All my life, I have chosen to keep very much to myself. I never had a large number of friends, nor wanted to. I had very serious suspicions of Facebook from the get-go, and when everyone I knew was forwarding me ‘invitations to join’, I steadfastly resisted. Call me paranoid, but I could see the unlimited potential for abuse and something within me screamed “No!”
Remember when we first heard about the FEMA camps? The ones you could clearly see on Google Earth? Located next to rail spurs and complete with barbed wire fencing facing inside? We wondered, who will be put in there? I think in our freshly “post-9/11” minds many of us assumed they would one day be populated with brown people with towels on their heads. And on some level we were OK with that.
Now it is looking more and more like they will be filled with prisoners of a different colour.
Let’s go back in time for a moment (forgive me for jumping around here). When I was in grade seven, I wrote a four-line poem which was intended to be a critique of the cliques-and-violence culture at my school. I still remember it:
I see dumbshit motherfuckers every day
Wiggers and preps get in my way
But if they heard the things I say
I’d be dead by the end of the day.
Of course this was not meant for public viewing. It was just a stupid thing I wrote and showed only to my best friend. It was in a binder at the bottom of my locker. Then one day when I came back to school after being sick, I found out that my “best friend,” who had the combination to my locker, had dug out this poem and showed it to a pack of wild beasts who now actually did want to kill me for real. I spent the next several days in the guidance office, terrified, until it all blew over.
You don’t really think about the effect such childish nonsense has on you, when you grow up, finish school, and try to live your life in peace. I always had a tendency to “shoot my mouth off” as we say…but I’ve always had this anxiety about writing things down, perhaps stemming from this incident. Writing things down on paper is one thing, but writing things down on the internet is quite another. You have to assume it will remain part of the public record forever. You have to reconcile yourself to the fact that one day, this text could be read back to you in a kangaroo court and you will be held accountable for the words you chose to use.
The idea of this used to fill me with the same terror I felt in that guidance office. But lately, I have felt inspired by the courage shown by a Norwegian man living in France, who, in the face of intimidation coming from the highest levels of the French government, has steadfastly continued to share truth and enlightenment with us.
If I can help in any small way by sprouting above the surface of the earth with a fearless green shoot, now is the time.