I usually look forward to Fridays here on ye old blog. Well let’s not kid ourselves. I look forward to Fridays in general and I know I’m not alone in that. Fridays are meant to be wind down days. If you can work from home you probably do (I, sadly, do not have that luxury). Certainly you work with less vim and vigor than you probably do the rest of the week.
I have been looking forward to Fridays here on the blog lately though, because that’s when Write on Edge posts the link-up for the Red Writing Hood prompts that I’ve been participating in lately. It is not my intention to be bragging (so if it sounds that way, I’m sorry) when I say that I usually bust those short fiction pieces out in the course of an hour or so. The hard part with those prompts isn’t writing the pieces, it’s deciding what I’m going to write about. Sometimes the prompts seem so vague and indecipherable. I usually figure out something eventually though. Most of the time I just have to kick my literal thinking mind out of the way and let it be a little more – well, vague.
This week though, that just didn’t work out. This week’s prompt goes something like this:
This week we’d like you to stir up some conflict, using the following quote as inspiration.
“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
Well… Not “something like” that. That’s a cut and paste, so it goes exactly like that. Only the problem is I’m not sure if I truly understand the quote, and what I think I understand of it, I do not agree with.
Honestly, the quote seems to be self-contradictory.
I do not believe in violence, period. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I do not believe in violence.
I also do not really see a connection between “be violent, if there is violence in your heart” and a “cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.” How these two things even relate to each other, I do not know.
When I read the quote though, the first thing that comes to mind is some of the recent political protest activity that has happened around this here country of ours. Thinking specifically of the “occupy” protests or, going back a little further, the Oscar Grant riots that happened here in Oakland a while back. Things that were supposed to be “peaceful” but turn violent without much provocation. Things that I heard lots of people argue in favor of, under the guise that “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.” Sounds like a “cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence” to me.
Only we aren’t impotent. We can do something. There are steps we can take that don’t involve breaking laws and destroying public or private property. There are ways we can get our point across without belligerently disobeying the police.
Angry does not have to mean violent. It does not have to mean disruptive. It does not have to be destructive.
Impotence is laziness.
Impotence is an excuse.
If anything we tend to use violence, not nonviolence, as the cover for impotence.