One Cool Trick That's Even Better Than Voting
Plus some blogs you should ABSOLUTELY READ.
Because I have a mind that seems to fully refresh about once a year, it never ceases to get old to me that election season and Halloween season coincide. It’s not just that tired trope about the truly spooooky reality of what we stand to gain and lose at the hands of the cursed American electoral system, it’s also just a bizarre clash of moods. On one hand, we’ve got the ostensibly serious, consequential, and burdensome vibe. On the other, we’ve got the fantastical, escapist, and frivolous vibe. Both are subject to total devotion or annoyance or indifference…or all three at once.
With Halloween now behind us, Election Day has floated in as our new official specter, and if you read this blog you probably have a few races you’re feeling haunted about, even if your loyalty to voting has justifiably lapsed. My own anxieties are plentiful and vacillate wildly from day to day in their severity, but as my paranoia circles the drain, I keep coming back to a blog I read a few weeks ago by Darrell Owens of The Discourse Lounge (great blog name, if we do say so ourselves). The blog is called “I'm Not Going To Wait Anymore.” and it’s not actually about elections, not specifically anyway. It’s about traffic safety issues and this country’s demented, toxic, and systemic allegiance to car culture, but well, it applies to so much of what’s broken here:
“It’s time for people to start forming organizations to protect cyclists, transit riders, pedestrians, and yes — drivers — from car-centrism. I’m not going to spend years writing to city council that I need a crosswalk where I live — I’m just going to paint it now. I’m not going to wait years on hundreds of thousands of dollars for impact studies blocking traffic out of neighborhood streets. We need to just erect the barriers and bike lanes ourselves. Erect the bus benches ourselves. Shrink the streets ourselves. There’s a long history of neighbors taking matters into their own hands. We need to bring tactical urbanism back.”
I moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles a few years ago, which is to say I’ve experienced what might be among the most severe forms of self-inflicted transit whiplash one could ever experience. Our transportation hell in its many forms is something I think about nearly every day. I hope when the rapture ever comes, it’s for all the bad people—and for cars. Ban cars!! (Also, eternal shoutout to Aaron Gordon, whose reporting on all things transportation and infrastructure never misses.)
Despite being relatively passionate about transit reform, educated on transit reform, and clued into transit form initiatives, the task of changing this rotten system can feel insurmountable. And it’s not just these issues—writing a letter, leaving a voicemail, voting, and even protesting and marching over anything at all can feel laughably facile against the blunt forces of “government” and “the way it is.” Owens’ blog felt like a form of refuge when I read it and now it’s almost a quiet mantra: I’m not going to wait anymore. It’s an intent, a guiding principle, and a hope. It’s a rallying cry. It’s something I plan to keep in mind when Tuesday comes.
Go read more of Owens’ great writing and follow his work, and while we’re here, we wanted to praise a few other blogs we read and loved lately. People are routinely writing really good shit out there, and it rules, so we thought we’d make a habit of saying so. Here are just a few recommendations from our staff. Like and subscribe and follow these fine folks if you know what’s good for you:
Jack recommends a pair of media blogs:
Katherine recommends: “The Tree Paine Fan’s Guide to 'Amsterdam'” by Hunter Harris of Hung Up and adds, “I love read Hunter Harris' culture and celeb commentary, so I strongly recommend her post from last month about Amsterdam, the mystifying new movie by David O. Russell, which stars Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, John David Washington, and a car that kills Taylor Swift. Her post was so good I feel like I don't have to see the movie now! (Or, at the very least, will ABSOLUTELY wait til it's on streaming or an in-flight entertainment option.)”
I also recommend: “A Mike Davis Reader” by Max Read of Read Max for this line alone: “Combine revolutionary politics and igneous petrology and you’ll be happy for the rest of your life.” What else is there!
And please drop any blogs you’ve liked recently in the comments! Every week is a good week to divest from hate-reading.