bookmark_borderA tiny sliver of justice

A couple days ago, someone on Twitter wrote a nasty reply to one of my tweets. I clicked on this person’s username to find out more about them and to view the rest of their tweets and found that their page was filled with exceedingly vicious content ridiculing and insulting Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was killed by a police officer while protesting at the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.

First of all, in his/her bio, this person (and I use that term loosely) bragged about having been blocked by an account dedicated to remembering and seeking justice for Babbitt, as well as an account dedicated to supporting the January 6 defendants. The fact that someone would brag about having acted nastily towards people who stand up for justice and fight back against authority is messed-up and bizarre.

This “person” repeatedly tweeted images of Babbitt bleeding to death on the floor of the Capitol building, accompanied by words ridiculing and insulting her and calling her a domestic terrorist.

In response to tweets about an artist’s tribute to Babbitt, the “person” responded with something to the effect of “my dog creates tributes to Babbitt twice a day,” accompanied by a picture of a dog going to the bathroom.

The “person” suggested to those who wish to commemorate Babbitt on the anniversary of her death that if they cannot find a suitable picture of Babbitt, they should instead use a picture of Timothy McVeigh, Charles Whitman, or another name from a list of murderers.

The “person” claimed that Babbitt’s family and friends were to blame for her death for failing to attempt to persuade Babbitt to change her political views, and that if they truly loved her they would have intervened to try to change her views as opposed to accepting her for who she was. (This despite the fact that trying to change who someone is as opposed to accepting them is immoral and the opposite of love.)

In tweet after tweet, this “person” repeatedly ridiculed and insulted Babbitt, the January 6 defendants, and anyone who had the audacity to express support for them.

In short, this person went out of his/her way to take the side of an authoritarian government against a woman brutally killed by said government. This person, who lives in a society where the political establishment and the majority of the population shares his/her views, and therefore where he/she gets his/her way on essentially every policy issue, chose to ridicule and insult a woman who was killed for questioning authority and expressing political dissent. This is incomprehensible, disgusting, repulsive, and despicable. 

Tonight, I returned to Twitter to look up this person’s account again for the purpose of composing a blog post criticizing them, only to find that their nasty reply to me, and their account itself, appear to be gone. 

So instead of rebutting the person’s disgusting statements point by point with screenshots, the only thing I have to say in this blog post is that a tiny sliver of justice appears to have been done. Whether the “person” deleted their nasty reply to me, deleted their account entirely, or had their account deleted by Twitter for violating its terms of service, the world is a better place without such nastiness in it. It is always a victory when a blog post rebutting someone’s disgusting statements turns out to be unnecessary.

bookmark_borderStop the Mandates rally in Boston

Today I attended an event called the “Show Up Strong: Stop the Mandates” rally in Boston, MA. Several hundred people gathered outside the State House to protest against vaccine mandates in general, and the city of Boston’s vaccine mandate for restaurants, gyms, theaters, and sporting events in particular. 

As a band played pro-freedom rock music, protesters lined both sides of Beacon Street, holding signs, waving flags, and chanting “Wu Has No Heart.” I held a sign that read, “My body my Choice / No vaccine mandates.” Starting a few minutes after noon, a variety of speakers addressed the crowd from the steps in front of the State House, including a state representative, a rabbi, the owner of a popular Italian restaurant, the chairman of the Constitution Party, a veteran and gym owner, a police sergeant who lost her job for opting against the vaccine, and an occupational therapist who lost her job for the same reason. The crowd of protesters was racially and politically diverse. Unsurprisingly, Gadsden flags, F— Biden flags, Trump signs, and “Let’s Go Brandon” apparel dotted the crowd, but there were also left-leaning types and signs containing the “A” for anarchy symbol. People of all races danced and chanted about love, truth, health, and freedom. 

Numerous drivers honked their horns and gave the thumbs up from their vehicles as they drove past, including a UPS driver, a school bus driver, a taxi driver, and drivers from various food companies, a flower shop, HVAC companies, and construction companies. A pickup truck with signs saying “Impeach Biden” and “Impeach Warren” drove by several times, honking loudly to express support. Photographers and videographers from various news outlets captured images of the crowd, and a few police officers milled about.

The only aspect of the rally that I did not enjoy was the weather. As someone on the autism spectrum, I am particularly sensitive to cold, wind, and rain, and I considered not attending because the forecast called for exactly those things. A cold rain came and went throughout the afternoon, not enough of a downpour to drench anyone, but enough to make everything and everyone damp and shivering. 

Shortly before 2:00, the protesters took to the streets, marching from the State House to City Hall (where Mayor Michelle Wu had decided to close the building and order staff to work from home) past Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market and on to the North End. Chanting “Let’s Go Brandon,” “Shame on Wu,” and “My Body, My Choice,” we took over the streets of Boston, forcing cars to stop and paying no attention to traffic lights. At the head of the procession were people with bullhorns, as well people holding a large banner that read, “Medical freedom: the new civil rights movement.” Along the way, people going about their business stopped to watch and take videos on their phones. Construction workers in bright yellow vests cheered, and old guys hanging out near the “Connah Store” clapped their hands. People peered down from the windows of apartment buildings, some flashing the thumbs up, some simply gawking in curiosity, and only one giving the middle finger. Along the way, we passed the statue of boxer Tony DeMarco. Noticing that someone had placed a mask on the statue’s face, one of the rally leaders promptly removed the mask and threw it on the ground.

At 2:30, we arrived at the Paul Revere statue in the North End, where we posed for a group photo and sang “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner.” By the time the march concluded, I was shivering uncontrollably from the cumulative amount of time spent in the cold and rain, and my hands were numb. My sign, as well as numerous other people’s signs, was soaked, and the letters were starting to smudge. However, it would be a no-brainer to say that I was glad I went. All of the horrible things happening in the world have really been getting me down, particularly comments on social media saying that people like me are not welcome in Boston and that we should stay out of “their” city. Participating in this rally and march gave me the sense that I am not alone and that I do have a place in the city of Boston. Marching en masse through the streets, bringing traffic to a halt, and attracting stares from passerby, was truly a powerful and exhilarating experience. For a couple hours, at least, I felt that I had a voice and a community. That in itself is a big victory.

Continue reading “Stop the Mandates rally in Boston”

bookmark_border2021

2021 was an interesting year, to put it mildly. Here are some of the highlights and lowlights:

  1. People bravely decided to protest against the installation of Joe Biden as president, and a ceaseless torrent of vicious, relentless, and defamatory insults – not to mention unjust criminal charges – promptly began, not only towards the protesters but also towards all people who share the protesters’ ideology.
  2. Biden took office and proceeded to enact one horrible, authoritarian policy after another, accompanied by horrible, authoritarian rhetoric more appropriate for a totalitarian dictator than a president of the United States.
  3. Covid continued, and so did authoritarian policies intended to mitigate it. People were told that the rollout of the covid vaccine would mean a return to normal, but it instead led to increasingly authoritarian policies coercing, requiring, and forcing people to get the vaccine, which is the antithesis of a return to normal.
  4. The vicious, senseless, and bigoted war on beautiful statues and monuments continued.
  5. I lost several family members, including an aunt, grandfather, great aunt, and great uncle.
  6. My cousin (age 31) learned that he had brain cancer.
  7. I made the difficult decision to leave a job at a company that I loved.
  8. I ended relationships with several people because their political beliefs were too different from mine. Previously, I have never really taken people’s political beliefs into account when deciding whether or not to be friends with them, but the assaults on historical figures and bodily autonomy have made political issues become quite personal for me, and I was no longer willing to stifle myself and pretend that everything was fine while people openly advocated for the destruction of everything that makes my life worth living.
  9. I gained more confidence in speaking out about my beliefs.
  10. I was ridiculed and called a racist, a white supremacist, an idiot, and a disgusting person because I spoke out about my beliefs.
  11. I started an awesome new job at an awesome company.
  12. The American people began to wake up and to fight back against authoritarianism, via lawsuits, protests, and the now ubiquitous “Let’s Go Brandon.”
  13. At least one statue of Christopher Columbus and several modest Confederate statues were erected in various locations around the country.
  14. I ordered my very own statue of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, which will be arriving sometime this year.
  15. I attended a protest against vaccine mandates.
  16. I attended a protest against getting rid of Columbus statues and Columbus Day.
  17. I met a variety of new, like-minded people from all different walks of life.
  18. A halfway decent person was elected governor of Virginia, in something of a rebuke of the despicable statue genocide that took place in that state.
  19. Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted, handing a rare defeat to the intolerant, politically correct bullies. 
  20. While going through drawings and writings from my childhood, I had an epiphany about the true purpose of my life. More on that will follow over the course of the year.

2020 and 2021 were by far the most difficult – and at many points, demoralizing – years of my life. However, in the second half of 2021 there have been a few glimmers of hope. Here’s hoping that 2022 is a better year. It is hard to imagine how it could possibly be worse.