Earlier this week someone made an interesting comment about civil rights that I tried to spin into an MLK Day comic, but every script I wrote sounded tongue-in-cheek or off topic so I decided not to chance it today. For now, I have standard boilerplate for Martin Luther King’s birthday, which I used to tell my students when I taught college freshman. I would basically suggest to them that, on their day off, they make a good faith attempt to increase the overall level of tolerance, equality, and love on the planet, and, if they couldn’t manage that, to at least stay inside and not to talk to anyone so they wouldn’t make the situation any worse.
In fact, a lot of years I choose the second option myself.
People can be very hard to love sometimes.
Reddit has been a real mixed blessing for me; my traffic has increased tenfold since I’ve been there, but part of promoting your work on Redding involves being part of the community on Reddit, and a lot of being part of the community on Reddit involves dealing with people who use their anonymity to express massive bigotry, the kind of thing that most people don’t say out loud anymore because they know it’s not OK. But it’s apparently very OK in certain forums. It’s certainly the only arena in my life where I know I will be castigated for espousing a feminist viewpoint.
So, while I like to believe in the overall goodness of humanity and the concept that most people are basically decent, it’s hard to talk myself into that in an election year, when I can see that there are thousands and thousands of people who feel personally threatened by the concepts of tolerance, equality, and love.
It’s too bad, because we could be living in paradise right here, right now. It would be so easy. That’s really all that any civil rights activist is saying: let’s not hurt each other. Let’s just allow everyone the same rights and freedom we want for ourselves. It’s nicer that way.
It’s weird to me that it’s so hard.
Instead of my off-kilter and possibly offensive take on freedom and equality, I started a much sillier comic. “It’s probably stupid and not funny,” I told The Man, and then I showed the sketch to him, and he said it was very funny. So, possibly, tomorrow you’ll laugh, if you read this page tomorrow, and also if you have a sense a humor that’s similar to mine or The Man’s, and, of course, if life flows smoothly enough that the comic gets finished and uploaded before that. The Rabbit used to say, “Man plans; God laughs.” But we don’t really have much choice but to keep planning.