Maybe poignancy is not what most people expect to come from a rationalist but Seth Andrews from The Thinking Atheist pretty much nailed it for me.

Peace Love and Cold Harsh Reality

The impetus for me starting this blog was primarily to document my experiences with some projects I’m working on.  A little over a year ago I learned about the maker community and open source hardware and I’ve been a little obsessed since then.  I’ll get to my 3D printer project soon enough, but first a word from our sponsor.

Reality.

See, last week I attended The Reason Rally in Washington DC and I can’t write about hardware yet because I’m still dealing with after effects of that event.  I almost didn’t go.  My primary accomplice was backing out.  There were no arrangements for the dog.  But then on my neighborhood email list, a message from a neighbor who I had never met and only new from the list popped up.

“I was planning a trip to DC this weekend, but the chartered bus seems to have fallen through.  Is anyone else going up and, if so, interested in carpooling?  -Mark”

Only one other person responded to suggest an alternative to him, but I responded off-list. ” Mark, are you wanting to be on the mall by 10am perchance?”

And that set things in motion.  Mark told me about the DC Rally Bus.  I checked their site and saw that the Durham bus was going to be cancelled unless 2 more people reserved seats.  The Raleigh bus was in the same situation.   I checked with my accomplice and booked two seats on the bus.  5 minutes later we all got the email notification that the bus was confirmed.

At 3:20am we drove up to Mark, still essentially a stranger, as he stood on the wet asphalt in the dark on our way out of the neighborhood.  The 3 of us (is that all we can muster?) drove to the designated meeting point in the mall parking lot which was a cluster of cars and 14 people standing around waiting for the bus.  Mall security directed us to another parking lot.  We relocated and after a shaky start, we were off to DC.

Of course I didn’t sleep well and got off the bus at Union Station a little dazed.  The 50 or so riders scattered into the city in the general direction of the National Mall.

I had heard the Westboro Baptist Church was going to be there and I planned to pay them a visit.  But once we filtered into the middle of the crowd, I just stayed there and enjoyed being surrounded by thousands of other like-minded people for the first time and enjoying what was happening on the stage.

The organizers arranged a great line-up. There were nice atheists like Hemant Mehta and there were “mean” atheists like Richard Dawkins and David Silverman.

We got to enjoy the humor of some comedians like Jamie Killstein and Eddie Izzard.

And there were some musicians.  Some I hadn’t heard of before.  But Tim Minchin was there  and was one of the main reasons I went.  I enjoyed watching the guy standing next to me hear Tim’s  “The Pope Song” for the first time.

There were several bloggers and activists.  My favorites were PZ Myers and Greta Christina and David Silverman.

Richard Dawkins was, of course, the headliner.

But the most potent group for me consisted of 3 speakers who are or have been on the front lines dealing with the influence of religion on a  personal level.

Jessica Ahlquist who has had to have a police escort to attend class because she fought for her constitutional rights.

Nate Phelps who managed to extricate himself from the insanity that is the Westboro Baptist Church.

Taslima Nasrin who’s citizenship in the country of her birth has been revoked, has had numerous death threats and calls for her execution each in a more barbaric manner than the other.

I expected to come away from the rally energized and enraged.  I did come away energized and enraged.  But also left with feelings of pride, togetherness, compassion.  I now have a better feel for the community of which I can be a member online.  I know that there are a lot more than the 16 people that met the bus at 3:30am.

Since the rally, I’m a little less likely to give someone a free pass with my silence when I hear the products of their religious indoctrination escape their lips.

…and I should have realistically low expectations that I will give a blog any attention for any length of time.  But that never stops me from starting any other project.

I barely use my time well enough to give all the various projects I have, that are at various stages of completion, the attention they deserve, let alone write about them.  Maybe someone else can make some sense of the debris left in my wake.

Así empieza otro experimento de un neofílico.

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