Friday, January 27, 2017

On Apathy

On Monday we (all of us) wrote postcards to our state senators about some concerns we had regarding public education and medical coverage. I don't know if it will do much but, as Andrew said, "Pressure is pressure." When I went to buy stamps at the post office they couldn't find any in the back. I swear we were waiting for more than half an hour while an employee was searching around in the back, trying to come up with some stamps for me (waiting at the post office that long was no small feat for Benjamin and Zoë, but really they did just fine).

"All I can find is a roll of 100 postcard stamps," the employee said helplessly. "I can't find the individual stamps."

"That's exactly what I'm looking for," I said (and exactly what I asked for, but thanks for having me wait around anyway).

"Really? You must be planning on mailing a lot of postcards."

"Yes," I answered, "I am.

Because I am. Because I refuse to allow apathy be my passion. Because I'm bothered.
"Let me alone," said Mildred. "I didn't do anything."
"Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?" Montag (Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451: 60th anniversary ed., p. 49)

Posting pictures of the rally made me nervous because Mormons in the states are overwhelmingly republican while The March on Washington was overwhelmingly...not very republican. Since the pictures have posted I've had people ask if we've "always" been democrats or if it's a new thing for us, I've had people quote The Family: A Proclamation to the World to me (as if I haven't had it memorized since that one year at YW camp (2001, I believe)), I've read some scathing things about the marchers. There was also a lot of positive response, which I appreciate. But I'm glad that we decided to post pictures so that there could be dialogue about it. I would like to "help destroy the myth that 'politics are dirty.' The fact is: politics are essential. The Lord has stressed that we ought to be concerned and involved in promoting good government."

But why march the day after the president was elected? Shouldn't we at least see what he does first? Give him a shot? Sure. But his promises seem great and spacious to me—he has great (often terrible) ideas without a plan to implement them. Building a wall? Cutting off refugees? Ending health care for millions? Ignoring environmental concerns? Putting America first, America first, America first? How are these ideas helpful? Are they good government? Will they help maintain my religious freedom and allow me to promote the gospel of love?
"Someone once said that a country gets the government it deserves. Apathy and fatalism breed tyranny and repression." —Rosalie English
I will not sit down while I see tyranny and repression brewing. And please don't tell me I'm being melodramatic because I've been "wait-and-seeing" for a full week now and, friends, this is happening:


It might not be happening to you personally, but it is happening to someone (okay, perhaps no longer in Auschwitz, but definitely in Allepo). And that's not okay with me. I would much rather be "guilty" of marching in a protest than to be guilty of meeting the refugee crisis with apathy instead of sympathy.
"Mr. Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going, a long time back. I said nothing. I'm one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the 'guilty,' but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself." Faber (Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451: 60th anniversary ed., p. 78) 
It's happening to the press. It's happening to scientists and forest rangers. That makes for a rather silly sounding "First they came..." rip off, but there you have it. At what point will there be no one to speak for you—you who "have never felt oppressed" as a woman, and are not a journalist, scientist, forest ranger, artist, or Muslim?

At family night we focused on an article written in 1976 by Neal A. Maxwell (back when he was the commissioner for the church education system) called The Lonely Sentinels of Democracy. He gives some wonderful examples from the scriptures about corrupt leaders and noble leaders. It was fascinating to read the talk with my 2017 lenses on. This quote, in particular, stood out to me:
It takes decades to prepare a nation for democracy, as was the case in America, but we could lose it or damage it in a matter of years, if not weeks, depending upon whom we select to lead us...
I need to stop consuming dystopian media. We've been watching The Man in the High Castle and I just finished Fahrenheit 451 and am in the middle of The Handmaid's Tale. I told Rachel I needed something lighter to read and she suggested I read the next book in the Princess Academy series but, unfortunately, that seems to have landed me in the middle of a full-on revolution. I'm sure none of that is helping with my doom-and-gloom outlook on life right now. I'm sure things aren't quite as bad as I'm seeing them.
...the sun comes up / and the world still spins...
But also, they're kind of I bought 100 stamps, just in case I need to send more postcards.

In the meantime, life marches forward.
"I hate a Roman named Status Quo! ... Stuff your eyes with as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds." Granger (Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451: 60th anniversary ed., p. 150) 


  1. I have been thinking a lot about Fahrenheit 451 because of the library! I feel so constricted by nonsensical ideas at work and in this nation. I am really proud of you for being not apathetic.

  2. Also not helping my current political outlook: reading the work Andrew's doing for his dissertation... :/