09 June 2014

Why I Protest

Yesterday was Pentecost in the Christian church. The story goes (WAIT... bear with me, this stops being all Christian-y in a few minutes) that 50 days after Easter, the Holy Spirit blew a wind through a home where the disciples were holed up, and scared the pants off of them. Flames came to rest on them without burning them. They left the building they were in and started to speak, and in a seriously cool turn of events, everyone could understand them as if they were speaking their own languages. Well, not everyone. Some people thought they were drunk. And then Peter said, and I'm paraphrasing liberally, "No dudes! They're not drunk. It's only 9am for fuck's sake. That old dude Joel, from scriptures? Remember him? No? Well, he said all this would happen! All of it! Don't you get it? You killed the Messiah! So repent and be baptized in his name". And that's how the church began. So the story goes.

I love Pentecost. I like the imagery of the wind and fire. I like the idea of a bunch of disciples holed up in fear trying to figure out what in the hell to do next (it's just so human). And I like the idea of the Spirit moving them to do something. Even if it wasn't as literal as the story. Especially if it wasn't as literal as the story.

The idea of saying NO. This is NOT okay. That's kind of what Jesus was all about. And I like that. I can take that with me to a protest. To a Slut Walk*. To a March against Monsanto. That energy for changing the society into a place I where everyone is welcome. Where everyone is accommodated. Where compassion rules and money is irrelevant. Where power is only achieved with love and compassion. That's what I want. That's what a lot of us lefties want. The fact that it jibes with the vision of God's Kingdom outlined in the Bible is just a nice bonus. And completely irrelevant to most lefties I know. Which is fine, of course. I don't give the first rat's ass if you're working for this vision because it's the right thing to do, or if your God tells you to, or if you're just a happy hippie. It's all good.

So yeah. Even though a lot of protests seem futile and fruitless, and the cynic in me says why bother, I bother because it's the right thing to do. Because if 11 guys 2000 years ago could make the difference they made (and sweet merciful Jesus did we fuck it up), a bunch more people can make a difference. Even if they never see the results. Because that's hope. And you know how I feel about hope. There is no such thing as false hope. If I never see the results of my work, if there ARE no results of my work, I still had hope. Oh, and that reminds me, my least favourite concept ever: Don't get your hopes up. Really? Why not? Because I might not get what I want? So? So what? There are so many things wrong with that. First, it presupposes that I can't be happy if I don't get what I want. And that's bullshit. Second, if I don't get my hopes up, I won't bother to try, and if I don't try, it for certain won't happen. So it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Third, without hope, there's nothing.

So that's why I protest. That's why I toss pebbles into the ocean and hope for a tsunami. Because I have to. Because if I don't, I'm part of the problem. And I don't want to be part of the problem.

*Yesterday's Slut Walk in Victoria was sponsored by KoolFM radio station. They played loud music for the protesters. They played Blurred Lines. The date rape anthem. The crowd booed it until they turned it off.