Another low mileage week, but I did get a lot of workouts in. I practiced some Vinyasa yoga twice, and it’s something that I plan to stick with. Both runs, though, felt a little weird. The 3 miler and the 6 miler, just felt like I was plodding along. For my second run, I actually had turned around and came home after about 0.2 miles, but right before heading back upstairs, I decided to stop listening to that devil on my shoulder and I went back out there. So while the mileage may have been low, I consider that a win.
Running is so much about turning off the mental thoughts in your mind. Sometimes heading out for a run is easy, and sometimes your mind is telling you every excuse in the world not to do it. So slaying that negativity, no matter how low the weekly mileage has been, is a positive step forward I think.
On my 6 mile run, I did my usual route up to the Capitol. On the way there, I encountered a protest originating and Union Station and terminating at the Capitol Building. The protest was against Betsy Devos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education. I paused my run and joined in the march, and it was a great example of our democracy in action.
But it paled in comparison to the demonstration that took place at the end of my run. There, at Lafayette Square, hundreds and hundreds of people showed up to demonstrate against the immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday. It was very reassuring to see citizens come out and participate.
So, this week, two runs, totally 9.47 miles:
TWIR (This Week In Running)
The week started off pretty quiet. Nothing too crazy, other than the usual routine. Jess and I did start a new show, The Man in the High Castle. It’s a pretty damn good show. Really interesting alternative history narrative.
On Friday, Jess’s family came into town and her dad and brothers helped us get some stuff ready for Mini’s room. It was incredibly helpful, they were able to install some doors, shelves and other furniture for us. Place is looking pretty great, and I feel like we’re almost ready for the big arrival.
On Sunday, there were a couple of big protests around DC. The first was an anti- Betsy DeVos demonstration, and the second was a demonstration against the executive order on immigration signed by Trump. There’s a lot to get into with both of these, and I’m not sure I have the energy to write all of it out, but I will say that it is absolutely encouraging to see our democracy at work like this. I overhead a woman tell her young daughter: “When you care about something, it’s very important that you show up.” If that doesn’t summarize the future hopefulness of our country and what we can be, then I don’t know what does.
All in all, I will say this about the immigration executive order. There are some very important things we often forget about as a collective society. The reason why America is the greatest nation in the world, why ideals of American exceptionalism extend and inspire the entire planet, is not because there is something inherently exceptional about us. Rather, it is our ability to use our soft power (through our culture, moral leadership and humanitarian tone) together with our ability to execute with strong power, whether that be economic, military, or otherwise. That the world can depend that America is not simply another a place, but instead that it’s a state of mind, an ideology for freedom. That’s what causes people to leave their homes. Not to move to South Carolina because it’s South Carolina, but to move to America because of the possibility of what that country can mean for them, and also what they can give to contribute to the larger ideal of America. When you remove that idealism, America becomes just another place, one of the myriad of countries and societies in this world.
I am going take you on a tangent here. I recently read a book called Endzone, by John Bacon. It’s about the rise, fall and resurgence of Michigan Football. In it, the author makes a point that Michigan football fandom is about more than just the football game. It’s about the ideal, the experience, the nostalgia, the hope, of what a game or season can mean to a fan with an emotional connection to the game. Once you implement policies to devalue that or to rip that apart, the game becomes just a game. When you go 0-12, but you still care about the ideal of Michigan football, you’ll still go to the game, perhaps begrudgingly, but you’ll still go. Your belief in the experience, in something bigger than yourself, or the metaphors of possibility powers you through. When you’re 7-5, and the notion of that larger ideal is removed, you’ll go to some games, you’ll skip others, and you certainly won’t stick around with as much faith as you do when times are tough. When the team loses, well then, shit, you’re paying for a product at that point. You’ll fork over top dollar for a night game against Norte Dame, but you won’t take two free tickets given away with your Coke purchase for a game against Minnesota.
The immigration executive order undermines this very notion of soft power. That people who suffer terrible plights have a beacon of America to look to. Maybe they can’t get here, but they can live assured that there is a place in the world where the notion of freedom and security for all exists, even if in a real way it fails to live up to that promise. It’s the ideal that exists, the chase of a more perfect union, that somewhere in the word, there’s an ideal out there. That we are not trying to chase another society, but that we are trying to chase a more perfect way to live with one another, with different views, conservative and liberal and in between, of what that means. When you take that away, we become just another country, just another football team hoping to be better than 7-5 so our fans will show up.
Safety is important. But policy has nuance, and it is important to understand these nuances. You have to arm yourself with knowledge, so that when someone says “yeah, let’s have a temporary ban because it keeps America safe,” let’s understand how that goal is accomplished. Let’s specifically answer these questions head on, and be confident in the strengths and deficiencies in our analysis. I’ve started to find that when you challenge ignorance with knowledge, the veneer of good intentions falls off and both sides reveal themselves.
So this is a goal for me. In other posts I would apologize for the politics written here. But I love this country to its core, too much to stay quiet with niceties. So knowledge, knowledge, knowledge, and speaking truth to power.