Friday, February 17, 2017

"Hearts and Minds" (aka 100 postcards I'll be sending to washington)

March 15th, The Ides of March. The thing that happened to Caesar. I’ve always kinda liked Shakespeare’s version of events. Probably mostly because it’s where we get the origin of the proverb “winning hearts and minds.”

Observe, in Marc Anthony’s declaration to Brutus:

              O masters, if I were disposed to stir  
              Your hearts and minds to mutiny and rage,  
              I should do Brutus wrong, and Cassius wrong,  
              Who, you all know, are honourable men:
              I will not do them wrong; I rather choose 
              To wrong the dead, to wrong myself and you,  
              Than I will wrong such honourable men.   (lines 121-127)

 This passage notes that the act of using rhetoric-as-oration to appeal to pathos (hearts) and logos (minds) is dishonorable, and wrong.  In Shakespeare’s sense, swaying “both hearts and minds” would be an act of betrayal for Marc Anthony that he would rather wrong himself than commit an out-ward Bad.
Friends and strangers have asked why I let the blog rest for so long. Why haven’t I been writing? I’ve been reading, refilling myself with something that the rage needs to sustain itself. A time for reading hibernation, maybe. And after rereading some Shakespeare, I read about this:

 "On March 15th, 2017 each of us will mail the White House a postcard that publicly expresses our vocal opposition to the new president. And we, in vast numbers, from all corners of the world, will overwhelm Washington."
March 15th, The Ides of March. That date has a particular protest associated with it this year: The Ides of Trump. No, it is not a day for stabbing politicians. NO THREATS OF VIOLENCE. It’s time to set a new record of “fan mail.”

 On March 15, send the white house a postcard, or more than one. Read the rules here:

Right now hearts and minds are being stirred to mutiny and rage in multiple and polarized ways other than described by Shakespeare.
I’m not okay with the rage being sprayed on walls. I’m not okay with a big rage-wall going up down south. I’m not okay with white-rage that uses refugees as its scapegoat. I’m not okay with rage being used as a weapon against information and education. I’m not okay with the rage the current regime is using to mobilize its policies.

My heart fills with bile every time I hear about the next horrible thing. It fills with mud when I sit down to write, because writing about the things that are important are both matters of honor and difficult in stirring yourself out of that mud once you get in.
My dad’s death left me with a bunch of weird collections. One of which was a vault of post-cards. I’ve carried them around for a decade, some of you have been sent one or two across the years.

This year, 100 of them will make their own march to Pennsylvania avenue. Join them as they fulfill the purpose they’ve been waiting for.  I’ll return to regular blogging about stories and soil soon, I promise.

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