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November 15, 2016 / bpeveril

Don’t Behave

I keep starting to write these, but I stop, or they seem too topical. Tonight, though, I’ll finish it. Today it really matters, I need to make my case, we all need to keep our heads together so we can start to heal and to look forward again.

Trump was elected. He was elected, and that hurts. It hurts on a lot of goddamned levels, especially on that level where we want to think that the world we live in isn’t terrible, that we’re moving forward, and getting better, that we can have hope. But, why don’t I just say it plainly, because he already has, he’s a rich man’s son, who doesn’t know what work is and doesn’t know what failure feels like. He’s soft, in every way you can call someone soft, down to bragging about how his hands are “a good size”. He’s a cartoon of weakness and want, a pseudo celebrity that anyone who can remember what happened wrote off in the nineties.

That’s all hyperbole, though, and hyperbole isn’t fixing anything. So, let’s talk about facts, things that no one can argue. I’m not going to be secretive about how I feel, but I know they’re opinions. Trump is a man born into privilege. It’s privilege he abuses and he revels in the abuse. He loves it. He makes no bones about how much he loves power, and how much he loves abusing it, and how he’ll stop at nothing for more. That’s what gets him hard, that’s what he likes, is power. More of it, all of it.

I just had to cut a little hyperbole out of that. Sorry. I love it, so much.

So, our hero, Trump, finds that, by saying the right things and sticking his finger in the right wounds, people are flocking to him. His power is increasing, he’s getting more Twitter followers. At some point, he looks around the table.

This isn’t hyperbole, this is allegory. Hyperbole is making your point with ridiculous exaggeration. It’s invoking Hitler and quoting Aristotle in a normal argument. I hate it (but I also love it, but I realize that’s a character flaw … ), so I try really hard to not do it. Allegory, though. Allegory is what we live on. Allegory is restructuring the problem in a way that we can understand,that we can deal with. Allegory is carefully constructed, it helps us pull things together. So, let’s build an allegory. It’s high school. Everything’s hot, you can’t think straight, your junk is always burning. Every moment is the beginning of the end, and you can’t waste the next one. We all remember it, even if we’ve gotten old enough to know what a joke it was.

It was a joke, yeah, but you eat lunch somewhere. And, at some point, you look around that table. Who’s there? Who’s at yours? How does it reflect on you?

I remember trying to clumsily explain my 90’s assed punk rock ideals to my baby brother once. It didn’t go so hot.

Anyway, you looked around, and they were your people. Who was there? Who were you okay with? It’s worth repeating the question, because it was important then,and it’s important now. To the point I’m trying to make anyway.

I don’t know who was there, but I know who you want there. You want the good guys. In the movie of your life, you want to be on the right side, right? You want to be a good guy. You want to be good. Be good. Right?

Some people aren’t good.

You have to look at the people at your table, and really think about them.

Take a moment to think about your circle, then let me bring it back and tie things together.

So, who’s bad enough that you pick up your tray and go eat that awful pizza somewhere else?

I hope it’s bad guys. It’s cartoon villains. It’s people who are so unabashedly evil, so bad, so BAD, that they live on hate. I was going to tread lightly on the hyperbole pedal here, but, fuck it. If they wear white hoods, if they step on others, if they glorify Hitler, if they make camel fucking jokes, if they worry about white rights, if they’re just “more comfortable” with a whiter/straighter … etc … I don’t need to spell out all of the dog whistles do I? If you start hearing them, you’re sitting with bad guys. Now, it’s good to learn to work together and to find common ground with people who aren’t just like you, but if you’re finding common ground and shared goals with people who are unabashedly the villains, you need to rethink what your goals are. You need to pick up your goddamned tray and find another table. If you are on the same team as the guys who kept trying to kill Indiana Jones, you’re one of the bad guys too. It’s that simple.

Trump looked around his table at some point, and saw bad guys. He saw people we’ve been trying to get rid of since the fifties, people who cling to a treasonous war fought against America itself more than a hundred years ago over whether or not we should be allowed to own people. He saw the worst aspects of humanity, and said, this is okay. I’m okay with this.

So, what then? We don’t want to be the villains, the bad guys, in our own stories, do we? So don’t. Be good.

That doesn’t mean we should comply, bend to the pressure and be pleasant and complacent. We don’t need to behave. We need to push back.

There’s been some shade flying around at people who say that things are going to be okay, and I understand it. You know what, though? I’m trying on a new optimism thing. I say things are going to be okay, because we’re going to make them okay. We’re going to make things beautiful. Not again, either. For the first time, really beautiful. We’re not going to do it by behaving. We’re going to kick and fight and fix things. We’re going to be good.

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