I can't imagine saying to my late father, or my mom, "Eh, I was out this weekend, I 'masked up,' I blocked the way of an elderly woman with a walker on a public street, as she tried to get across a crosswalk, I screamed at her and called her a Nazi." I cannot imagine saying that to my parents. I cannot imagine them replying, "You know, Colin, you did a good job today, this is the person we wanted you to be." I mean, if I told my dad I put a mask on, I masked up, to remain undetectable as I engaged in violent behavior, the look he would have given me would have killed me. I don't think I would get over that look.
But I just watched a video of Antifa people (are you a person if you do this? I think we need a more detailed classification system) doing just that. On her best day, right now, this crosswalk was not an easy thing for this woman to navigate. She might be ninety. But God bless her, she's still out there living her life, she's going where she wants to go. And if she's not breaking the law in going there, no matter what is being espoused at the place she is going to--and I have no idea what it was, because I don't care because it does not matter in this context of the most basic level of civility and law and personal freedom--she gets to go there, and there is no one with the right to try to physically intimidate her.
I would love for one of these people to try to physically intimidate me. Put yourself between me and something. Try that. I see this angry, harridan creature in this woman's face, and next to her, because of course there is, is a male, pot-bellied hipster. Tough guy in a mask. Little blob of fat who used to get a note out of gym class when it was dodge ball season. What has to happen to you internally to become that consumed with hate? (Further: What would happen to any of these people if they faced the outright discrimination that I daily deal with? Discriminated against--hated, blackballed, wished dead--because of ability and achievements. You know what that is like? Can you even imagine? There are not other people in a group or community I can turn to for support, comfort; it's happening to one person because of unique qualities they possess. Can you imagine the terror? The pain? How angry would that make you, having your life owned and ended like that? Being financially gutted? While some people think you have it all lined up nice and easy for you, because of your skin color and gender, not being capable of thinking that there are all kinds of ways to discriminate against someone, and at least with the other ways, you get to be part of a group, you have people in your boat with you. Which does not fix your problems, but it helps. Imagine being despised because of good qualities that are great qualities, unique qualities, of goodness--genius, industriousness, expertise, entertainment, hard work--not evil qualities, not bad qualities, not immoral qualities. What do I do? I fight on, I help a little kid who needs the kind of help I can give, I'm nice to people, I keep trying, I document matters here, I wait for my time, I create art, foster truth and beauty, light, I wait for the eventual squaring of the ledger, the ledgers; these people would be on rooftops with scopes and guns after two hours on a random Monday morning here.)
You can disagree with someone as hard as you wish, and do so with your identity every bit as accounted for as your beliefs, and you can still employ decency. By decency, I mean you can leave the behaving evilly part out of it. I also cannot imagine how I would live with myself after I used my comparative youth and health to physically bully an elderly woman, and, if this could not be even worse, physically bully her not by myself, but with confederates. How do you not slit your wrists that night? Drink yourself into a coma? How do you even deal with being a person like that? What do you do with all of your guilt?
Guilt, man. I don't understand how some people are able to be immune to guilt, at least ostensibly. But that is a trend I have noted in society, the diminution of guilt. We increasingly think that simply because we are doing it, it's permissible. So much entitlement. So little self-awareness. I don't believe that because you breathe air and walk about and go to work and put your kids to bed that you're alive. I think being alive is also a matter of what you know about yourself, how willing you are to be vulnerable, the fight you have in you to keep trying, the fight you have in you to grow, the willingness you have to study yourself in mirrors, not worship yourself in them.
Ah, Chanticleer, Chanticleer. Who is alive anymore? I don't want to be somebody who bemoans what people are not v. what they might once have been more of. I want to believe that people, many people, like that exist presently, and many more can, and many were like that and might be again, and those people can be reached by the right works, the right person, the right ideas, the right presentations, the bravest, exemplar lessons of embodiment.