‘Show up. Dive in.’ Obama’s farewell speech last night contained some key advice for brokesters

'Show up. Dive in.' Obama's farewell speech last night contained some key advice for brokesters
Show the f up, America. Via screenshot.

Barring any sort of Crisis on Infinite Earths scenario that removes our world from the Darkest Timeline and returns things to their proper order, Trump becomes president in a little more than a week. The stark contrast between the outgoing and incoming administrations was in full HD display last night, as President Obama delivered his farewell speech full of calls for hope and the commonality of our purpose, while his successor had spasms of Twitter rage denying allegations that he and some Russian prostitutes created their own version of Wikileaks in a hotel room.

It can be hard to find any hope that things will get better in the near future, but for now we’ll point you to this section from Obama’s speech last night that we think can serve as a guiding light to any brokester who just wants to make something in the world or anyone trying to make a difference, or maybe just is trying to hold on to their little piece of New York City with all they’ve got:

Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed. Mine sure has been.

The call to “show up” means to show up for literally anything you care about and not assume others will do it: change is made by the people who get involved, art is made by the people who sit down and do it. Rich people get the luxury of donating to causes without ever having to really get involved. Those of us who are struggling to survive month to month have to be down in the muck of the trenches, doing it from the ground up.

I’ve said this so many times before it will probably be inscribed on my Brokelyn tombstone, but New York City is the place where everyone at least gets a chance to try. You can, by the simple act of calling around enough, find a bar that will let you play music, find an open mic to test out your comedy, and you can certainly find any number of venues, backers and compatriots to start your own nonprofit or fundraising event. You can throw an event up on Facebook and have it turn into a massive rally on the National Mall in Washington DC. After you get your chance, it’s up to you to make your case, but New York City is at least willing to listen.

It is easy to sit at home and tweet your rage at others who share the same rage, or post Facebook statuses hoping to reach the two high school friends you still have who voted for Trump who also share anti-vaxxer means. But “diving in” means getting on the ground and doing something. You can, for instance, attend one of these protests or fundraisers in NYC, get a job helping resist the Trump regime or find one of these eight local organizations you can volunteer with to help push back against Trump’s agenda. Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys implored people in MCA Park back in November to start creating, saying:

“If you’re a musician, write that anthem. If you’re a writer, write. Take what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy and lend your services to the causes you care most about because we can’t and we won’t and we don’t stop.”

You can apply this advice to activism and both art (and maybe they’re the same thing), but sitting by is not working for any of us any more. Vote, and vote local, every chance you get.

If you watched or listened to this morning’s Trump press conference without throwing yourself in front of an MTA bus, you noticed it was full of braggadocio, lies, hubris, and the overall feeling that he’s going to do whatever he wants simply because he won (with the help of Russia and the FBI) and once got big ratings on his reality teevee show. Time to show up to show him that he can’t.

Watch/read the full speech here.

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