I Understand

Until and unless something really extraordinary happens, I understand what I am here for.

I did not simply want to be a passive observer to the present crisis.  I wanted to be involved, somehow, and actively so.

I was nearly prepared to go to battle again, like I have in so many lifetimes before.  I assumed that any inquiry as to what my last life has to do with the present situation was irrelevant, and I assumed that my role as a writer would be inadequate unless it was backed by some divine inspiration.

But what if my very being here as a writer in these times, which I understood before a lot of people I knew, is somehow part of the plan?

What if I’m not a hero or a savior, just one of many who can help?  What if that’s why I’m not simply whisked off to some ethereal plane by now?

The fact is, I understand the topology of events and ideas that led to this moment in history.  I understand them because I remember what it was like to live through those moments.  I remember all the missed opportunities and mistakes.

If all I have to offer is some insight, I shouldn’t feel guilty about that.  I shouldn’t assume that being a thinker is the same as being passive because I’ve internalized the attitude that the act of thought and analysis is useless.  But I’ve also seen how much that very same attitude, against the thinkers and visionaries and academics and artists, has caused the West to become cynical to the point of dysfunction.  I can’t buy into it.  A revolution has many hands but if it has no brains, it won’t go very far.

I also can’t buy into the idea that if I’m not “the one” then I’m no one.  Saving the world from a tyrant isn’t a solo project.  It’s the result of many voices, many minds, many hands, and many feet that all push collectively in the same direction.  Simply normalizing dissent, daring the system to act, and being willing to risk everything for the right to dissent so that I can prove that I believe I have nothing left to lose, I’ll be making a contribution just as important as the people on the ground participating in direct action.

And so my great act of resistance will simply be to not shut up while I can still lift the metaphorical bullhorn.  And if anyone tells me to shut up, I will, even at my own peril, firmly and insistently say “No, I will not.” And I will encourage others to do the same, because when a totalitarian state or its supporters tells you to shut up, it means what you’re saying threatens their legitimacy and that’s exactly what I want to do.

I refuse to be silenced or shamed out of saying my piece. I refuse to cooperate with cultural totalitarianism.

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