Runs With Politics
“What do you think about this new law in Indiana?” The man in the white hat asked.
I was on mile 9 of the Charlottesville half-marathon. And although I had spent much of the previous week speaking about the RFRA law my home state had passed and even more time dealing with people boycotting the state (and an organization I’m a part of), I did not want to talk politics.
You know, I really don’t like to talk politics with strangers at any point in time, but most definitely not while I’m running up a hill during a half-marathon for which I only ran five training runs. Another runner near me wasn’t sure what the man was talking about and asked me to explain it to her.
I ran in silence.
The man in the white hat explained it to her and then offered his opinion.
“My silence isn’t disagreement,” I said, because I did agree with his opinion that the discriminatory nature of the law was horrible. That’s all the words I was willing to give to the discussion.
My silence was exhaustion from running and with the topic in general.
As folks from other states have criticized and spurned Indiana over the RFRA law, I’ve made a little side hobby of exploring stupid laws in their states. At the time, I distracted myself from tripping White Hate by wondering what laws White Hat’s state had in place.
After doing some research at dumblaws.com, here’s what I would’ve like to have asked him:
“Sir, could you kindly explain why it is illegal in Virginia to have sex with the lights on, bribe anyone unless you are a politician, why children aren’t allowed to trick-or-treat, or why no animals can be hunted on Sundays except raccoons (and only them until 2PM), and why it is illegal to tickle women?”
(note: I realize that these laws are silly and shouldn’t genuinely be compared to a law that discriminates against an entire group of people.)
My Opinion of the RFRA Stuff
People lost their minds. Lawmakers proved how out of touch they were with society and much of the response and backlash was less “look at me standing up against injustice” and instead more “look at me taking this opportunity to grandstand.” At least that is how I read it. After it all shook out though, the GLBT+ community gained official state-recognition as a group protected by non-discrimation laws.
In terms of GLBT+ rights it was one step back for a week and two steps forward.
In terms of Indiana’s image . . . ouch!
The run itself went better than expected. This was my first official half-marathon. I ran the NYC full in 2009 and a hand full of 13.1+ miles runs in training for it. Publicly, I didn’t have much of a goal for the half other than to finish. Secretly, I hoped to finish under a 10-minute mile and within like 45 minutes of my Facing Project, co-founder, J.R. Jamison (we spoke at Washington & Lee University on Thursday and Friday).
I ran a 8:45 pace for the first 11 miles and then hit a wall and hills the last two miles. My final time was 2:02:42 and my pace was 9:22. Considering my marathon time was 4:40 and I’m six years older, that’s pretty good. I finished within 4 minutes of J.R. which I’m declaring a victory! Overall, this was pretty speedy for me, but I can’t really pretend I did that awesome.
Several times near the end, I’d look at other runners and marvel at how slow they were going, how loud their footfalls landed, and how close to death they looked. Then I realized that these were the runners who were passing me and I must’ve looked worst than they did.
With running and justice, the journey isn’t always pretty, but one step in front of the other regardless of how loud or sluggish will always, eventually, get you across the finish line.