Resistance Fatigue

There are days when I wonder how in the world the Rebel Alliance ever managed to keep it together long enough to bring down the Emperor. I mean, it’s one thing to have outrage and anger against something the first time it happens. And the second. And maybe the third. But there comes a time, sooner or later, when you’ve been fighting the same fight over and over and over, and you don’t see any real change happening because of that fight. And that’s when you start to wonder why in the world you’re bothering.

Some of it comes from there being so many different arenas to fight in. At the moment, I feel like there’s the clear national arena, but there’s also plenty to be worried about for me at the state and local levels too. And the craziest thing about it all is that I feel like people on both sides of each one of these fights feel this way. I read articles by Trump supporters who are just aghast that the poor man can be so misunderstood. The same goes for LePage supporters at the state level here in Maine.

Some of the cause for all of this is that the people on the edges keep pushing those edges further. If the country were a plate, balanced on a point, then the Republicans and Democrats running all over the plate, rushing to the edges and stomping on them as hard as they can is putting that balance in danger. And sure, right now it’s the Republicans who seem set on making the whole thing shatter, but I do believe it’s a series of cause and effects. Bill Clinton was in power, and Republicans clamored against him. Bush came to power, and Democrats were appalled. Obama came to power, and Republicans freaked out for eight years. And now we have the result of that imbalance: Trump was able to be elected.


But what really brought this all into focus was the local level shenanigans this week. Constant blog readers will recall my school district’s budget is under fire. There’s a vocal group in the community who are upset with the school budget. They’re sick of it getting bigger every year, and they’ve done their darnedest to get it shrunk. And I accept that. I accept that people in a community will disagree about how much money should be spent on various things in that community. If that were all it were, then I’d be fine with the whole thing.

Except it doesn’t stop there, a fact best illustrated by describing the most recent development. One particular member of the “No” side has been more than outspoken about her views. She’s sent spiteful letters to the school board, accused the “Yes” side of lying, created a series of inflammatory signs around town, and even pulled up to curse and yell at school supporters (including children) on the day of the vote. This came to a head this past week when a member of the school board resigned, citing this person as one of the main reasons. The local online  paper wrote an article about it, and I made the mistake of reading the comments section.

It’s beyond disappointing when you see a person bullied to the point of resignation from the board, and the response from some community members is “The bully was just saying what the rest of us thought anyway. Good job bully! We support you!” Really? We can’t even agree as a community that using hateful, inflammatory language and personal attacks should be off limits? Not just that, but we double down on the rhetoric when we’re called on it? That says far more about the people who use and agree with such tactics than it does about any claims they make about their opponents. It’s one thing to lob barbs at people far off in government, but these school board members are part of us. They’re our community. People we see and interact with. If we can’t behave at a local level, what have we come to?

As I believe I’ve said before, I feel like this is a disagreement where one said is willing and open to hear arguments and evidence against raising the budget. They’re ready to implement reasonable solutions, regardless of where those solutions come from. They want to reach and and unify the community and come to a compromise. And the other side has people willing to do the same. But the loudest contingent of that side just seems to want to “win” at any cost.

It’s even more frustrating when they appear to change the definition of “winning” at the drop of a hat. For the second year in a row, town school budget assessments will be at a 0% overall increase, meaning any increase in property taxes for the last two years won’t be from the school budget. And yet now we’re hearing that the “no” side wants taxes to not just not increase, but to go down. I honestly don’t believe they’d be satisfied unless the budget went back to the amount it was at five or more years ago. When you’re trying to negotiate and reason with a group that takes those kind of tactics, you begin to wonder why you should even have a conversation.

And that’s the thing. You get tired. I pushed hard for the budget to pass last month. Last year I did the same. I rallied against Trump during the election. I’ve spoken out on various topics, from health care to gun control to basic human decency. And after a while, it all just wears on you. You wonder if it’s even worth it, and the very thought of standing on the proverbial street corner and shouting out your message just makes you want to slink back to bed.

There’s another school budget meeting tonight. I’m on a deadline for MEMORY THIEF 2, I have a slew of chores to do around the house, and I’m just plain tired. The thought of dragging myself to another one of those time sinks is just depressing.

But I’m going to go.

Because as soon as you start to give up, you’re letting the Empire win. You’re tossing the One Ring to Sauron. You’re saying Death Eaters really aren’t that bad. Yes, it’s tiring. So what? Often the tiring things in life are the things most worth doing.

Tonight, I’ll be the guy in the back, typing on a computer, wearing noise cancelling headphones in an effort to not let this suck more of my life away. Denisa’s going to prod me when I need to vote, and I’ll raise my voice with the rest. Come join me. 7pm. High school auditorium.

1 Comment

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