What we can learn from Canada and Vash the Stampede

This is how you make your country great:

For that matter, replace “country” with any word that represents a community. Because the way you make any kind of community better is with love, not hate.

Fighting hate with hate only creates more hate. The way you fight hate is with love and acceptance. With understanding and empathy. You can’t fight hate with bigotry, isolationism, divisiveness, that only fosters more hate, more bigotry, isolationism. More divisiveness.

Looking at pictures of Justin Trudeau welcoming refugees from Syria and his “Welcome to Canada” response the other day to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and watching him tear up when speaking with a Syrian refugee’s experience entering Canada just makes me think about how that’s what we should be doing. This is what freedom looks like.

Because it’s not about keeping all the good stuff to ourselves and a few of our friends, it’s about welcoming strangers in and letting them share in that good stuff, too. Justin Trudeau gets that. Barack Obama gets that. This country used to get that, too. That’s one of the fundamental principles it was founded upon.

I recently rewatched Trigun with my partner and here’s why Trigun is a topical anime series for what’s going on right now that if you’re unfamiliar with it, you should watch it, like, today. You can find the entire series on YouTube (English dubbed) on Funimation’s channel, but it’s worth owning.

Trigun takes place in a dystopian future that resembles the wild west. Civilization has fallen apart, and people are struggling for survival in a harsh, desert landscape with little access to water or resources and there’s no real law or government. The story centers around a gunslinger, Vash the Stampede, who refuses to take anyone’s life, at great personal risk. He frequently sacrifices himself, both physically but also emotionally, at times publicly humiliating himself if it means saving the lives of others.

Throughout the series, he’s constantly told “I don’t understand you, why do you do these things?” His mantra seems contradictory for a legendary gunman: “love and peace.” He uses his skills as a gunslinger to change the trajectory of bullets, to knock a rival gunman’s weapon just off course, he uses his incredible speed to usher people out of harm’s way. He does this because he believes that no one should have to suffer, even those who cause harm and terrorize others. His love is indiscriminate.

There’s so much television that is about hate and fear. But what is television but an escape, a way to give your brain a break from what’s happening in the real world? Why escape the hate and fear outside your door with more hate and fear? Why not fill your head with the fanciful notion that everyone is an inherently good person if you let them?

I struggle with the idea of “love and peace.” I sometimes think that, at a certain point, you need to fight back, right? There are a lot of things I have yet to learn from Vash, but being more Vash-like is definitely something I aspire to. It’s important, now more than ever, to remember Vash when we are being faced with adversity and fear and terror and hate. When we are being told to fear these people over here because they are too dangerous to enter our country, it’s important to remember that we are those people. Our histories are not separate, they are the same. We are each and every one of them. We are the ones causing terror and the ones being terrorized. The sooner we open our doors and welcome everyone in, regardless of whatever, the sooner we can show others that there is something better and worth more than fighting.

Love and peace.

Plague Music joins thousands of other sites in protesting SOPA/PIPA

In case you missed it, Plague Music — in good company with Wikipedia, BoingBoing, Reddit and thousands more — was blacked out yesterday to protest SOPA/PIPA. Ironically, this ended up being our highest traffic day, due largely to being listed on the SOPA Strike page (which was reposted on numerous blogs and forums). However, just because we had a good run yesterday, doesn’t mean the battle is over. This issue is likely to come up again and again in the coming years as content producers attempt to control our rights to publish our own content how- and wherever we want. Plague will always oppose any law that infringes on your right of free speech and we are terrified by the fact that these lawmakers don’t even realize that they are infringing upon our right to free speech.

There were many posts throughout the web about the sites that blacked-out for the January 18th SOPA strike, however, we were particularly tickled to see our blackout page included in this post in the Ohio State University Lantern. Thanks, guys! Go Buckeyes!

"The Republican chairman, Michael Steele, promised on taking office that he would bring the party to…"

“The Republican chairman, Michael Steele, promised on taking office that he would bring the party to corners of America it had not reached before. It is a fair bet that most Republicans did not expect these corners to include the Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage and S&M club in Los Angeles.”

Republican red faces over party’s $2,000 LA bondage club bill | World news | The Guardian