The following is a post by Jack Davis.
What should I do?
Let me begin by stating that I have no right to tell any member of the 107IST what to do. While I am a member, I haven’t really volunteered and I don’t stand in the TA/RCR section. I have met a few of you through various means and interacted with more via Twitter.
Nor am I a member of a group targeted by right-wing nutjobs. I am as WASPy as they come – a straight, white male. I have blue eyes and blond hair for goodness sake. I know I am not a direct subject to the fear and trauma that permeates the discussion around fascism, antifa, etc. At best, I am a tangential member of the TA/RCR community; at worst, a privileged bystander.
So I realize that I have no credibility to guide or advise anyone here. Stipulated. You are free to ignore my thoughts on the key question of the day:
What should I do?
Like many, I am struggling with the options. None of them are really good or satisfying. Boycott? Don’t spend money in Providence Park? Protest sponsors? Give up the Timbers and/or the Thorns? Take up a new hobby? Raise money for select charities?
Realistically, none will be that effective in moving the vast machinery of MLS owners. I keep mulling over the pros and cons of giving up something I love for the cause and wondering would it really change things?
Well, FUCK THAT.
I may be on the fringes of the TA/RCR, but, dammit, I love what this group stands for and creates. And I am not alone. There are thousands of people like me that participate in the PTFC chants, that wave their scarves during OUR national anthem, but for whatever reason don’t stand in the North End. As the tifo said regarding Providence Park, “This place is magical.” And we ALL feel it, no matter where we stand.
I remember several years ago when I told my daughter the story of the Sunshine Goal and Timber Jim, and why “You are My Sunshine” is sung at the 80th minute. She doesn’t even like soccer, but it touched her deeply. She immediately felt the love and support that this community generates. She loves the artistry of the tifos and two-sticks, and she sees a place where all are welcome. My other daughter (the one who plays soccer) sees the Thorns demonstrate daily that women can dominate, be strong, and be celebrated by crowds that most MLS teams would envy. They see every week in the stands and on the TV a raucous, fun, welcoming, politically astute, giving community.
That is what is at stake here: Community.
I know from meeting some of you and interactions on Twitter that for so, so many the TA/RCR is home. It is a place of welcoming, safety, and friendship. It’s a home that so many want and need, and may not even recognize it. But more, it’s a role model for the world, and it shows that practicing diversity, humor, decency, and radical inclusion is the best defense against fascism.
So, what should I do?
I’ll tell you what I want to do: I want to reclaim our heritage. “They” don’t get to define us. I want to reclaim the narrative and put MORE LOVE out into the world. More humor. More wit. More singing, rainbow flag-waving, more support, and more sunshine.
That’s not to say that we stop fighting, protesting, or arguing for what we believe. The stakes are too high. But while doing so in each of our own way, remember to put positive energy into the universe. Defend this place! Because people need it — and others need to know it’s out there.
I need it. My daughters need it, and those we oppose need to see it.
Be a beacon. Be a symbol. Get stuck in.
I intend to do more. Let me know how I can help.