One of the things that yoga stresses is the value of showing up–on the mat, and in life. When you keep coming to the mat, even when you don’t feel like it–especially when you don’t feel like it–that’s when things happen–shifts in consciousness, thought patterns, awareness, the circumference of your butt.
Sometimes showing up might seem pointless at first. For example, showing up at a rally. I’m not usually one for marching in a big crowd of people holding signs. I usually think doing such a thing is just a show of powerlessness and adolescent rage. And that it’s just about as effective.
But this time when I got a call to show up for a rally in Madison, protesting the Wisconsin governor’s recent legislative date-rape of state union collective bargaining rights, I thought–you know what, I think I’ll go to that. I don’t have anything major to contribute, other than my presence and my ability to take pictures–I’m not even IN a union, but heck, I’ll go. I’ll just show up.
It turns out that this was a good idea. Why? Because it’s good to clarify your intentions and it’s powerful to do that with a bunch of other people who are doing the same thing. That’s why people often prefer yoga classes to a “home practice” (translation: doesn’t happen). Groups keep the energy moving in a good direction, and they hold you accountable. They’re even good if nothing “technically” happens–like ramming an unwanted bill down the throats of a resistant public. Technically that is something that “happened” and the people who did it would like to think that because it “happened,” now it is “over” and we just need to “move on.”
Excuse me, but Fuck That.
Does anybody watch Mad Men? If you are not caught up, Spoiler Alert. Do Not Read. Okay, so remember at the end of last season when Don Draper suddenly decided to marry his secretary because she’s pretty and she validates the fakey fake little bullshit story he’s invented for himself about who he is?
Well that’s what this reminds me of. This bill. It’s a fakey fake story that someone is selling Wisconsin, and the whole country, about who we are–that we’re all strong and upwardly mobile and independent and better off as a million little islands, a thousand points of light, never mind the recession and the foreclosures and the people taking out loans to pay health insurance costs–pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, we’re all fucking rich and if you’re not yet then you will be soon, if you just give up all your rights and trust that the corporations that will soon be running your schools really do have your best interests in mind, and PS we’re draining the Great Lakes and filling them with Coca Cola and anybody who doesn’t use AngelSoft toilet tissue to do their dirty work will be fined and featured on the crime channel at 8 PM every night. Now everybody go out and shop.
Who would sell such an obviously implausible story, other than Walt Disney, the guy who wants to be cryogenically preserved so he can come back and make Mount Rushmore into a roller coaster? It’s this guy. Governor Walker. Not that everybody needs to go to college, but guess what: he didn’t go. He didn’t go to college and so nobody else should be able to go to college, either. Private sector workers don’t always have benefits, and so nobody else should, either. If I can’t have it, nobody will. This is the psychology of a poorly trained five-year-old who would rather break his toy truck than have someone else touch it.
Excuse me, but Fuck That.
Don Draper is a little boy. So is Scott Walker. Or maybe they’re actually little girls.
This is a little girl but I have the sense that her friends are very real. And they’re all super pissed off. If she has imaginary friends, I bet they’re all super bad-ass. In fact, there are probably 10 or 12 of them standing around her right now. They’re part of an imaginary-friend union. AFU. They’re not happy.
Our founding fathers were called that for a reason. They were not called Founding Little Boy-Men. America the Beautiful? It’s America the Emasculated, and I’m not talking about the man’s men union firefighters and pipefitters and farm-hands who were at the protest.
I’m talking about the weaselly little rich boys who spent the last few weeks (or years?) scuttling through the rathole tunnel that connects the Wisconsin capitol with, apparently, the fucking parking lot of the M&I bank. These skinny little men with tails in suits who are so afraid that somebody might come and touch their toy truck that they would rather kill everybody else on the playground than have that happen. Wow.
Where are their mommies? Who forgot to teach these boys to be brave, and to share? For that matter, where are their daddies? Maybe that is more to the point.
Well, enough of that rant. Point is, I showed up, and I’m glad I did. Things happened, things shifted, and once in the habit of showing up, you tend to keep showing up, and then more stuff happens. Hey Wisconsin: Guess What?