I love superhero movies. Sure, the acting isn't always so good, and the screenplay often sucks, and the CG-animation is generally far from believable, ha, but I love the unwavering sense of purpose and drive to focus that energy on something positive. I also love that the underlying message in most superhero movies is that you don't really need superpowers to be a superhero.
I FINALLY saw Wonder Woman this past weekend. (I know, right!?) But I didn't leave the theater with my usual high. I left heavy-hearted, thinking about Heather Heyer's death in Charlottesville during the counter-protest of the alt-right and white nationalist rally on Saturday. As if that isn't enough, it weighs heavy on me that her death was due in part to having a plutocratic bigot running the country right now, and in larger part to his glorification of sexism and racism during the "election," empowering an uprising of fascists marching in the streets, and now mowing down peaceful protestors with a car.
The gray lines in U.S. politics are fading. Most are already gone, replaced by a heavy-handed divide of good and evil. Many had chosen a side long before the election. Some have switched sides since, often for the better. But the outcome of this past election was especially troubling for many of us because we saw so clearly how many had chosen the wrong side and why. And too often they were our own friends and family. Finding out your sibling, parent, or grandparent, etc. is in league with General Zod is never easy. I know firsthand, having experienced that rude awakening myself.
Fortunately, superhero movies also teach that unity is often the most effective way to defeat evil. Not superpowers. Not even money. Post-election, I felt a sense of healing and renewed hope while participating in the Women's March in Las Vegas. That powerful, unified voice was heard around the world at a record-breaking volume. And I have and will continue to resist the Trump administration in every legal way possible. Real life superheroes like Heather Heyer who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way (what it’s become) and die in an effort to better humanity cannot die in vain by allowing her murderer to scare us away from future protests—such an important way to be heard. Heyer wasn’t the first, and she probably won’t be the last. But if we organize, unify, and make our voices heard in every way possible, there will be far fewer lives lost than if we sit idly by while Orange Ares seduces an army of Alabaster Orcs.
We need to be more mindful of our daily conversations and interactions with people to ensure that we are not complicit in our silence. Sprinkled into the fairly mundane dialogue in Wonder Woman were a few gems, including Diana’s reference to Cleo’s treatises in the boat scene. Ha. But my favorite was Steve’s line:
“My father told me once, he said, ‘If you see something wrong happening in the world, you can either do nothing, or you can do something.’ And I already tried nothing.”
Too many of us are now seeing the result of doing or saying nothing, whilst a great number did and continue doing and saying the wrong thing. I am Heather Heyer. Maybe you are too? Either way, she could have been your sister, your daughter, your best friend, or your spouse. Next time you’re in a position where you have the opportunity to speak out against racism, sexism, and hatred in general, think of the Heather Heyer in your life and ask yourself if the domino effect of saying or doing nothing in that moment is worth the loss of their civil liberties and/or life...because that is where we are now.
Ignorance is no longer bliss.