Shit That Matters and Shit That Does Not
Many, many years ago, when I was a younger, stupider, shittier man, and the world seemed sillier and less terrifying, I remember thinking very vividly that I would be willing to take to the streets and protest if Community or Parks & Recreation were cancelled, but not for any genuinely political reason.
Looking back, I want to smack the me of five years ago upside his head for being so ridiculous. I didn’t even watch the final two seasons of Community, because even back then, I had more important things to do than watch even television shows that I really like. Looking back, it amazes me that the only thing I could possibly envision protesting would be a television show that I enjoyed ending prematurely.
Was I ever so young? I mean, it wasn’t like the world wasn’t, in many ways, a flaming garbage fire at that point, but I had a job, I owned a condo, I had insurance and benefits, so I deluded myself into thinking that I was somehow protected from the world’s rampaging, free-floating awfulness.
For eight years, I deluded myself into thinking that I didn’t really have to think or worry about politics or the government. I had enormous faith in President Obama, his temperament and his judgment. As a President and public figure, Obama was like a really effective benzo, like Ativan. He had a soothing, almost gently narcotizing presence that made me feel good not just about him and his administration but the world at large.
If Obama was a human tranquilizer, Donald Trump is like shitty cocaine that doesn’t produce any pleasant sensations whatsoever, and just makes the user a powder-keg of unmerited, uncontrollable rage. If Obama’s vibe was “I got this, go about your business” Trump angrily demands a response, the more melodramatic, outraged and emotional the better.
Trump’s nomination made it impossible for me to care about inconsequential things the way I did when I stupidly contemplating using my voice, and my platform as a writer and a human being, to try to get secure another season of Community or Parks & Recreation. Trump radicalized, politicized and mobilized a whole lot of people. I’m one of them.
I’ve taken to the streets twice in the past year and a half. I am pleased to say it was for shit that actually mattered. At the Republican National Convention last year, I joined a protest against police brutality and in Atlanta I protested Trump’s election and agenda alongside my immigrant wife and my first-generation American son.
In about a month I’m going to take to the streets and protest again about something that really matters, something of genuine importance to me and my life. But I’m also going to be marching about pop culture I love when I cover the Juggalo March on Washington for High Times on September 16th. My worlds will be colliding but the beauty and the urgency of the Juggalo March is that it’s so much bigger than pop culture. It’s so much bigger than just a rap act and its fans.
No, the Juggalo March on Washington is about freedom. It’s about solidarity. It’s about the right to free expression. It’s about this being a nation of the freaks, the weirdoes, the Scrubs, the Juggalos. It’s about Civil Rights and the crossroads we currently find ourselves at in terms of our country and our culture.
And that’s most assuredly worth giving a Whoop about. Possibly even two.
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