Monday, January 17, 2011
I have an issue with people who talk a big line, but when push comes to shove they cower and look away, make excuses, anything really, to avoid addressing the problem at hand in active terms. A few years ago I encountered a young woman being beaten with a metal pole by another young woman, in broad daylight, on Portage Avenue in the middle of the workday. There were a number of people standing around within 3 to 5 metres, including a hotdog stand and people waiting for the light to change at crosswalk. The young woman was cowering against a bus shelter as her assailant savaged her. Nobody had intervened. Nobody had called the police, and I suspect most passersby were actively looking away. She thanked me profusely and asked for an escort to the bus lest her assailant follow, but she refused police and medical attention despite blood and bruises.
At various times too, I've encountered or heard stories from friends who complain about clearly an unfair practice in a workplace, or a tyrannical, actively homophobic, misogynist, harassing, etc boss or colleague. Yet, they refuse to stand up and do something to something about it despite clear avenues of redress. In more sinister situations they shy away from supporting a "friend" or coworker. Conflict apparently upsets them more than the continued abuse of a mate.
Sometimes, being in an academic discipline that tends to the left of the political spectrum has its merits. One develops a critical awareness of various social negatives and starts looking for solutions. At the same time, all that training in critical thought can blind people the bigger picture and they become absorbed in picking apart ideas that they largely agree with instead of actually discussing a way of effectively solving the problem at hand.
Dave recently chambered and fired a heavy calibre Godwin and judging from the Prog Blog votes, it definitely resonates with large numbers of readers. Still, it hasn't stopped people from parsing whether a Harper-Hitler comparison is apt or not based apparently on the idea that one authoritarian piece of shit needs to mimic to the letter the deed and personality of another. This shits me. Everytime an Hitler-_____ analogy is made, nice reasonable people run around yelling Godwin and war which in some ways serves as a de facto defence of subject of the analogy. It seems to me to be a way of deflecting from the serious what is actually happening to our country and democracy as a result of current resident of 24 Sussex.
This is not how we win.
The secret to defeating a bully or a monster is to be willing to lose more than they are. If Harper manages to retain power and turn the Opposition into a stable of eunuchs, how far are you willing to go to defeat him? Will you lose your house? Are prepared to sleep in a ditch? Will you risk jail? Beatings and perhaps even shootings? Police already routinely harass and beat known activist leaders as part of their regular campaign of monitoring and intimidation. Are you willing let that happen to you? Will you stand up and participate in the next Salt March, which promises to be bloodier than the first?
Or will you cower and compromise, turn your face away and make excuses? Shut down your blog, stay off the streets, disown your friends? Will you parse and equivocate when you can't find your name on electoral roles, and strange official looking letters of threat appear in your mailbox? Will you let that bully-child in the Prime Minister's chair use your country and fellow human beings as punching bags as he works out his Loughnerian adolescent rage issues?
Will you recognise that your very living breathing body and mind are weapon systems? Will you get aggressive, and refuse to let that snivelling little fuck own your future?