I went to lunch, recently, with the relatives. Here’s a gem that sparkled in the very air. Prepare to be dazzled.
“…yeah, that school shooting in Florida was bad. But listen to this, I was listening to [I didn’t catch the name, because I was wondering what was worse than seventeen or so kids dying at a school shooting…] and there’s this court. In New York City. This landlord painted over some graffiti on his OWN PROPERTY. And this liberal New York judge, mind you, awarded the shits SIX MILLION DOLLARS. He whitewashed over their art, it was his property! So the judge goes on about how those people had rights! And she goes on how that landlord raped her, the #metoo thing! Artists have rights now to destroy property!”
Seriously. That was near the actual gibberish that fell from my uncle’s indignant lips.
Here’s the actual court case, which my uncle had obviously not read or researched… https://img.nyed.uscourts.gov/files/opinions/13cv5612.pdf
There was also the rehash of ‘it’s a mental health thing’ and ‘teachers can’t do anything to these kids, unlike in my day when teachers could beat kids for looking at them funny’ and ‘mainstreaming those kids, it’s the law, they have to do it’.
Which delved into why are mentally and physically disabled threats to law and order and all things normal allowed into ‘normal’ classrooms. Liberals and snowflakes did that, liberal and snowflakes!
This went on for several hours, this ‘talk.’ Among people I’m related to in some way. Mostly. There was a stray old lady there with her scruffy little dog, called…wait for it…Shooter. Ahem. I didn’t make that up. Shooter. Now, I remained silent. It was five against one odds and I’m a chickenshit lately. For a while now. I’ve been writing polite fiction and keeping my snout down.
I feel [shhh!] like I don’t have a right to say anything to the above blarney and propaganda hit pieces. Because it’s family and I’m supposed to ‘love’ them. My mother made it very plain I was to be ‘nice’. That I wasn’t ‘nice’ to start with and that being ‘nice’ was all that counts.
Because I’m not JK Rowling-level successful as a novelist [this gets brought up every time by my uncle who wonders why I write at all if I’m not making gazoots of cash…why do I write at all?] and I’m not the possessor of some magical trust fund and…!
Oh there’s a list of my failures that burns into my brain every time I even think of wanting to speak up or speak out or even roll my eyes so that ‘they’ see it. How dare you oppose our views, you LOSER? That’s pretty much what I expect to hear if I dared SPEAK UP.
Of course a LOSER would oppose our FREEDOM TALK. LOSER!!!!
And since real life is not one of those inspirational movie scenes, ever…yeah. Those stand up and cheer scenes are mostly just fiction of writers who WISHED LIKE HELL they’d had the moxie to stand up and say something in the very loud face of nonsense and bullshit and assclownishness in an actual real life situation. Here’s a chance to say those things YOU WISH you’d said to the people who most needed to hear it. [I don’t think I’m reaching here. At all.]
I hid in the other room, where the caged birds are kept and stared at the storm coming in over the Owyhees through the porch window rather than go to town on the bullshit in the living room. The caged cockatiel tried to rip my face off and gave me warning chirps to just try it, just try it. That talk from the other room veered into the Black Lives Matter hissings against and why professional athletes should be compelled and made to stand for the flag and the National Anthem or be fired.
And my liberal brain went, hey, what about that 40’s court case which said people don’t have to pay homage of any kind to the flag or the pledge or the national anthem because there’s something called freedom of speech and…? You know, actual freedom to express your displeasure with your country openly without the government stepping in to bitchslap you? Or kill you? Or lock you away or…? Ugh!
I can’t be around that again without saying something. My conscience demands it. I’m not a saint or rolling in writer cash but…I cannot remain silent and seething any more over the things I heard said.
I watch the kids from the Parkland shooting take on the world and it’s glorious. They’ve grown up in an era of normalized mass shootings and watching people’s rights get tossed away by grinning, empty-souled Pretend Christians pandering for votes from scared elderly assclowns hankering for the ‘good ole days’.
Also, am seeing where conspiracy theorists, who went after Sandy Hook and other such shootings as being ‘false flag’ events designed to ‘take away our gunz!!!!!’ have gone after the Florida students. Accusing them of being planted actors, by the Democrats. No, I’m not making that up. I couldn’t even begin to be that awful or evil. It would be an actual stretch for me to sink that fucking low. I’d probably be a lot richer and my books would be best sellers!
Rage takes over for a bit when I realize some Americans would rather make up shit about people who’ve survived a mass shooting, some of them ACTUAL CHILDREN, than consider maybe guns are a bit of a problem and maybe we should, consider, um, some practical solutions to limit who can get a gun capable of taking a hundred lives in about ten seconds. [I know. It can only shoot X amount of people in ten seconds, I’m just being a liberal snowflake bitch plant who wants to get rid of Jesus in schools and Big Brother and freedom and eagles!]
Oh and speaking out against all things gun is somehow not-American or patriotic. Or…ugh!
I’ve rewritten this particular post about seven or eight times.
I’m watching my country swirl down the toilet and yet watching the Next Generation [I don’t know what name has been assigned them yet] rise up like tornadoes. Willing to swirl into public opinion with a gutsy teeth-bared earnestness that hearkens back to actual crusaders for things like voting rights for women and the end of Jim Crow. Which were also met with conspiracy theories and laughter and ‘it’s always been this way, can’t do nothin’ about it.’
I, for one, experience a bit of hope. I, for one, want to be a better version of my cowardly chickenshit self. Even if only for a day or two. And entertain notions of telling off those Fox News gasbags wearing the skins of my blood and kin. Yes, sensible, reasonable gun control can be achieved. Yes, global warming is real. Yes, there is a actual problem with racism in America yet. Yes, your gravy is delicious.
Perhaps I need to stuff a few things in my backpack and head off for the volcanic hills that surround this high desert. Write the silly things in my head on rocks older than the Bible. At the very least, I would not have to hate the very people I’ve been told to love and not have to listen to gut-savaging conspiracy theories about how those shootings are all staged. Or listen to how it’s white people who have it rough in America or…yeah. A backpack and some cave and living off the grid and growing my leg hair to truly titanic lengths. I’ll put that on my list of things to do today.
Right up there with write better novels and plays and poems and rework resume so that it reflects independence rather than incompetent awfulness.
I have to descend into a bit of light sarcasm as examining my country right now and its reactions to anything gun…turns me into a seething not patriotic eagle-hating liberal menace. And that here, in Eastern Oregon, will just get me shot.