you could say i checked out in the spring. and i say, “checked out,” inasmuch as i still read the sunday paper every week, kept my eye on, or, at the very least had droning on in the background, the pyr@te stream of msnbc the fifteen hours a day i’m at home & not forced to sell my labor full-time in this modern, american, one percent economy. i guess i could have just qualified it by saying, “checked out online” or “disengaged on a website,” but i really wanted to used the word, “inasmuch.”
oh! the spring! such innocence! the promise of the primary, the free and open exchange of ideas, the discourse, debates, all in the name of & to further liberal beliefs! that is until the day a first lady dies and a fellow queer comes at you for using the aids crisis as a smear in your candidate’s favor. i’d critiqued the secretary in a tweet (of course) after she’d praised nancy reagan’s “low key advocacy” at the advent of the aids crisis in the eighties. are you kidding me, bro? they all love to proclaim on the trail, “hold me accountable.” well, that was me holding her accountable and i was there, so shut the fuck up. and i’d been seeing enough, besides, to know to i’d better start keeping my mouth shut. you know, lest the herbots and hisbots come after me for whatever the fuck. like, my life is traumatic enough, i don’t need drama comprised of zeros and ones in addition to all of that, you know? besides, it just ain’t my game. kindness and shit.
it saddened me, though, having to say relatively little just to avoid the screams and the shouts, liberals versus progressives, working class versus identity politics (i mean, what?), homonormative gays versus radical queers, amabs versus afabs. i mean, jesusfuckingchrist, we’re supposed to be on the same side — you know, kind of a no brainer. like for a country that’s founded, in part, on the notion of compromise and common ground, this really is not going well. and then throw the constant stream of media, news, presidump-elect’s ENTIRE campaign, civil unrest (word), et cetera, on top of the screams and the shouts and it’s like america has dropped some grade A acid, but we’re all in a negative headspace and having an incredibly bad trip right now.
but, whatever, i did my part. my hopes for the primary dashed, i’d made my peace with the inevitable and hoped that maybe warren would primary her if she pulled too far to the right or got too cozy with wall street or sketchy or whatnot. plus, civil unrest (word).
i’ve no intention of waxing this rant into some pseudo-academic thinkpiece in which i reflect upon the inherent parallels between that year and this contained therein forthwith the two, et cetera. still, though — obvious, no? at one time i’d romanticized the shit out of that year, the whole era. it was that longing, the ache that i’d argue almost every activist, subversive, and or queer has felt at one time or another. the feeling that you should have been born of another era,
“oh! i wish i could have BEEN there.”
“to the proverbial fucking barricades. shit.”
the more that ours looks like theirs, though. not so fucking romantic anymore.
is it a wonderful thing, the citizenry exercising her first amendment right in the face of the militarized police of the state? don’t get me wrong, it absolutely is (#acab #ftp). civil unrest, both non and violent = bursts of revolution, a beautiful thing. no mistake to say in spite of that, though, that america is? always has? always will be? an exercise in insanity. think here of the old adage (prolly old now) — the definition of insanity taking the same action over and over…
you see where i’m landing with this.
i had something totally different in mind, though — this was my thought each time i popped in to peek at the break room t.v. on election night at work. i also thought that we must be getting into the part of the acid trip where you’ve been hallucinating for the last six hours and you’re just about ready for it to be done but it just keeps going on and on, only it’s been about eighty-seven hundred hours and not six. add to that, now, another three hundred thirty six hours of hand wringing, finger pointing, more screaming and shouting. fine. scream at the third party people, but then don’t forget that ABSURD percentage of white women that voted for him. or the states that once went for obama, now went for him. and scream, then, for what? because, at last count, she’s what? 1.7 mil. ahead in the popular vote? maybe scream at the electoral college, then? i don’t fucking know. and neither does anyone else. it’s so cute the way the pundits still act as if they know what they’re talking about, isn’t it? and if i mention the pundits, gotta mention the party elite — same deal, parading dean, rendell, wasserman-schultz and that lot out on the 24 hour cycle of acquiescent news anchors,
“what we need to do as a party…”
“reach out to the kids on the social media and web pages!”
“yes. we were decimated, let’s not fool ourselves, but speaker pelosi is a proven leader…”
lee atwater must be cumming in hell.
i spent my first post-election week staring at the first one hundred eighty nine words of this piece, a piece that i’d started before we ended up trapped in four seasons of the apprentice: presidential edition — watch america burn. we all knew, deep down we were living the show, even tripping balls on this grade A acid. what we fooled ourselves into thinking, believing with utter certainty was that the season finale would end differently this time.
lost for words, not knowing how to make sense of what had just passed, the greater meaning, how to begin, i keep asking myself if the dream of the country i grew up believing in is even possible anymore. what i do know is we’re about to enter some profoundly dark, fucked-up times, my friends. as if we all hadn’t been thinking that any number of times in the past however many years now. at least i have — you know, don’t ask, don’t tell, drone strikes and doma, 9/11, iraq, newfound love for the espionage act, police brutality, the great recession of 2008 (putting it mildly), mass incarceration… after voting for hope and change two times and clinton two times before that (if you’re ever asked, “why were they radicalized?”, this is the answer).
my sexuality is outlaw.
my gender is outlaw.
my politics, outlaw.
i’ll use my voice as an outlaw.
with my pen.
in the street.
and in loving my fellow man.