Friday, December 23, 2016

A Marathon in 49 States - Boycotting North Carolina

Before I ran my 52 Marathons in 52 Weekends, I had thought of running a marathon in every state.  Not in one year. Just over my life. I had always wanted to see as much of the world as possible and I thought this would be the best way to do so. I also felt it might be novel and new. But when I researched it further, I saw dozens, if not hundreds, of people had already completed the task. As such, "just" finishing a marathon in each state lost its luster.  In fact, "just" finishing any marathon has lost some of its luster. I long ago became completely unenamored with simply completing a marathon. (Of course, ask me at mile 24 of any marathon and "just" finishing is usually all I want to do!)  My point is, I want to do more than cover the distance and collect my shiny bauble.  I want to race as fast as possible and give it my all.

With the resident of L'Arche Mobile.
As time has gone on, I have cultivated a following and my words reach more than the average running Joe. I realized this when I garnered a few detractors. Ones who created web-pages about me, tried to derail my speaking career, and were all-around crapweasals.  However, as they say, you don't get haters if you aren't important enough to be hated. With that knowledge, I knew I could do good with my feet. Not just raising money and "awareness" (a word which has begun to lost all meaning) or by being an "ambassador" for a product (see my thoughts on that here) but rather by doing more.  By speaking to children about obesity. By reaching out to homeless and the downtrodden.  By trying to bring people together by standing up for rights and common decency and morals and ethics.

Doing so has cost me money, sponsorship, and other lucrative partnerships. My staunch disgust for Donnie Trump and all those who support him has cost me "fans" as well. I'm fine with that. But much of what those of us who rant about this orange sack of rancid pus and those like him do is just rhetoric. Our actions matter most.

Currently, while Trump's puerile yet dangerous ridiculousness is eating up our bandwidth, there are other transgressions going on in states around the nation. Texas is trying to require abortion clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains. Ohio is trying to band abortion after 6 weeks. But right now, it is North Carolina which is doing everything it can to be the most repugnant state out there. From it's governor first failing to concede a vote he lost by over 10,000 votes, to illegal racial gerrymandering, to the transgender bathroom bill, to...Christ, I can't even list them all.  Basically, the Tar Hell State has given up on democracy.

The last race I ran in NC. A 100 miler.
Well, fine. North Carolina - I give up on you.  I have run a marathon in 49 states. While it has never been the most pressing of my goals, I would very much like to complete one in all 50. The only state I am missing? You guessed it! All together now: North Carolina. But until North Carolina gets its act together, my self (and my money) will not race in the state. No race fees, no hotels, no food, no gas, no rental cars, nothing. I know many good people in the state and this will affect them. I am sorry for that. But those people need to get rid of their elected officials. And convince those who care about them to get rid of those elected official. And convince those who don't care about them, but do care about money, to get rid of those elected officials.

Runners are some of the most affluent subsets of the population out there. Our dollars speak. Make them speak loudly. Join me in boycotting the state until they return it to the hands of the people. All the people. Not just the white people. Not just the rich people. Not just the straight people.

All.

The.

People.

Until that happens, I will sit at 49 states with a marathon run and never venture further. It might be something small but avalanches are started by the accumulation of small snowflakes.

10 comments:

RickyDale Benson said...

Dane... I think you are a wonderfully talented and amazing person... and it is most certainly your right to choose not to run in North Carolina; but please stick to running and don't get involved in political and/or religious debates (unless you are maybe thinking of getting into politics?). I would hate to see you lose fans by doing so.

I became a fan of you and your accomplishments back when you started Fiddy2. I've met you in person and thoroughly enjoyed your taking the time to talk with me one-on-one. I consider it one of my few 'brushes with fame.' But since you started this, I have to at least give my view on these matters. First, abortion is, has, and always will be MURDER. It has absolutely nothing to do with a woman's right to do with her body as she sees fit. Obviously, there are rare extenuating circumstances where the mother's life may be in jeopardy and one must make a very difficult decision. I would not ever wish that upon anyone nor ever hope to find myself in such a situation. My heart goes out to them. And the guilt that is placed upon any woman who has CHOSEN to have an abortion is something NO man could ever understand. Second, any clinic who performs abortions for any reason other than medical necessity should NOT get ANY state or federal funding... especially federal funding! Lastly, until someone tried to make a law about it... there was no real 'bathroom issue.' Seriously, if a man looked so much like a woman that he felt comfortable enough to go into a woman's bathroom... I'm sure no one would be the wiser. And vice-versa. If you are a dude and you look like a dude, you should use the men's room. Again... vice-versa. So why make it a big deal now? Why boycott ANY state for something that up to this time was (for a lack of a better word) trivial? (Okay... maybe not so trivial for those with gender identity issues.) I would never want to take away anyone's freedoms, but no matter how you slice it... it's in genetics. Boys are boys, and girls are girls... it's in their genes... not their heads. Again... you have some RARE extenuating circumstances.

So' though I really don't want to get into any debate, you have successfully got me intrigued enough to state my views. I love ya... and remain a fan. I love the way you recap your races. But if this blog is going to become something a lot more instigating, I will have to exercise my right to unsubscribe. Oh... and I'm sure there will be plenty of 'haters' out there to rip me a new one. Seriously, the most hateful people out there are the ones who claim to be the most tolerant.

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or Holiday Season (whatever you celebrate)!

Dane said...

Ricky Dale,

By all means, unsubscribe. As for "stick to running" you can't be too much of a fan if you think this is the first time I have stepped out of talking about just running. I'm happy to lose fans who are close-minded, adhere to facts which aren't facts, or feel they have any right to tel me what I can write about.

Your bullshit argument that so many right wingers like to use of "the most hateful are the ones who claim to be he most tolerant" is so tired and illogical that it barely needs replying to. However, as you think it was so big aha moment, let me clarify: I am never tolerant of intolerance. I am always disgusted by those who hate for no reason. And stating all of your views, then saying you don't want to get into a debate is the coward's way of expressing an opinion. And that is all you have done. Expressed an opinion. There certainly weren't any facts said.

I celebrate the good will of mankind. Maybe you should look into it.

RickyDale Benson said...

Dane, your reply perfectly proves my point. You call me 'close-minded', that I use a 'bullshit argument', that I am a 'hater', that I'm a 'right-winger' like it's something bad, that I'm a 'coward'. I didn't use any hate speech in my reply. Why have a blog where you state provocative views if you are just going to try and belittle anyone who doesn't agree with you? So happy you celebrate the good will of mankind. Would hate to see what you would say if you didn't.

Dane said...

When you use quotation marks, that is meant to imply you are quoting me. I didn't call you a hater. Nor did I say you were right winged. And classify a particular action as cowardly would only fall under the purview of hate speech in the most milquetoast of circumstances.
Haven't the foggiest idea what point I supposedly proved with my response but I guess I could just say I don't want to get into a debate with you and wish you the most passive aggressive of responses: best of luck in your future endeavors.

RickyDale Benson said...

Thanks, Dane! Right back at 'cha.

Lynette Watts said...

So glad I happened to stumble on your post on the marathon maniacs FB page. Love reading the comments. You are right, our collective dollars matter. We have the power to affect change.

Spence Peacock said...

I was never sure what to make of you. Maybe the "let's run" crowd was whispering in my ear too much. I have tons of respect for you after this post. Hope to see you race in Dallas some other time.

mizmazz said...

Thanks for the post Dane and the perspective. I'll be following you.

I also just wanted to say that scientists are still debating the moment the fetus "becomes alive". So, if there's something you know RickyDale - more than what the current global scientific community knows - that shows concrete evidence that supports your claim that abortion is murder, then you should really tell somebody and end the debate once and for all. Get thee to a convention and make your mark. The world is waiting!!

Secondly, a law that says that people born a certain gender must use the bathroom designated for that gender - even if they no longer present as that gender - is absolutely cruel and ridiculous. It forces people who have gone through enough of a change to either break the law (by going into the "wrong" bathroom so as not to be conspicuous) or if they follow the law, walk into the "right" bathroom and likely suffer the social/emotional (ostracization, ill treatment, verbal abuse) and/or physical (assault) consequences. That is an awful and, by definition, hateful thing to subject a person to. As such, it should not be a law on the books.

I cannot for the life of me understand how people can feel/express/demonstrate so very little compassion.

Rah Fors said...

I'm so glad you stood your ground and replied to that ignorant statement. Time and time again I see it, "stick to (insert profession) stay out of politics ". Do people forget that these issues affect all humans? Never heard of you before reading this, but I will be following now. ✌

Patrick StThomas said...

I am just seeing this as Dane just retweeted the original post. Dane has made a choice that his integrity is more important than any personal or superficial gain that will come from being quiet. This is where I am confused: You tell Dane to stay out of politics as you are concerned he might lose fans... asking that of him as a contingency of fandom is selfish, misguided, and a marginalization of him as a person. He never asked for fans. He never forced you to follow him. He could have said "you're just a fan keep your thoughts to yourself". You don't get to reduce a person to one thing to make it comfortable for yourself. He's not just a runner,singer,actor, celebrity etc. he is an American citizen who pays taxes and as such, has a right to speak his truth with the understanding of the costs and risks that may go along with it. He has fallen into a platform where his voice can be heard and Nobody gets to dictate how he uses it. Nobody has a right to ask anyone to be anything less than who they are.