I walked around downtown Las Vegas this morning, snapping photos for the quarterly column I write for a tourism publication. Even though it was a bit chilly, it was a surprisingly nice morning–I was very comfortable in just a T-shirt and hoodie. I passed by a few buildings for lease and for sale, and I got nostalgic, reminded of the months I spent looking for spaces to rent downtown for new business ventures in 2013. It was a nice moment, and made me miss living and working downtown.
After getting a haircut at Globe Salon, I returned home to take advantage of the pleasant weather. I took the dogs outside while spending about a half-hour cleaning patio furniture and power-washing the deck, watering plants and listening to “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” on NPR. Everything seemed pretty good for the moment. I was going to blog about the whole downtown entrepreneurial nostalgia thing, go for a run, and then maybe grab lunch. Then I opened Tweetdeck.
Most days since Nov. 8, but every day since Jan. 20, every time I start to write or draw something about anything other than our current political nightmare, I am reminded what’s happening, and then I stop myself, and I just can’t seem to focus on creating anything that’s not related to what’s happening as a result of the new administration in the White House. I feel like I have to steal moments these days to shut out the anger/dread/fear. I feel like creating anything that doesn’t directly or indirectly address or fight or alleviate the ridiculousness coming from D.C. is just frivolous.
Folks on Twitter have suggested that it’s both OK to feel awful and to take a break to do other things, especially if those things might give others a break. But I feel like I should be doing more. I was about to open a new Etsy store to sell my art prints, but now I feel selfish for doing that and not putting that energy toward benefiting others. I just relaunched Sequential Madness, which was intended to be an entirely ridiculous comedic webcomic, but that was poor timing, because I just feel like all the humor is drained out of me right now, as evidenced by the downer of a comic I last posted there.
You could say, “Just stay off of social media, Pj. No good comes of it.” Well, that’s a) not entirely true, b) kinda impossible for a guy who works in digital marketing, and c) I don’t want to. I don’t want to disconnect, hide my head in the sand, let these things happen and let the chips fall where they may. I have that option, yeah. Because of my skin color. My education. My income. But it’s because of all those things that I can’t just ignore what’s happening. That makes you complicit. And for me, that’s inconceivable. I’m both the descendant of Jewish immigrants who left Europe to escape persecution and death AND the son of a Mexican immigrant who came here to make a better life for his family. I literally would not be alive and/or the person I am today if not for the very types of people our current President thinks are threats to our nation.
I’m still thinking of ways I can get more active despite my time being tied up pretty consistently by work and related obligations. I’m thinking of ways to continue creating what I create but still address the injustices unfolding before my eyes more and more every day.
And, by the way, if you’re one of my “friends” who has been calling people out for “overreacting” to this onslaught of news, the likes of which previously only seen in dystopian novels and actual fascist governments, you can pretty much fuck off. This stopped being about “pendulum swinging” or “the other side having their day” a while ago. This isn’t Washington politics business-as-usual. This is the beginning of a new civil war.