Searching for Villains

I’ve been yelling at the podium a lot lately.

It’s the school board. I scratched a little hole, looked through, and what I saw was too ugly to walk away from. The people around me, the community, a lot of them see it too and now we’re all standing in the mud, tearing at these holes, to let the light in, to show as many people as possible

And it’s making me wonder where the light comes from, because, honestly, I just feel like I’m getting darker. I’m filling with hatred.

What about all that B.S. about appreciating enemies, fighting with love? How do I square that with this? What happens when the villain is big enough to be doing some real damage, permanent damage that will take years to undo?

Like a school board that’s fucking up the city.
Like a bully who takes your lunch money.
Like a lawmaker who steals your freedom.
Like the boss who eats your soul.
Like the shooter who killed your child.

How do you wrap love around them? How do you move mountains with stillness? How do you wage a revolution without letting hatred take over your heart?

I’m not sure how others feel, but I’m not at my best when I hate. When hate covers me and stays on me for long periods of time, it dries and cakes up, crusts my eyes shut, makes me leave tracks on the rug, mucky footprints in my house that are hard to get out.

I don’t function well like this.

My fight for one revolution is stunting another: the roar of my allies is drowning out my own silly rallying cry for connection across the aisle, for love in all places.

This conflict is as big as the moon, sharper than the devil’s triton. The pain is great, though easy to ignore in the sway of the crowd, with my heaving breaths hitting the microphone, my face hard, my fingers curled into tight little balls.

I finish.

Signs go up with fists. Thunderous voices, anger and spit flying from open mouths, mud on boots, mud on the stage, mud at the podium, mud all around.

No, no no! Stop, stop, stop! Fight, fight, fight!

I feel the rush in my head and hands, the revolution swirling inside me like a dark wind. We’re winning, we’re growing.

And then there’s this: a voice inside that refuses to climb out its whisper. It rests in that narrow column of stillness that lives in every storm. It is bold and quiet like a tiny flame, content between two unsteady hands.

I know you can hear me. I’m not going away.

You can’t save the world by searching for villains.

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