On not being “political”

A quick recap: In the now-five weekends since school started, I have had two (2) weekends where students in my building lost younger siblings to gun violence– one who was playing with (or at least near someone who was playing with) a loaded weapon that went off, and another killed in a drive-by shooting at a birthday party. Last weekend, one of my former students apparently fired a shot or two at someone she had gotten into an altercation with at a bar, and then her gun went off while she was in the back seat of what was effectively their getaway car, going through the front passenger seat and killing her best friend, another former student.

Today’s horror involves a killing this afternoon at my local mall. I came across this Facebook post just now; one of those where you don’t know the person but someone you know interacted with them and so the post makes its way onto your feed. I would like you to direct your attention to the first two sentences, in particular:

Now, I don’t know this dude, which is why I didn’t respond to him on FB, and is why I’m cutting his name out here. He’s going through some shit I’ve never had to go through right now and I feel for him.

But God damn it, this impulse toward oh don’t make this political, when the problem is, oh, gun violence is completely the fuck out of control, is part of the god damned problem. This comes from the same impulse that occasionally leads to ignant shit like this:

And … nah.

You cannot “make” gun violence political. Gun violence is inherently fucking political. You cannot take politics out of gun violence. When we have a political party in this country that is literally encouraging its followers to stockpile as many guns as they can and the fucking person masquerading as our nation’s President is actively calling for gun violence in response to the results of our upcoming election, you can not take politics out of gun violence.

America has decided that it does not matter how many people die; their guns are more important than the lives of children, the lives of their friends, the lives of their families, whatever. That is a political decision. These folks literally don’t care who dies so long as they get to keep their toys and people with darker skin than them don’t. And the “be like Bob and Sally” bullshittery exists to obscure that, to hide the fact that for a whole god damn lot of people politics is literally a life and death matter and it is not only perfectly fucking okay but frankly the only sane decision to cut people out of their lives who have made the political decision that you are not human and your life does not matter. My white skin and manly cishet genitals are going to protect me from this to a certain extent but sooner or later these fuckers are going to get around to the atheists. This is not fucking theoretical to me. Not at all.

We are at the point where one of our two major political parties is actively courting fascists and white supremacists. Where actual fucking Nazis not only support the party holding the White House but hold positions of power within that party and are not actively shunned by those individuals who don’t yet identify specifically with them.

When you have one Nazi sitting at a table with eleven people who don’t mind that the Nazi is there, you don’t have one Nazi and eleven “adults” who don’t want to rock the boat. You’ve got twelve Nazis sitting at a table.

America is the world’s largest source of gun violence because America has made the political decision to be the world’s largest source of gun violence and Americans who disagree have not managed to summon the political will to stop them. If you are trying to skate around that to avoid fights and losing friends, you are part of the problem.

In which I melt down

dante-inferno

It has been an exquisitely crappy day.

From more or less the moment I woke up today, when I figured out nearly immediately upon waking up that our wireless connection wasn’t working, I have been thwarted in goddamn near every single thing I have tried to do today.  It’s been the kind of day where I start swearing uncontrollably into my phone and hitting the star key over and over again because Comcast uses a fucking voice recognition computer for their “help” line and there are no options that remotely match what I need. It is the kind of day where I begin one conversation with a customer service agent by telling her in my most polite available tone of voice (which is, despite my best efforts, still not very polite) that I am aware that none of my problems are her fault and I’m going to try and avoid coming off as a complete asshole but that I am this close to losing my shit altogether with her company.  It is the kind of day where I begin another conversation with another customer service agent for a different company by asking her what the main ingredient in tomato soup is, because I am completely exhausted by dealing with non-human-being agents and need her to literally prove that she is flesh and blood before I try and talk to her, and yes, ma’am, I am completely serious, I want the answer to my question please.

It is the kind of day where I take my son to McDonald’s for lunch, my son who is at home with me today because his day care is taking a field trip to a place where his allergies prevent him from going, my son who does not remotely deserve the surly, angry, stressed-out, swearing mess of a father that he has—it is the kind of day where I take my son to McDonald’s and McDonald’s is out of ketchup.  Because of fucking course McDonald’s is out of ketchup, why would lunch be any different from anything else that’s happened today?

It is the kind of day where a former student who I have remained in near-constant touch with for the five years since she left my classroom– a student who I have referred to as “my daughter” in conversation with others before because our actual relationship is a trifle too complicated to explain—the kind of day where that student is having a Very Bad Day, and I find that I simply do not have the mental energy or emotional capacity to help her, and treat her with a coldness she does not deserve or need.

It is the kind of day where I find out that the brightest student I’ve ever had in my classroom, a student I have not kept in constant contact with, who has just graduated from high school, is moving in with his girlfriend and not into a college dorm room because he cannot afford college and has no one in his family to help him navigate through it.

It is a miracle that I’m ending the day by typing this into this Word document on my desktop—because my internet doesn’t work, and my phone is out of data, and I need to stay offline as much as possible so I’m writing it offline—and not ending it in jail.  Because the fact that I made it through the day without assaulting anyone is frankly bordering on miraculous.

It is the kind of day where none of these problems are problems at all, because the monsters who we have allowed to take over our government are drugging children that they have kidnapped and are keeping them in concentration camps.  Concentration camps run by for-profit prison companies, on American soil.

And right now I have no idea how the fuck to cope with any of it at all.

In case anyone was wondering where I stood

Punch Nazis.

I don’t care.

Punch them every time they show their faces in public.  Chase them away from cameras and microphones.  Do whatever the fuck you want to them.  If they want these things to not happen, they can stop being Nazis.  There’s plenty of room to be an asshole without being a Nazi.  Dox them, call their bosses, drive them entirely from public life.

We fought a fucking war over this.  Hell, we fought two.  We won both.  There is no place in civilized society for these fuckers and if I have my way there never will be again.

Tear down monuments to the Confederacy.  Vandalism?  Fuck vandalism.  Every monument to the Confederacy or any Confederate figure on public land in this country should be torn down, melted, refashioned into sewer pipes and sent to Flint.

Never fucking again.

Oh well, whatever, nevermind

If I let even a single syllable of what’s been running through my head the past couple of days out and onto a screen, I’mma have the fucking Secret Service at my door, and I don’t need that kind of aggravation right now.  So instead all of my books are free this weekend— including Balremesh and other stories, for the first time–and here’s a picture of a kitten.

Unknown

(Also, if you’ve read any of my books, especially Balremesh, I am explicitly and openly begging for reviews right now.  Seriously.  Please.)

I keep thinking…

…that I should have something to say about the protests at UIC last night.  Other than the obvious, which is that I have never been prouder to be a UIC alumnus.

Then I keep seeing this:  suwpx2jobnn6ruqmg9hd.jpg

…and I just don’t want to.  Because it’s fucking exhausting and it’s depressing and it’s horrible.

And, honestly, because my meds just got switched again, and I’m deep in the “constant exhaustion” phase of changing medications.

But mostly because of the depressing.