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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Le Petit Mort (Part II)



Growing Old Before You Grow Up


I’ve never really quite fit in with my surroundings. It can probably be attributed to a fair extent to being exiled from my homeland at an early age, but late enough that I had already passed the cut-off for the establishment of in-groups. When we left, I had just started becoming aware of concepts like Belonging and Friendship, and by the time we settled in Santa Fe, most of the kids my age had already established their sense of cultural inclusion. So a major psychological challenge I’ve faced from the days of my earliest memories has centered on trying to manufacture a sense of fitting in, which most people develop from scratch on the foundation of their geographical home. I’ve never had one of those. In fact, around the time most kids start subconsciously laying the groundwork for things like Purpose and Confidence – a strong sense of one’s “place in the world” – my family moved between four or five different countries on three continents every 3 to 15 months for about three years.

At the time, it wasn’t a big deal. I cried a fair amount, but I don’t remember being genuinely sad about the loss of comfort zone for more than the few days leading up to and following an international journey. It’s only now, over two decades later, that I realize how fundamentally my childhood differed from just about everyone else I know. While I had the loving support of my nuclear family everywhere I went, none of the relationships I developed from age 4 to 7 lasted more than a year or so. The effect of this was two-fold, and is still perceptible in me today: I got really good at making friends quickly, and I developed a certain protective emotional callous to keep me from missing anyone too much when we inevitably severed ties upon my moving. I’ve further perpetuated the patterns of my early to middle childhood by, now of my own accord, moving at least every 18 months for the last 10 years. As a result, my twenties have made me into something a few friends and I joked was best described as a Modern American Nomad.

But as my twenties draw to a close, and more of my friends – now strewn about the country – are getting married, settling down, procreating and buying property, I’m starting to feel the alienation brought on by my lifestyle more persistently and intensely. Folks my age are making more long term plans, and being less spontaneous. They’re hedging their bets, anticipating fewer major lifestyle changes, from place of residence, to profession, to hair styles. Maybe that’s just what happens when your generation starts sliding into their 30s, but despite feeling my age as much as anyone in this position, I’m experiencing a striking dissonance between the lifestyle I’m drawn to establishing, and everything I know about myself as a person to date.

Call it a crisis of identity. I can’t keep living like I’m 23. But I don’t know any other mode of being.


The Return of Jenny Luna’s Couch


Daniel and I have known each other since preschool. We met, and can both remember playing as friends, at an earlier date than either of us can attest to my having a functional command of the English language. We then didn’t see each other for 12 years, and re-established what has since been a lasting friendship in a matter of weeks. The last time I wrote about Denver, he came into the story at the end, as a sort of psychic anchor, to reel me back in as a combination of alcohol, pot smoke, and despondency over the death and commercialization of the only culture I ever considered my own threatened to send me over the edge of reason. And honestly, that pretty well describes most of his role in my life to date.

The first month or so I lived in Denver, I stayed with his wife, Liz, in their basement, while Daniel was in Africa, studying the Zimbabwean traditional music of the mbria – a lifelong passion of his. I never considered it before, but we seem to share this rare trait: a calling to a form of expression that is not native to our culture; I in what is essentially a foreign language, and he in a musical style from halfway around the world. We both discovered them early in life, and both used them as safe harbor in difficult portions of our burgeoning adulthoods. And they’ve both seeped into, if not largely formed our perception of the world around us. Many a night have we sat up on some porch, deck, or patio, staring into the darkness and sharing observations on the many peculiar intricacies of living a human life from a first-person perspective in the sort of universe in which we find ourselves every morning. You can’t have those kinds of conversations with everybody. It’s rarer still when you can communicate what’s beautiful and integrally connected to the fundamental hum of existence about your passion to someone who doesn’t share it. What’s truly special is when that happens organically without either party doing it on purpose. I only have a few similar friendships in my life, but it’s something I would find totally heartbreaking if every human didn’t get to experience at least once in their lives (and some don’t).

We had one such evening the night Daniel came back from Zimbabwe. In the weeks before, Liz and I had played the prodigal roommate game, where our opposing schedules brought us into contact for about an hour or two a day, if that, despite the tight quarters of their home. I was usually preparing dinner and aiming at sleep by the time she got home, and long at work when she got up in the morning. But the night Daniel came back was my “Friday,” and she had taken the day off work, so the three of us found ourselves sitting on the back porch, as the midsummer sun sank behind the houses on the other side of the alley, watching bees circle and prod the massive bush of Datura, as it bloomed in the deepening shade. If you pay close attention, and anticipate the timing right, you can watch them *pop* open as they unfurl past the point of tension. If you’re standing close enough, you can catch a whiff of sweet aroma, which, perhaps just through the power of suggestion, almost hints at the plant’s dangerously psychotropic effects.



The specifics of the conversation escape me now, but I remember it feeling like a continuation of another similar night, months earlier, when I was visiting Denver for a few days, to see if I could live here, and suss out if the romantic impetus that drew me here was substantive enough to make the move a wise decision. On that occasion, we sat on the porch much later, and hashed back over long suppressed emotional geysers we'd both been bottling up for ironically the same reason: we were convinced our fears and discomforts were unique. Turns out they’re just different brands of the same internally manufactured genetic poison. We just happen to be at the point in our lives where we’re starting to retrospectively understand the faults in our parents that were hidden from us, by starting to understand our own underlying social and psychological shortcomings. It’s easy to throw around the word Depression like everyone will understand what you mean, but it’s something else entirely to try to describe to someone else the particular shades of terror it teaches you to paint in your own mind. If it weren’t for friends like Daniel (and Liz, and Chelsey, and there are at this point in my life dozens of people, whom I would be terrified to list for fear of forgetting a few, and also at risk of boring the few readers who don’t know me personally), and the perspective they’ve bestowed upon me, both by sharing their most intimate traumas, and by allowing me to verbalize mine (sometimes you gotta say shit in order to write it down), it’s hard to imagine life being an exercise I’d want to take part in. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever known to “home.”

We have a running joke, Daniel and I, from years ago, at a party at Jenny Luna’s house, where we found ourselves on her couch, listening to Tinariwen. And it suddenly became clear to us both, in our decelerated mental state, that on some cosmic level, we always had been and would always be sitting on Jenny Luna’s couch, listening to Tinariwen. These porch evenings were just a continuation of that. I can’t attest precisely to which memories come from when, but it all happened under similar circumstances and in the same setting, so the timing is about as relevant as the color of Jenny Luna’s couch. I remember marveling, as I often do, at what past versions of us would think and say if they knew of our present situation. We agreed younger versions of ourselves would probably be proud and excited by all the right things – the accomplishments, the decisions of gravity that moved the plot along – while still harboring a certain self-righteous indignation over the inevitable side-effects of becoming functional adults. Daniel and Liz bought their house shortly after getting married a year ago. They aren’t what I’d call yuppies, but they’re now the leading spear-tip of gentrification in their neighborhood. They’re not looking to drive up prices and chase away the mostly Black and Hispanic families that have lived here for the last 50 years and longer. But the house was in their price range then, and has only risen in value since. Our teenage selves would be furious. We can dismiss that as jealousy, but it still smarts.

They chose the neighborhood because it’s not gentrified and trendy. But at the same time, there’s no escaping the inevitability of rising property values, and everything that comes with them. It’s sort of like Santa Fe, where Daniel and I grew up. The majority of people are living right above the poverty line, in that uncomfortable zone of marginal respectability that 30 years ago was called the lower middle class. And just on the other side of an invisible line is the unflinching march of “progress.” In that way, it’s probably a lot like anywhere in America. The influx of money doesn’t always (or even, really often) bring jobs and opportunity to the existing members of a community. The legalization of recreational marijuana didn’t make everyone in Colorado a millionaire. It brought a bunch of millionaires to Colorado. And as demand for high value real estate rises, incentive to renovate, sterilize, and gentrify does as well. And with the “progress,” comes the washing away of everything that made an area homey, and friendly, and real. Those in the Denver and Boulder area who already owned most of everything were the ones that made the most lucrative investments when the pot boom became the real estate boom. They’re living the capitalist dream, but they’re doing it on the backs of those who have lived there for generations and never had the option of buying into that dream beyond three square meals and roof over their heads.

And the grim reality of this situation is that we’re part of that problem. Daniel and Liz moved here for a school/work combo opportunity Liz had at the University of Colorado. I moved here for love. None of us want to be contributing to the plight of those most affected by the influx of outsiders, but we are. Liz and Daniel have the added guilt trip of profiting from it by owning their house. Are we bad people? Do we deserve to be here? We’re not actively contributing to gentrification. We know the ugly side of it. But we’re caught up in a system. We have to live somewhere while “pursuing happiness,” as it were. Would the honorable thing be to get out of here and go somewhere else? Where? Wouldn’t we then be visiting the same imposition on the long term inhabitants of that area? Or in putting our heads down and joining the herd in the place of most profitable opportunity, are we simply behaving in the most natural, survivalist manner one can in a capitalist society?

Black Sheep


I was still grappling with these dilemmas the next day, when Liz invited Daniel’s two cousins and their spouses over for a BBQ. They hang out from time to time, maintaining a typically English, cordial closeness that, from what I gathered, isn’t far from what the relationship between their fathers had been like. The cousins are financially quite a bit better off than Daniel and Liz (and certainly me), and that made for an interesting evening, when juxtaposed with the discussion from the night before.

I won’t go into the detail I originally envisioned retelling this evening in as it was occurring. These aren’t bad people, but I feel like I’d have a hard time describing them without implying that. I just felt like I was talking to TV stereotypes; like they had just stepped off the set of Good Morning America. I suppose part of me feels like they are the sort of people who are responsible for a lot of the problems we have in our society, but I can’t put my finger on what about them I don’t like. It’s not their cars or their clothes that put me off. It’s not the visible pretentious disdain with which they surveyed Liz and Daniel’s modest living room. It’s not even the matching robots they got to rock their children to sleep, or the fact that one model has a feature where you can select the music it gyrates to from your phone… from the other room, if you prefer. I think more than anything it was the realization that they don’t see anything wrong with their lifestyle, and the fear that if I had that lifestyle I wouldn’t notice the difference either. It wasn’t the European vacations they were planning or reminiscing about, or the fact that their family’s affluence allowed them the luxury of pursuing jobs they love and enjoy, as opposed to just something to keep the lights on. It was the fact that they didn’t perceive any of those things as luxuries and seemingly couldn’t conceive of the notion that most people don’t live like that.

Towards the end of the evening, upon consuming the beer after what should probably have been my last, I caught myself mocking one of these people in a way that was just subtle enough I might have gotten away with it. It happened when the subject of Socialized Medicine came up, and he scoffed incredulously at the notion that any investment in public healthcare is a slippery slope to Communism. I replied, “Well, if I had the capital, I’d probably be a Capitalist, too…”

He didn’t laugh, so I laughed loudly and excused myself.

But as I said, the thing that bothered me most about the evening was the reminder of what I would possibly be like given the opportunity. Like the white, cis, hetero, male privilege I was born with somehow wasn’t enough, and a part of me was as self-loathingly jealous of these people who let their iPhones comfort their children to sleep as 17 year old Daniel would have been at his present shrewd real estate investment.

We’re trapped in this moment, on the cusp of a decision we’re making unconsciously with every morning that we wake up and perpetuate the circumstances we set out the day prior. At the same time, we’re becoming our parents by and through the very hesitation we have in becoming like everyone else in our parents’ generation, and now our own. We were raised by people who never completely grew up in small ways, just so they could keep feeling alive. We don’t want to walk their same paths, but are starting to recognize that their fatal flaws were possibly the roots of what made them our heroes.

And this, as I mentioned in Part I, is another example of moving to Denver being a perfect geographical and socio-economic analog for turning 30. Because a part of me feels like it’s dying, and the rest is trying to figure out how to go on living after it dies.


Part Three will likely cover, but possibly only allude to:

  • Tips for moving when you just want to sleep
  • Further self-righteous and hypocritical outbursts regarding money
  • Dying of thirst, and other American pass-times
  • The trouble with complaining about quality of life in a world full of nuclear bombs and Nazis

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Le Petit Mort (Part I)

From Car Crashes to Bike Rides (And Also, Hello)


"Hi kids
Do you like violence?
Would you like to see me stick nine inch nails through each one of my eyelids?"
-The voice of a generation, 1999 

I’ve been putting this off for a while. But it’s generally best to just sit down and get it all out. Then you at least have something to work with, and it doesn’t seem as daunting as a blank page. Which is why I often end up with leads that sound like a drunk trying to stall while he remembers how to frame his excuse for why he’s six hours late to your wedding reception and why the overwhelming odor of freshly pickled herring emanating from his shoes is nothing to be alarmed about. “Yes, that is my car parked on your azaleas. And no, it does not need a bumper. Funny, story, actually…” You get the picture. It’s just a way of softening you up for the conversation to come. Leaning into it. Establishing a tone.

Been a while since we’ve had one of these conversations; where you sit and listen, in your head, to the sound of words that were never uttered by mine. I think that’s what suits me so well about writing. It’s like saying, “Here, you say this for me. I’m not gonna get it right.” I so rarely do, when I try to say it out loud. That’s a separate, unrelated skill, and one I have never been drawn to developing. If you ask me, oration’s for the birds.

Where has the time gone? It’s been over a year since we’ve sat down, at two separate times, to have this kind of one-directional discussion, which we agree will mean something totally different to each of us. It’s funny that we understand that, when it comes to the sharing and interpretation of art; they’re two discrete acts that have separate and distinct meaning to the creator and the consumer, and that’s OK. And yet, while the same is often true for real-time conversations – everything from the overall significance of the debate to the meaning of individual words and idioms can mean something different to the participants, depending on context and perspective – we so rarely admit that, in real time or retrospect.

But it’s true of every conversation I’ve had, with friends, family, coworkers, and antagonists alike. I’m always getting something different out of it than they are. Maybe it’s because I’m a narcissist. Maybe I’m reading too much into things, but it feels as though I can see a much bigger drama playing out between and behind the things people say to me, than in the content of their messages. Maybe we all do that to some extent. Maybe I spent too much time reading internet forums as a developing mind. Maybe that’s why I now write how I write, where my point is buried somewhere deep within a maze of non-sequiturs and appropriated colloquialisms; a sort of parody of how I think everyone else talks, like I’m an exiled alien trying to fake it to ease the social dissonance of not fitting it. I guess that’s not far from the truth… Whatever the reason, something about the fact that we agree that writing and reading are two discrete undertakings with a definite wall of impersonality between them makes it easier and more rewarding for me to be very personal and candid in this medium.
 
That’s not just from my perspective. It’s true for you as well (or the people you talk to, if we’re gonna make this about you). When someone asks you, “How’s it going?” how honest is your standard answer? How much time do you even take to consider the facts of how it is going before snapping back the verbal high-five that is, “Fine?” If you’re too honest, direct, or god forbid detailed, you can watch their eyes glaze over with regret, subconsciously wondering why they opened this can of worms with an “over-sharer.” But if you’re anything like me, giving the stock, societally accepted meaningless reply to the greeting feels like opening every interaction with a deflective lie. But that’s what’s considered polite.


So I tend to roll with the unassuming enigma that is, “The Dude abides…” It disarms folks who recognize the line, while giving very little information beyond the objective facts of my situation, and rounds it all out with the air of a religious greeting. It’s somewhere between “You don’t need to see his identification,” “Whatever you think,” and “Bless your heart,” all rolled into one. I figure, if we’re gonna be vague, let’s do it right. I get to say nothing, you get to react in whatever way you choose, and I get to learn about you from your reaction, without either of us feeling like we’re over-sharing.

Now that we have the greetings and pleasantries out of the way, I suppose it would be wise to get to the meat of the issue. “I’m sure you’re all wondering why I called you here today,” and all that. I don’t really have anything specific. I guess I missed doing this, and can’t think of any other way of getting back on the bicycle other than hopping on and taking it for a spin around the new neighborhood. If we’re talking geographics, that would, as of recently, be the Denver Metropolitan Sprawl – Zone 80207. I don’t have a lot of good things to say about it yet, which I suppose is fitting for the name of this blog (Thanks, Spider), but I’m honestly starting to come around to the notion that this has little to do with geography. Over the last few years, I’ve come to better recognize the cycles of my psychological horse-blinders and the way in which my surroundings are not only determined, but also then shaped by my perspective.

In that sense, Denver feels like the perfect place to be at this point in my life. Everything I hate about this place and (primarily) the people in it is a direct personification of the fight I’ve been having the last few years with my own sense of identity. I was chatting with a friend last week whom I hadn’t seen in a long time, and he asked me what I’ve been up to the last few years. “Turning 30,” I laughed in response, without having time to realize how directly that answer cut to the core of everything I’ve done in that time. I had unwittingly nailed it.

That’s where I’ve been for the last year or more, for those of you who wondered. I’ve been saying goodbye to the person 15-year-old me spent a decade creating, and never really figured out how to enjoy in the moment. It turned out that, by the time we had him finished and tuned in to all the right settings, I had realized how pathetic and unsatisfying the dreams of a 15-year-old stoner feel to someone twice his age. But there’s still a part of me that wishes it was that simple; that being that person felt like “enough.” Unfortunately, it hasn’t for some time now. Worse yet, being that person requires a specific skill-set and list of priorities, which are the only ones I’ve developed to any great extent, and don’t conveniently transfer to many more dignified lifestyles. But maybe that’s just the nature of change: It’s like moving. It’s never convenient.

Coming in Part Two:


  • ·         Overgrown children playing with fire
  • ·         Liberal use of big, loaded words, like gentrification
  • ·         The Scum of the Suburbs, and other local wildlife

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Symptomatic

I've been watching you all pretty closely since the election. I've seen the memes, the clever tweets, the pledges of solidarity in resistance, and the outraged shitposts. I've spent some time trying to come up with a more tactful way of phrasing this, but I don't think there is one:

You're wasting your time.

In a week, Donald Trump will be president of the United States. Both houses of Congress are under Republican control. The ACA will likely be repealed with no replacement set or even planned. Planned Parenthood may well get defunded. There will absolutely, without question, be plans to invade Syria by the end of the year, if not sooner. When (not if) Trump and Putin decide their bromance has run its course, our nuclear arms race will once again ramp up to a scale I haven't seen in my lifetime. These things are not potential outcomes if we don't reverse course, they are eventual inevitabilities that are now out of your hands and mine. We dropped the ball a long time ago. It could be argued that fumble happened before folks my age were born, but we certainly failed to jump on that fucker.

Source - Washington Post
Dammit, guys...

The last time Americans took a meaningful, efficacious stand against their government was when Nixon was forced to resign in shame in 1974. Actual journalists - people who went into the world and collected information, investigated leads, and wrote stories and news reports based on what they saw with their own eyes - uncovered evidence of a conspiracy to undermine the machinations of the democratic system. Even before any criminal wrongdoing could be pinned on Nixon, he had lost the confidence of the American people to the point where his only choice was to leave office, in hopes of distracting everyone enough to escape prosecution.

And it worked. His shill of a VP, Ford, granted Nixon an unconditional pardon before it was even clear exactly what he should be charged with. And with that act, a Pandora's Box of underhanded political subversion burst open. Nixon's fateful, "If the President does it, it's not illegal," may have cemented his legacy as a crook, but it inspired a whole generation of up-and-coming hucksters, who, before that moment, would probably have pursued careers in law, banking, human trafficking, or some other long con, where the people are expendable, and the profits are ensured. But Nixon made it clear to anyone who hadn't been aware before: the ultimate con is public service.

After half a decade of the good-hearted but ineffectual Carter bumbling around the country smiling and making everyone feel better about having gotten rid of that "one bad egg," a charismatic actor took office in the biggest landslide victory against an incumbent president in American History. With almost no leadership qualifications beyond his charm, Reagan read the American people a bedtime story for 8 years, while the Republican party gutted every progressive social advancement this country had made since Reconstruction in the name of economic progress, and recruited an army of amoral sociopaths into the newly booming fields of investment banking and corporate lobbying. Throughout the Clinton and Bush administrations, these not-particularly-new, but certainly newly invigorated professions chipped away at the few oversights and restrictions that kept them playing by the rules of average people. By the time Citizens United became a thing, there were less members of Congress not on a corporate payroll than there were members of Congress who were a racial minority (for the record, that number is 17%, compared with 38% of the country's population). As long ago as 2010, there were three senators and NO REPRESENTATIVES that hadn't taken money from a corporate source.

Look. I know you're angry. I know you're scared, either for your own future, or if you're a white, cis man, with a job and health insurance, like me, for the futures of those you care about. But memes like this hot garbage:

Source - Hear7Breaker, Imgur
Because if it doesn't relate to pop culture, who gives a fuck?

...show me exactly how deep in denial most of you are. Let's set aside the fact that Bernie Sanders will be lucky to live to see the next election. Let's set aside the fact that if he's still the only one working toward actual systemic change in our government by 2018, we're all beyond fucked. How many people would we have to elect to both the Senate and the House of Representatives in the midterm election to ensure any chance of real campaign finance reform before the next presidential election? If we, the people, and our yet-to-be-named grassroots champions took back all 33 seats of the Senate and - fuck it, let's dream - half of the House in 2018, sure maybe then the remaining Wall Street cronies would be scared into changing their step for fear of not surviving another cull. But how good do you think our chances are of even taking 10% of either house? And who do you suggest we vote for?

Here's a list you may have seen, of Democratic senators who voted against a bill that would have reduced the cost of prescription medication by allowing its importation from Canada:

Source - Probably someone who still has a landline

There it is. Bad grammar and all. Simple instructions for effecting political progress. How many of you shared that? Cool, cool. How many of you dialed any of those numbers? Yeah. Me neither. Sure, maybe there's legitimate reasons they voted against the bill. I read there was some concern over ensuring the safety and integrity of those drugs and the certifications behind the distributors. That seems valid. Why couldn't they just augment the bill to fix that? Because that's how the lawmaking process works. How, specifically? I have no clue. And neither do you, because right now, there's an anthropomorphized rolled up piece of paper named Bill singing in your head, wondering if he'll become a law, and that's all they taught us. And your congressperson knows that. So even if - best case scenario - I called up Sen Heinrich and didn't get a staffer (or even if I did), and got to say, in the colloquial New Mexican jargon I'm sure he's accustomed to, "Eeee, Marty, dafuq?" and he spent an hour ensuring me that there were real, non-money-based reasons for his vote, I'D NEVER KNOW IF HE'S LYING TO ME OR NOT.

Hell, let's just pretend you called up your Senator and his response was a flat, "I voted the way I got paid to vote, and what the fuck are you gonna do about it, punk?" What would you do about it in two to six years, provided you managed to stay focused and angry long enough? Because if I was still living in New Mexico, I'd fucking vote for Martin Heinrich again, because the other asshole wants to turn the state into a frack party. And so we trudge onward, choosing between the lesser of two evils in every election on every level, wondering why only people in Vermont in the 70s had the presence of mind to elevate an honest man to the point where he could yell loudly enough about the societal inequity we take for granted that it gets 15 seconds of airtime in a 24 hour news cycle.

Where's your Bernie Sanders? Which of your city council members, or State Representatives, or County Commissioners do you believe actually cares more about bettering your life and actually serving the public than their own pocketbook? How many Leslie Knopes do we actually have in this country, and how many of them are gearing up right now to run in 2018? Enough to take 10% of the congressional seats and a third of the Senate, running against incumbents that have been raising money 80% of their waking hours for the last six years? And who's going to finance them?

I'm sorry if I'm bumming you out. Thank you for reading this far if you have, but it's pretty important for me to be blunt at this point when I say this is a battle we lost decades ago. There is no "reforming" the American political system. The mess we're in now is not what is causing your terror. The mess is symptomatic of your terror. This system was brought about because the only things that motivate and galvanize large groups of people in an effective way are, to borrow from a fallen hero, Fear and Loathing. This country and the system by which we are now ruled, were built on the fear we feel of that which we do not know, and the loathing we cling to for anyone who is different from us. The idealized goal of this American Experiment was to see if a set of inclusive laws could bring us together despite that, and forge something greater than the sum of its parts. And despite the fact that the architects of that system did not actually mean to include anyone who was different from them, we took them at the letter of their word, and have strived for 200-odd years to reconcile that ideal with reality. But the tools of Fear and Loathing are much too universal of keys to the psyche of millions who will always be manipulated more quickly and easily than they will be educated. And that thronging horde will always be mobilized against progress and against the dismantling of systems that perpetuate it.

You see, we spent the last eight decades, since our country became a major world power electing leaders under the assumption that they were working to ensure our safety and prosperity. But for half of that time, they've been working to secure only their stranglehold on the minds of those that gave them their power in the first place. And in the meantime, enough of the rest of us are comfortable enough that, despite our outrage, we're not going to rock the boat hard enough to flip it. But someone will eventually. Maybe even soon.

When the "revolution" comes it will not save us. The oppressed will rise up eventually, and history tells us they're more likely than not to become the oppressors. We will lose everything good we have in this country - things, social policies, infrastructure - but the people who already have nothing won't be any worse off. Only then will all this come crumbling down. When people who already have nothing have nothing left to lose, they will bring everyone down to their level. And we have, as a society, already made it clear that we will not raise them up to ours. We have marginalized our brothers and sisters for so long over skin color, gender/gender identity, sexual preference, mental ability/illness, economic classification, education level... just because a few of us share memes about how we now "ride for them" doesn't mean shit if the system that gave us the internet to share them on was built and continues to be supported on their backs and the backs of those like them.

Look. I know you're not responsible for the way things are. I'm not either. But I'm complacent. And so are you. And no amount of memes, or calls to your congressperson, or visits to the homeless shelter, or clever signs, or disruptive marches is going to change that. I'm going to be OK, whatever happens in the next four years. But that's because I was born a straight, white male, and I sold out my dreams and my idealism to work 40 hours a week for a corporation that doesn't give two singing fucks about me, and only pays me a reasonable wage and provides me with minimal health insurance because they're trying to appeal to a demographic of wealthy, guilty social justice warriors, and it's good marketing. But if I use their name in an blog post, you bet your ass I'm shitcanned and panhandling within a week.

So I cling to what little I have, because while I've always had little, I've never had nothing. I'm not rocking the boat, because I can't swim. But I genuinely hope the folks freezing in the water drown us all soon. Because throwing them life-preservers isn't helping their hypothermia, we're out of life preservers, and that blanket you've been crocheting since we hit the iceberg is soaked. We deserve what we get.