And our own Headphone Princess said it best, so I’ve asked her if I could repost her comments yesterday as the header for today. So, without further ado:
*takes headphones off, taps mic*
Okay, I think this thing is on.
So, I had a look at the posts in the State of the Avocado, and I have to say it made me sad. The PT that was being described, derisively, dismissively, and cynically, was somewhat recognizable, but bereft of a lot of the good that happens here. I hope, in doing the Clampost Pile when I’m able to, to amplify the aspects of this place that can get lost in the shuffle: the interesting long reads, the moments that make us giggle, the fascinating local stories, matters of representation, newsworthy items, reports that help our understanding of governance and politics in general (and of course put the Sex Clams in there!). So it was sad to see so little of this reflected in the estimations of the PT, and my instinct was to wonder if what I was doing was ultimately futile.
I get that there is something cathartic about a lot of what goes on in the PT. I’m not naive, I see the days when it does feel like a dumping ground for the things that don’t need to be repeated or emphasized, even with snarky comments from Twitter. But I also think that people who see what they want to see will gravitate towards these things as it suits their confirmation bias. If you want to see doom and idiots and garbage takes, you will look for them, and you’ll find them, and then you’ll decide that that is what the PT is, because that is what you expected to see. (My point is that it feels dismissive to be reduced to ‘doomposts and Twitter takes’. Everyone that is a regular here is well aware that there is plenty of this going on, some days more than others. If one is writing generally about an issue, there’s no way to not have individual exceptions. It’s fine if people want to think that, I just wanted to point to the positive things that happen here.) But just as people aren’t their governments, the PT is often not just these things. I have seen people post in sadness, in moments of fear. I’ve seen people post because they are looking for support because their lived experiences do not offer refuge. I’ve seen people (and I’ve been one of those people) who have to admit that sometimes the world is bearing down in ways that seem insurmountable. These people are treated with kindness, and encouragement, and compassion on the PT. We know that people in this community MATTER. And I want to amplify this in the strongest terms.
So rather than react in sadness or anger, to push back on feeling demoralized, I’d like to say thank you to this community. Thank you to our community member who faithfully posts news on redistricting efforts in the US. Thank you to our local-acados who tell us about their efforts to organize and effect change in their communities. Thank you to those who look for good news and post it. Thank you to those who post news stories that help us make sense of complicated issues and processes. Thank you to those who take the time to craft thoughtful responses in conversations about various topics. Thank you to those who ask questions and signal willingness to think about the responses from others. Thank you to those who help us giggle when we need it. Thank you to those who agree to disagree. Thank you to those who post news items on things they’re interested in, whether it’s tech news or environmental issues or concerns about housing, or labor rights. I know that you’re here, and I see you, and I hope that you continue to do these things. Because this is what matters. It is easier to complain than it is to contribute, and there are many in this community who contribute, and I want to encourage you, also in the strongest possible terms.
Politics affects our lives in a variety of ways, and the PT is often a place where we can see some of the intersections that we would otherwise be unaware of. I remain grateful to the Texas-acaods who helped me think about how the issues we read about affect lived experience, for example. I love hearing from our community members worldwide about their politics and significant political issues. I appreciate that we have a diversity of socio-economic classes here who can offer alternatives to thinking about how one works, whether it has to do with labor laws or discussions of working from home. Personally, I like hearing about how people in rural areas live, as a life-long city lover! We can all do with a reminder of our privilege, and I hope that the value of these perspectives is the main thing that keeps our community together.
These things also happen in the PT every day, and I hope that we can all recognize them and value our diversity.
*puts headphones back on, turns up music*
You know the drill from here. No threatening Mayor McSquirrel or anyone else. Treat yourselves and each other with respect. And make some room in your closet, donate that old sweater and/or jacket you don’t wear anymore to someplace that will do some good with it.