Thursday, November 17, 2016

RED STATE, BLUE STATE

As my schedule permits, I’ll be attending conventions in any state - red or blue - that invites me and which meets my terms for such appearances. I’m putting that at the front of today’s bloggy thing  because it’s part of the conversation I hope to have with readers and fellow comics professionals today.

Like most people with brains and souls, I am utterly devastated by the election of Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist, xenophobe with a complete disregard for truth and decency, to be the President of my country. And when he says he will bring us together, I’m certain his definition of “us” isn’t near as inclusive as mine. And when he claims we should not be frightened of his Presidency, he is being absurd. Glance at the anti-Semitic, homophobic, woman-hating white supremacists who have positions in his Administration. Consider how many of them want America ruled by Sharia, excuse me, “Christian,” Law. Those who are frightened have reason for their fear. Even as a so-called privileged white straight male, I share that fear. The America of Donald Trump and his followers is not my America...and it never will be.

I was horrified by how many states went red for Trump. It’s small consolation that Hilary Clinton won the popular vote because that isn’t how our system works at present. Our nation elected a monster to its highest office. That’s hard to comprehend. Sadly, that’s the world we will be living in...for now.

Some of my fellow comics professionals have declared that, as soon as they fulfill existing commitments, they won’t attend conventions in red states. I salute and support all those who made that tough call. I despise those online jerks who have attacked them for the decision. Yes, in your hate-filled minds, the election of Trump has given you license to let fly your bigoted, homophobic, misogynist, xenophobic, ignorant neo-Nazi flags. But, no matter what you post on the Internet, you remain pathetic losers. Your online hate is merely an outward sign of your inner self-loathing.

I have decided on a different path than those comics professionals who are boycotting the red states. This is partly because of that popular vote - there are an awful lot of decent people who didn’t support Donald Trump - and partly because I think I can do a whole lot more good by showing up in “enemy territory” as the proud and unbowed liberal progressive I am.

I am empowered by the courage shown by professionals such as George Perez, Humberto Ramos, Gail Simone, Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn and so many others. I am filled with joy seeing so many standing strong against right-wing racism, misogyny, xenophobia and lies, even when that hate comes from other comics pros.

So I will come to red states. I will attend conventions that include charitable events as part of their programs because caring for our fellow Americans and citizens of the world is a concept cherished by liberals like me. I will be happy to talk comics and fun stuff with anyone who comes to my table. I will sign Isabella stuff for fans regardless of how they voted. I will sell them stuff without prejudice. I will stand before them, striving to be an example of common decency and sense. I will not shame them. If they voted for the monster, their shame will eventually bubble up within them and, when they finally realize the monstrous thing they have done and can show their willingness to work for a better nation and world, I will be there to welcome them to the right side of history.

I am not going anywhere. I will be here. I know George and Humberto and Gail and Brian and Mark and all the others will be here, too. None of us are going anywhere.

Waid has declared that his booth will be a “safe zone” for anyone who feels threatened by right-wing louts. He’s also said, albeit in less dramatic words than I am using, that he will unleash righteous fury on those louts. I believe he said something about tipping over tables and such. While I would certainly pay good money to witness that, it is not behavior I encourage nor behavior I would imitate.
I think we all know I’m too pretty for prison.

Here’s what Waid posted on Facebook:

"As a straight white male, I carry with me a certain amount of privilege. That doesn’t mean I’m diving through a money bin. Privilege doesn’t mean I snap my fingers and women come running. What it means is that I was born with a pigment and a nationality that makes me safe from hate crimes, from bigotry, from the kind of fear-mongering our President-elect spewed in all fifty states these last 16 months.

"So I’ve decided to use that privilege on the convention trail. I respect and agree with my friend Humberto’s decision, but I’m in a different place, and after talking to my friends who are Not Like Me, I think it’s a better use of my privilege to go to shows everywhere and help create safe spaces, as many of you already do (and thank you). It is pretty literally the least I can do.

"I’m not hard to find at shows. If you’re a fan or creator and are ever, ever made to feel uncomfortable on a convention floor, come find me. If it’s a fleeting thing, just come hang out. If, on the other hand, you can point out the aggressors, I will rain HELLFIRE on your behalf, I PROMISE you. Ask anyone. They’ll tell you that I’ll flip tables on bullies and creeps, and I'll have your back. And while I’ve never had to use it, I've got enough clout to have hate mongers flat-out thrown out of shows, and I am not above those sorts of nuclear options.

"It’s very easy on social media to say you're an ally. Give me the chance to prove I'm yours and I won't let you down. It may not be much, but it’s a start, and I'm willing to listen if you think there's more I can do."


My response:

I don’t have Waid’s clout. But I will make my booth or table one of those safe spaces. I’ll ask convention organizers to put my booth or table among like-minded professionals, the better to create the most bigly safe spaces we can.

I will carry your complaints of harassment and other inappropriate behavior to the show organizers and ask them to take swift action against the perpetrators. If the harassment or other behavior violates the law, I will do whatever I can to help you report the crimes to  local law enforcement. Do not be silent. We have to hear you before we can speak out for you.

Never give up. Never surrender. We are stronger together. We have to be.

I am a citizen of the United States of America. I cherish the true principles of our country. And I approve this message.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. While I respect, understand and applaud Perez' stance, I equally welcome yours and Waid's. I don't really have anything to add, but just wanted to give a thumbs-up. My better half is reblogging this, having various friends in the USA of various minorities, who'll be happy to know about the safe spaces! Also: 'bigly' :D

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