And here we are. The holiday that gussies up genocide in exchange for tryptophan. In a country that dresses up autocratic Nazi despotism as politics as usual.
It's become increasingly difficult to engage with the outside world these past few weeks. Spending one of them in Portland, Oregon, took a bit of the edge off. Spending time between here and Los Angeles reminded me that not only was it not a mandate that sealed our fate, but, that there are plenty of people just as angry and scared as I am.
The fear. That's the hardest part. I've made a life of being fearless. Saying what I think. Doing what I want. Not letting risk outweigh the importance of good and right. And while those characteristics have certainly hurt me (and those I love), I've never once been scared of using them. Of letting my gut tell me when it's time to stand up and when it's time to walk out.
A few years ago, I was put in one of those situations by DC Comics. And there wasn't a second of hesitation when I walked out the door on a career I'd fought for a decade plus to build, because, I know what's right, and I know what's wrong.
But it fucking hurt. It hurt financially. It hurt me socially. It hurt me psychologically. While I'll be eternally grateful to Marvel and Axel Alonso for helping me get over the rough spot I was in, it also was a true moment of change for me. I knew the day I said, "no more," I wouldn't last much longer as a comic book writer.
And so I moved over to television. A dream I'd had, the very reason I'd moved to Los Angeles in 2001, and something that has brought me more success and happiness than virtually any other job I've ever had. And, it's been a place where I can be myself. Where I can have my politics, and my hard headed beliefs in what is right and wrong, and how people should be treated, and what our responsibility is to our audience.
But now... First, we live in a different world. A world of persecution. Of thought police on a scale never imagined. And secondly, our President-Elect has shown us what he thinks of those who stand against what he stands for.
But as a person who tells stories. Who believes in the inherent kindness of humanity. Of the power of community, and love. Of the weakness and foolishness of hate and authoritarianism, how can we tell stories that do anything but repudiate him and his followers.
Do we tell stories about the happy Nazi who convinced his whole town to burn a family alive because of the color of their skin? Do well tell a modern twist on 1984 where Winston Groom realizes just how much better he is to have been brainwashed back into the system? Or do we tell the story of Billy Pilgrim, unstuck in time, and able to see the error in his ways fighting a monster with funny hair? Or, perhaps, we can do a remake of The Stand where Randall Flagg has some really interesting ideas about economics to share with our heroes.
No. We tell stories about the other. The unique. The brave. The bold. Those who preach kindness over hate, and see violence as a last defense, not as an opening salvo. For people who understand what a centuries worth of enlightened thinkers have preached. That we are one species. One family. Struggling together for a better world. Not hurling bullets or insults, not slowly destroying each other for the sake of protecting ones own.
I am scared. And I say that knowing full well that the color of my skin will camouflage my religion and my immigrant parents. I lay in bed worried that when they come for us, the voters who chose this modern day Satan will not chant for my destruction, but simply shrug and say, "But, at least now the trains run on time."
I'm scared, I realize, for one reason. What I did all those years ago when I walked away from my career was fucking hard. Harder than anything I'd ever done before. Harder, I thought, than anything I'd ever have to do again. And yet, here we are.
And if I'm worried about what I would do, how could I not be completely terrified what everyone else will do?