Friday Fives – social justice edition

Have you ever written a letter to the editor of your local newspaper?

Oh yes.  Many times, but the first one was epic.  I wrote a piece in college that was pro-bicycle.  There was a low storm brewing between bikers and cars.  This was a pretty small town, Flagstaff, AZ.  It’s a town so small that a bike is sufficient.  It’s a college town, so biking also means a lot less drunk driving.  Problem was, a lot of bikers were assholes with zero regard for any of the traffic laws.

I wrote a pro-biking piece to the local paper.  A local businessman wrote this epic screed about how bad we sucked.  He could have made a LOT of great points.  Bikers were being arrogant, and dangerous, and many were just overall dickheads.   He didn’t, though.  He made this stupid screed about how we were terrible for the environment and society.

Of course, I wrote back.  Carefully negating each and every one of his points.  It was frustrating because, as I said, there are plenty of reasons to hate college bikers clogging up your streets.  This guy didn’t capture any of that, though.

It got a half page in the Sunday paper (above the fold, thank you very much!)
I still remember the headline they put over my piece “the bicycle empire strikes back!”  I didn’t write that, but I was pretty tickled.  All the sudden, people were calling me for interviews and stuff.  It was really cool.  The power of the pen, man.  You could say love of writing and blogging came out of that interaction.  Suck it, Rusty!
Have you ever called one of your elected officials to tell them your views on an issue important to you?

Oh yes, quite often.  I bother my POS senator, Cory Gardner WEEKLY.  So much so that I have him bookmarked on my browser.  Here, go ahead and bother him, too.  He is one of those Republican asshats who are ramming through the destruction of the Affordable Health Care act, and helping get that shitty tax bill passed.  It will screen you for a zip code, to prove you live here in his district.   I’ll give you the address to our firehouse, which will show you are living in his district. I use this trick to bother Mitch McConnel all the time.

46220 Coal Creek Dr, Parker, CO 80138.   Do not feel bad about reaching out to him.  You are a taxpayer, and he works for you.

or… use this great site –

Have you ever testified during the citizen speak-out portion of a local government meeting?

Oh yes.  Had a pretty fun experience with that one, too.  We had terrible roads here.  The county is broke for reasons I won’t go into, but our dirt roads no longer have any ‘road base’… which basically means a foundation of rock.  Because the roads are now just sand, and our soil is just clay… some of the roads get impassable after rain.  The neighbors and I were bitching about it and someone suggested to go down to the town council and speak up.  We did.   Somehow, I ended up being the spokesman.  I didn’t volunteer… but didn’t mind.  Well, it had some kind of effect because I turned up on cover of the local newspaper a few days later.

       I was happy to expose the road issue, but that was kinda weird.  And kinda cool.

Have you ever participated in a protest or demonstration?

Of course.  Mostly the usual stuff – anti-war rallies back in Bush days (both Bushes, actually), and several Take Back the Night Rallies.    I am a big fan of the ‘Take Back the Night’ rallies.  I think it is incredibly important that women feel safe.  That is a basic human right.  Being a straight white male, I can’t pretend to know the suffering or horrors of that kind of vulnerabilities.  All I can do, though, is say “I agree, how can I help?”

Speaking of that, we need some new rally cries.  All we have had for the last couple hundred years is ‘hey ho, hey ho, ______ has got to go’.  I remember we passed a rally in Boulder against police brutality (a few years ago, as Black Lives Matter was emerging).  it was ‘hey ho, hey ho, police brutality has got to go’.  Here is the thing, as great as it is those little trustafarians were out expressing themselves… did any cop drive by and think ‘I was going to go attack some black folk tonight for no reasons.  mostly just my underlying prejudice and social frustration… but tonight I am not going to beat anyone up.  Thank you, protesters.”

arm the monkeys!

More likely said officer might think ‘tonight, I am going to mix it up.  I am going to beat up white kid with dreadlocks.   Sorry, I am getting old and crankly.  I think protest is great.  I think the cops should go out there and protest the protesters.  How about that?  how about the coppers say “do you know you are able to do this rally because we are keeping you safe?  Everyone who shows up here goes on a 9/11 blacklist.  Don’t ever call us for help if you think we are so bad.  This is what makes America SO great.  Everyone can protest, and everyone should.  In most countries, you get shot for that stuff.

no one is all innocent, and no one is all guilty

If so, were you arrested for doing so?

Yes.  And that is all I will say about that.  What, is this ‘the Circle’?  You don’t need to know everything.  I am a sexy mystery.  Nothing ever violent, of course… just stupid young decisions.  I have to go now, lights out are in 5 minutes, and this laptop is most definitely contraband.

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