8 Dec 2002 MichaelCrawford   » (Master)

Very proud to have done my small part

So I was hanging out on Slashdot for quite a while during the discussion of Because only terrorists can use 802.11 because I felt it was an important opportunity to get the message out about working together to oppose the terrible course the U.S. has been taking since September 11.

But my wife was distressed because things are very difficult financially and I need to get a bunch of hard work done in order to get ourselves out of this jam.

The more upset she got that I should be working instead of raising people's consciousness on the Internet, the more upset I got that she was trying to prevent me from doing something that I felt was of signficantly more importance than spending the night hacking some code.

We had a long talk about this eventually. It cleared the air quite a bit.

My wife is a very apolitical person. She prefers not to read the news because it just gets her down. She doesn't feel that the individual has much power to make a real difference. And she is very frightened about how we are going to pay all these bills that are overdue.

I, on the other hand, read the news pretty obsessively and am very frightened about what's going to happen a year or two down the road if Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft & Company succeed in what they are up to.

I worry that saying stuff like this could get me imprisoned someday - or worse.

Many of you might feel that that's an absurd thing to say, but I say that it's only relatively recently in history that many people at all have been able to speak their minds without fear of reprisal, and many, many people even today live in places where speaking out can mean a sudden disappearance.

I feel the only thing that I can really do to prevent that from happening here is to continue to speak out.

After reading some of the comments posted in reaction to posting the essay at K5, I feel that it's even more important that I continue to speak out. A couple of people raised the point that the Left is rather lacking in people able to speak eloquently. Or even coherently.

I feel that my ability to reason with people through my writing is a gift that I should be using for the common good.

The main reason I am a Green and no longer a Democrat is that the Democratic Party has shown itself to be completely spineless as far as mounting a credible opposition.

If my writing is able to convince even one person to stop what they're doing, to speak out, and to take action, then I think it is very important that I write. I think writing "Is This the America I Love?" is one of the best things I have ever done. I feel I need to do more of it.

But then there's the problem of all those bills. I need to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. If I don't keep producing as a programmer, I won't have to worry about bootheels at our door coming to arrest me, but about the bank coming to repossess our home.

But I told my wife that if I had to give up doing the things that I felt were the most important to me just to ensure our survival, that there was just no point to even continuing, I might as well give up.

Our life has been a constant struggle the last several years. But if the only thing I could do was to struggle just to survive, and not to pursue the finer things, then it would break my spirit.

To give up my writing, and my activism, would be to lose the struggle. It would be worse than to be hungry or homeless. It would be to have no reason to live anymore.

There has to be something better than just struggling to get by. There has to be a reason for what I do beyond mere survival.

For me, that reason is to write.

But I wish it weren't so hard on poor Bonita. I really do. It breaks my heart to see her so frightened when I take a night or sometimes a few days off to write. No one pays me to write. Writing doesn't put any food on our table and it doesn't pay the mortgage - but I think it makes the struggle to get food on the table worthwhile.

Thank you for your attention.

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