No, Wonderful No

October 2, 2007

Recently, I have been thoroughly enjoying saying, “No.”

As the weather turns warm and we head downhill towards another election season, worker bees are hitting the streets to gather signatures and spread propaganda for their various causes.

They inevitably ask a simple question as they accost you on the street and usually we citizens react out of habit — if at all — with a simple, “No.”

“Do you have a minute for the environment?” No.
“Do you have a second for gay rights?” No.
“Care to help out the world’s children today?” No.
“Excuse me. Are you Jewish?” No.

You may actually be in a hurry. You may not care about the specific issue. You may find the petitioner themselves intolerably young and idealistic. Whatever the reason (or excuse), we generally give the question no more than a millisecond of thought. Afterall, this is New York City and we are New Yorkers! We must have something more important to do, somewhere more important to be.

Recently though, a certain question has broken through the sheen of exasperation that accompanies such a question.

And not for the content of the question itself per se, but because of the big smile it never fails to bring to my face. A smile brought on — not by the content of the question — but by the realization that my answer was sincere and honest. My answer was not an excuse, not a convenient way to blow off the asker, not the product of a lack of thought at all.

Of course it’s not just the honesty of my “No” answer that could bring such a smile, but also the perverse joy in the reasons behind the answer. And this is where the story, my mea culpa, really begins.

You see, a while back in a fit of frustration and exasperation with the Democratic party, I left and became an independent voter. A voter without a party. Now, in all honesty, I had only joined the Democratic party to participate in the primary elections back in California. This was before they went to an open primary system. I really have no allegiance to, or belief in, the Democrats, but for a lark, I signed up. Like many people, I think I got caught up in Bush-monkey hating frenzy right before the 2002 presidential election.

And after the election, I felt betrayed by the Democrats. Why should I continue to belong to a party that didn’t seem to want to win the election? In a fight to the death to determine the future of the world, the Democrats just didn’t want to fight. They were, in comedic stereotypical fashion, content to whine about things being unfair. At best they claimed to take the high road and refused to debase themselves and stoop to the level of the Republicans.

And that’s what threw me over the edge so that I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t be part of a political party — even in name only — that in all reality didn’t want to do what was necessary to win. The nature of the opponent determines the nature of the fight and when dealing with current state of the Republican party it would seem prudent to fight dirty. (Naysayers may claim that two wrongs don’t make a right, but they can go screw. Both parties left good governance and legal and/or moral upstanding behavior behind long ago.)

So what I’m really doing when I say, “No” is to reaffirm my individuality, my honesty and my beliefs. It’s quite liberating to be lifted from the mire of crap that lies between the two major political parties. I hadn’t been aware of how deeply my peripheral relationship with the Democratic party had affected me until I left. In leaving, I am no longer being misrepresented, categorized, chronicled, polled and abused. I’m simply left to stand on my own two feet. Which is where I’ve felt most comfortable (and effective) all along.

Having been abandoned by the Democratic party, what other option did I have? Join another political party? Hmmm, not quite ready for the disappointment just yet. Not to mention the sheer enjoyment and perverse joy of somehow in a tiny way, sticking it to the Democrats. That liberal whiny bullshit is just too much for me. If there’s no crying in baseball, there sure as hell isn’t any in politics.

“Are you a Democrat?”
“No. No, I’m not.”

And that is something that can keep anyone smiling as they go down the street.


August 9, 2007

So Archie and I wandered out to Central Park a few Sundays ago (for a walk and a cigar respectively) and we found ourselves in the midst of a political rally. Or rather, in between two political rallies.

The first and larger group was an anti-war rally. The second was a smaller (yet louder) pro-war (and decidedly anti anti-war protester) rally.

A few notes from the rainy sidelines:

  • The anti-war protest was much more organized — they reserved and paid to use a field in the park; they set up small knee high stage set up for speakers; they had numerous small but identical signs amongst the protesters.
  • The pro-war protest was really just to protest the anti-war rally. They had more flags and were certainly louder, but were consistently told (and escorted) by the police to move away from the anti-war rally.
  • A nice story from an old women on the anti-war side: She was on the subway heading to the protest and was sitting with her sign. It read, “Arrest Cheney” in white letters on a black background. A person on the subway read the sign and yelled out, “What about Bush?” to which she merely flipped the sign over which read, “Arrest Bush,” on the other side. The subway erupted in laughter and cheers.
  • The pro-war protesters had lots of chants which we’re loud but mostly just strange:

It was about this time that the rhetoric, the nicotine and the rain became too much for us and we took off.

Is it any wonder that we’re divided?

Cartoons are not terrorists

February 20, 2007

Now that the fervor has died down a little, I can actually write about this ridiculous event.

Personally, I believe the Boston police have outed themselves as idiots especially considering that the same promotional campaign was used in 11 other cities and none of them panicked. New Yorkers ignored them completely. I did manage to see part of the campaign (but not the offending Lite Brite version) and I took it as a huge inside joke. If you had never watched the show (Aqua Teen Hunger Force), you would have no idea why a badly pixelated creature was flipping you the bird.

Another thought occurred to me regarding the Boston police: that they are working under a kind of post-9/11 survivors guilt. The terrorists all got on flights out of Boston’s Logan airport. The fact that the Boston police (and other local security services) were unable to prevent them at the point of departure may still weigh subconsciously on the collective police mind. This would help explain there retarded over-zealous behavior — that somehow they’re still trying to make up for the mistakes of the past.

Anyway you cut it, it certainly looked bad for yours truly as I’ve got color prints of the ATHF guys plastered around both my NY and SF offices. Not the offending one (yet), but several people in the know wondered about my involvement — of which I had absolutely none.

I do look forward to the entire event — including subversive footage of the police response — to be featured on the next ATHF DVD.