Politics in a Liminal State

I feel very uncomfortable in crowds, particularly political crowds. Somewhere in the back of my brain a warning starts flashing, something to do with sameness, mob mentality, the overwhelming loss of individuality. Heck, I don’t even like seeing Rocky Horror Picture Show live because having a group of people all performing the same actions, saying the same lines, dressed in varying shades of the same outfits would freak me out a bit.

Recently, after watching “Human Nature” and “Family of Blood” in the new series of Doctor Who, J asked if I was the Doctor or John Smith. I don’t know how to answer that question, but I keep feeling like I have been trying hard to be John Smith for most of my life, despite this niggling idea in the back of my brain that I am somehow cut out for some more, something out of the ordinary. But then again, don’t we all share that feeling, don’t we all, unless we’ve given up completely, think that we are special, unique, rock stars in our own right if only the world paid proper attention?

People I would like to be, simply because they embody so much of what I respect and/or what excites me intellectually and artistically:

David Bowie Wayne Coyne

Ok, so that list is both shorter than I thought and also completely tied in with issues of artistic abilities as well as physical attributes – I mean, lets be honest, if you are going to want to be someone else, the odds are that you will pick someone that you think is an attractive human being in addition to any other qualities they might have. Both of them have physical traits that I wish I possessed–David Bowie’s angularity and lean-ness and Wayne Coyne’s hair and style–but more importantly, I would like to be them because of their creative power, a power that is both deep but also wide ranging, each of them being able to work in a variety of mediums, and work them all equally well. Also, both men exhibit a centered strength that I am deeply impressed with as well as a sense of continued experimentation and a “just-do-it” attitude that I find both admirable and daunting.

The greatest limitations we encounter are generally the ones we impose upon ourselves. (I am talking metaphysically here, and want to acknowledge the real violence and control that social institutions can impose upon peoples minds and bodies.) Pathways carved into neurons, habits of mind and body, the inner voices that say “don’t” or “you can’t.” We carve out a way of living so young, so very young, and then are caught within the forms we have carved. Occasionally wondering what it would be like to walk another path, see another view.

There is no try, there is only do. Or something like that.

MoveOn sent me an email yesterday, perhaps you received it as well, regarding a political rally sponsored by the ACLU and others:

On June 26, 2007, join us in Washington, D.C. as we call on Congress to restore habeas corpus, fix the Military Commissions Act, and restore our constitutional rights. Rally with us outside the Capitol, then help deliver our urgent message in person to your Members of Congress. This is your chance to make your voice heard!

I am considering taking the day off and going. This is the schedule (my bus would leave at 5 am from Brooklyn):

7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Executive Branch Demonstration for those already in DC (exact location tbd) 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Lobby Training (close to Upper Senate Park) NOTE: Lobbying will be done in groups. All attendees are encouraged to participate! 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. RALLY at Upper Senate Park. 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Storm the Hill: Lobby Meetings with Senators and Representatives 6:00 p.m. Buses depart Union station for cities around the nation.

This is normally something of which I would be intellectually in favor of, something that I would never think of going to because I don’t like political rallies and that’s just not who I am. Scratched out patterns on a piece of balsa wood, channels of though, habits of mind. We may think we want something different, something new, but then, when faced with a different view, we get vertigo and a touch of fear. So I stay between, sheltered by the limen, a step inside a step outside. Nothing on the line either way. Comfortable and safe, yet all the while knowing that I am cheating myself, that the liminal, while an excellent place to spend time as a writer and creator as it affords me the ability to look in multiple directions as well as letting me be both a little of and a little apart in order to better understand and represent the world through my music or my writing, is not the only space I can or should inhabit.

So, the question is, am I going to Washington DC next Tuesday?

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