When I was in high school, every school day ended with me sitting in the kitchen with my mom. She would cook dinner while I told her about the latest injustice that had occurred at school that day. It was my rant of the day. Invariably, some comment was made in class or some poster was hung in a hallway that offended my highly tuned sense of right and wrong or violated the constitutional rights of students in some way. Some days it was something as small as friends planning a party in front of a less popular girl without inviting her to attend. Some days, it was the first gulf war or the state Senate once again threatening to pass a parental consent law for teenagers seeking abortions. And some days it was the high school principal censoring articles in the high school newspaper. My mother faithfully listened and agreed with me, having long been a bit of an agitator herself. She agreed with me on everything: abortion rights, the death penalty, the presumption of innocence, a rigorous separation of church and state, taxes, the environment, and pretty much every other issue you can think of. To this day, she and I rarely, if ever, disagree.
Ranting to her every day after school allowed me to vent my frustrations about whatever had outraged me. I knew I would always have a receptive audience who would vindicate my sense of outrage. On the downside, though, you're not really doing much to change the world by speaking only to the like-minded. (I did go with 5 friends and testify before a state Senate committee about that parental consent proposal. We've always taken some credit for the fact that the proposal never made it out of committee and was tabled for 2 years. So I wasn't all talk...)
Over the years, my rants have continued, though with (slightly) less frequency and with a changing audience. My mom still hears many of my rants, but she doesn't get the daily dose. Instead, my friends and co-workers get to hear some of them. But since I'm a bleeding-heart liberal public defender whose closest friends are also bleeding-heart liberal public defenders, I'm still not doing much to change hearts and minds. More often than not, my rants are met with a reminder that I am preaching to the choir. As a committed public defender working on capital cases, I'm still not all talk. I do fight against many of the things that outrage me, but it never feels like enough.
So now I've thought that I should take my rants to the internet. My like-minded friends, family, and co-workers might get a break from my rabit rantings. If only they all knew how many I hold inside! And maybe, just maybe, someone who doesn't already agree with me will stumble upon one of my rants and think about things a little bit differently. At least, I can hope so.