The other day, on Twitter, I was accused of trolling an individual – who I’m not going to name here.
Now, I will admit to taking the piss out of people from time to time; mainly just my friends. But this was not the case in this short conversation.
This short conversation began when a tweet showed up in my stream that railed against the wearing of safety pins as “performance allyship” [sic].
(For those that don’t know by now: the wearing of a safety pin has emerged, in the wake of he election, as a sign to other citizens – particularly those at risk – that the wearer of said pin is a safe person; someone who will listen, who will shield, who will help stand up against those who seek to oppress anyone based on their skin tone, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. )
Now, I disagree with the person who called it performance allyship [sic].
I think some people might wear the pin in an act of what Michael Shermer calls “Virtue Signaling”. That is, just trying to put on a show.
But that happens with any outward display, of any sort. There will always be people who are willing to profess, quite loudly, that they believe something they are content to never act on. This is just the nature of our species: about 10% of us, at any given time, are shyster cocksuckers.
If you are thinking 10% is awfully small, you’re right. It is. Humanity, on the whole, just isn’t that bad.
Is it possible that there will be some who wear the pin but don’t have the courage to stand by it? It’s damn near certain. But for every one of them, there is at least one who is willing to put their time, their resources, their very flesh on the line to help a fellow American – a fellow human being.
That’s just a conservative probability. It’s likely that the percentage is much higher than 50%.
However, I suspect that the individual with whom I disagreed was not railing against the safety pin movement based on probabilistic concerns. Given the camber of the tweets, it’s seems more like the author was trying to suggest that the act of wearing a safety pin was not nearly radical enough.
I can understand that sentiment. I, personally, would wear a shield to demonstrate that I’m perfectly happy to physically intercede on a fellow human being’s behalf – should the need arise.
But that’s a personal decision, and not one that can be made for a mass movement.
I think the safety pin wearing is fine. I think it’s a good thing. And I think, as I attempted to argue, that it is a place to start.
Much of America is moderate in its beliefs. There is manifold evidence for this. The safety pin statement embraces this ethos. And, like I said previously, it is a place to start.
For some the safety pin is an entrance to a process of engagement that they may otherwise not have known how to enter in to.
For some, the safety pin will be a declaration of principles they already hold.
And, unfortunately, for some it will not be enough.
Let me say this: it isn’t enough. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be useful.
Most processes don’t begin and end with a single step. And that is what the wearing of a safety pin can and should be: a step.
For some it will be a first step. Let us not, in our vehemence for change, cause it to also be their last step.
The safety pin is a beginning.
Don’t let it be an ending.