Essay – The Shift

I’ve been thinking so much about the state of my country these past few weeks. Well, since our last presidential election, I’ve done a lot of thinking, but it continued building to this moment where it’s more difficult and more painful to stay silent than it is to just get this mess out of my mind, and share it with you. I hope that all of this sounds as heartfelt as I intend for it to be.

I know most of what this blog talks about is things like comics, or film, or games. Not the most serious of subjects to dissect, but there is an inherent impact that pop culture has on us as a society. Superheroes are examples of an extreme realization of good, and evil villains are the fantasies of what we wish the bad looked like, so it’d be more easily identifiable. We don’t like to think that other humans, our neighbors, our family, our friends, or any stranger in the world is capable of things that are….well, inhumane.

So I have to take a moment and recognize that there are things far beyond these escapes that we have. There are terrible things being done to people in the United States, and yeah, I’m talking about marginalized groups specially. And I think as much as it is a part of being human to work to improve their environment and be prosperous, it is just as important to help each other reach those successes, to stand together and help those who can not help themselves, or who are being unfairly positioned to have less of a foundation on which they can build. It’s important that we all have our voices heard and recognized across every medium available to us, and it’s important that we create a space to live in, with or without others, that offers equal prosperity and happiness to all.

The big issue we face is that our country is heavily divided. You’d think that differences in opinion wouldn’t be such a crushing force to the organizational good, but I find that where this separation occurs most viscerally is where an opinion is used to justify harm of some kind to others. The examples of this would be simply social on the surface, but can actually enact serious problems with contrived justification: let’s say, the opinion that intimate relationships should only occur with members of the opposite sex, as it’s an issue that has affected my life in major ways. If this were simply an opinion, a matter of personal preference, then it would only harbor a disagreement and probably a lack of relationship between opposing parties. Doesn’t sound that dire, just a little uncomfortable from time to time. Instead, these opinions have evolved into such a tumultuous fear that it’s inspired groups and elected individuals to turn the opinion into legislation which has effected the lives of countless people. This opinion has stopped two people in love from being married. This opinion has stopped parents from adopting a child that needs a new home. This opinion has caused emotional and physical trauma for people of all ages. It has caused death, direct and indirect. It is harmful.

There are other differences of opinion existing in our modern conversations that serve no purpose to one end other than the satisfaction of having the opinion validated, while the other, often receiving, end of the consequences of that opinion face injury.

It’s gone on for years like this, so why should now be the moment to finally talk about it and act to dismantle the system which allows it to breed? Well, there’s really no good reason behind the where or when, sometimes. We all reach moments in our lives, fleeting chances of inspiration where we can either use the talents and passions that we have to create a better world, or we can simply exist within the space we already have, even if dissatisfied by it. Maybe some are forced to live within that space because of their age, or their financial situation. There’s lots of reasons, and some are very valid, to stay out of the fight. I’m deciding for myself, now, that that is no longer acceptable and that more must be done.

So relating it back to comics, I’m going to be working on some projects, a few of them new, and a few of them revisited under a different mindset, but hopefully all of them will resonate the importance of our shared humanity and what we can do to continue widening the horizons of our comprehension and compassion. Maybe these are not direct answers to larger political problems, and I’ll always still do whatever I can to aid in that more important way (by voting, by volunteering, by being charitable, etc), but I can hope that to start within the world that I so intimately know that it can carry into other aspects of my life, that it can help other people somehow. I want for these works to be an honest discussion, a challenge for people to see and be inspired by the experiences of those they might not understand. It’s a challenge to show that core being we all share, and to hopefully begin to breed a more closely knit comics community which can come together and stand up in more ways than what we read and create. That’s something I have the immediate ability to do.

I hope you guys will come along with me, and I hope you’ll enjoy the work as much as I enjoy creating it.





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