Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why I'm not performing at any of the Presidential Inauguration festivities

Donald Trump will be officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States tomorrow. Leading up to the ceremony and all the galas celebrating the event has been talk of all the performers who will not be participating.

I'm one of them and I'd like to use this forum to explain why.

First of all, I need to be very clear about this: I wasn't asked. Not only was I not asked, I'm sure I wasn't even considered. I'm positive of that. That's because there's no good reason that I would be. Ever. I'm not exactly a "name" and as such, I'm not showing up on any kind of radar that would make anybody consider saying "let's get this guy" for a high profile event like a Presidential Inauguration or even anything bigger than a medium-sized wedding reception. At this point in my comedy career, I am getting paid to perform but I'm also subject to being bumped by a kid ventriloquist at any given gig. That's where I am in the grand scheme of things.
"Okay Clark, you can still do 10 minutes but you'll be following Jimmy and His Pal Scratchmo."
So yeah, that's a big part of it. The biggest part of it, if I'm being honest, which I am. There was no invitation nor even a slight chance that there would ever be an invitation.

Even if I had been invited, (and barring a late phone call today, it looks fairly certain that I won't be) I would have said no thanks. That's because I simply don't think Trump is qualified in any way whatsoever to serve as the President of the United States and in no way do I want to offer anything remotely resembling validation of him assuming that role. There are dozens of examples of his erratic, ego-driven behavior, complete lack of self-control and utter resistance to being held accountable for any of it. Any one of those should give a reasonable person pause and I don't need to detail them again here. Safe to say I'm appalled at all of it and I'm horrified that he's going to be in a position to do real harm to people, not only in terms of their access to hard-earned Constitutional rights but his total lack of sound judgment in all areas.

Not me, of course. I'm a white, heterosexual male. In all likelihood, I'll be fine, as always.
Unless, you know...
I like to think beyond my own personal preferences and desires when it comes to big things that affect other people, though. And not because I believe that I'm some superior person who is qualified to look down and judge others due to the stellar job I'm doing as a human being. Far from it. I frequently wear underwear that is in such bad shape that it takes effort to determine what holes the legs go through but I don't throw them away because the waistband is intact. 

I am a severely flawed individual. 

However, I look at history and times when people fought oppression and injustice, applied those instances to me and my life and how I think I would have responded and I've always found myself on the right side of these disagreements. Every time. So I think I have pretty good discretion when it comes to knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Granted, in most of these incidents, with the benefit of hindsight, it's hard to understand why there were ever "sides" in the first place. 
It remains to be seen how this all plays out, but based on my grasp of historical context, my understanding of current events and, most importantly, my conscience, I feel good about the choices I'm making around all of this.

People have accused me of hoping Trump will fail, a foolish proposition because his failure affects us all. Well, I don't necessarily want him to fail because that is true. Anything he fucks up is going to be fucked up for everybody. It's just that he's shown me nothing to indicate that he is capable of succeeding in terms of acting in the best interest of a common good. He can't even make it through a week without getting his feelings hurt by skits on Saturday Night Live. Jesus Christ!
Also, if my ability to hope for things had any actual power behind it, I wouldn't give a shit who the President is.
Most of the people who accuse me of that also say I'm too politically correct and therefor, what is wrong with America, just because I don't sprinkle my vocabulary with words like 'retard', 'faggot', 'cunt' and 'nigger' and my belief that while life will never be completely fair for everybody, if the resources are available to help people, they should be used for that. I'm pretty okay with standing in opposition to those people.

I came across this on Facebook the other day:
"It is a mistake for Democrats to boycott Trump's inauguration. When MLK fought segregation he went TO the places that didn't want him. If you are feeling disenfranchised disassociating yourself will only strengthen the disenfranchisement. If you choose to look at Trump as the enemy it is wiser to share champagne than spit it back at him."
Okay. That's an opinion and the individual who posted is certainly entitled to it. I'd just like to point out one tiny but significant difference; when MLK and other civil rights activists visited difficult areas, it wasn't to help celebrate their accomplishments. And he sure as shit didn't drink champagne with oppressive people.
"I know guys, but trust me, the meatloaf here is terrific!"
The point is, doing the right thing not only isn't always easy, I'm not sure it ever really is. But I'm not here to tell anybody what to do or how to think or even to try to exert influence over their opinions. All I'm saying is my eyes are open, my conscience is clear and I believe the decisions I make are sound.

Anyway, that is the reason I will not be among the people performing at any of the Presidential Inauguration festivities tomorrow and this weekend.
Well, I mean, mostly because I wasn't invited and there wasn't a prayer on earth or in heaven that I would be. That's, like 99%, of it, but the other stuff too. 

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