, if you must know) who had a tendency to be horrible to anybody not with them. They'd start fight, kick people in the head and generally be douchebags. I didn't go after them aggressively. Didn't look for those big black X's and throw my own haymakers. Instead, I stood between them and those they were trying to hurt. That's about the way I think this whole shitstorm will need to be approached. For me, at least.

For those who have dug themselves out from the woodwork, the ones who now comfortably and proudly wave their rebel flags and white sheets and fag-bashing, mysoginistic crap, I won't make any threats or screams for blood. I haven't drawn a line in the sand with a promise to shoot trespassers. I'm making a promise to do my best to be the line. To stand between you and those you seem to want so badly to harm.

And I'm not moving.

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