Trumpian twisted nihilism and some antidotes

President* Trump,

Isn’t it interesting that news about the huge, life-affirming ‘Get Off Our Necks’ Commitment March is now nowhere to be seen but articles about the death of an apparent Trump supporter in Portland whose last act was to spray bear mace at protestors are everywhere? And isn’t it interesting that news of the 17-year old AR-15 wielding murderer who is being held in the 8/25/20 deaths of two protestors in Kenosha is still trending because there is somehow serious debate about whether he shot the unarmed victims in self-defense?

Well played, asshole.

This is exactly what you all have been angling for and so far it’s working out well for you.

How is it to get to be the King of Twisted Nihilism? Is it your semi-sub voce campaign slogan (semi because you all can’t seem to help but tell us exactly what you are doing and why, thank you Kelly Ann – we’ll miss your stating-the-obvious missives)? Right underneath the now out loud “Make American White Again” chants are the whispered “Make America More Violent Now So We Can Cynically Forecast More Violence By Black People Against White People Under a Biden/Harris Administration” lies.

Obviously I’ve not been ignoring the pieces about the killings in Portland or Kenosha. so those articles are getting my clicks. I’ve felt torn between not wanting to feed that monster narrative and wanting to see how those stories are being presented because how stories are told is so important. However, in stepping back and seeing just what is and isn’t making it into the paper, I’m realizing I need to be more careful and that I need to be seeking out different stories, including those of the Black and brown people’s violent, untimely deaths that aren’t making headlines anymore.

For example, what’s happening with the efforts to hold the police officers who murdered Breonna Taylor in March responsible? Well, a bit of digging found that ‘Face The Nation’ (CBS News) is reporting today that the FBI ballistics report is finally, nearly 6 months later, available. This is apparently the last piece of the investigation needed before decisions can be made about the officers involved. That seems pretty important, doesn’t it?

I’m also realizing that it’s just as important to not allow myself to be drawn only to the stories about violence and unrest. Yes, keeping a watchful eye on this stuff is important, but all violence all the time obviously is a bad media diet – not only does it feed a patently false (nihilistic) narrative, but it leaves me feeling on edge and depleted when I need to be grounded and energized.

So, sad as it is to read about Chadwick Boseman’s death at 43 from cancer, those stories have been something of an antidote to Trumpian Twisted Nihilism. I love that he Tweeted support for Kamala Harris right before he died and I’ve loved seeing the pictures of him with the Obamas – the one where he and Michelle are standing facing each other, holding each other’s hands and looking each other in the eyes is precious and so dear. To know he was dealing with colon cancer for years as he filmed so many historically important roles and was such an inspiration and role model for Black children, in particular, is amazing. I told you back when we watched it how much we loved The Black Panther – it was really awesome and we are planning to watch it again super soon – but we’re going to watch at least 42 and Marshall first because it’s clear Boseman was bringing it his all for a long, long time and we want to honor that.

May we be safe from skewed media priorities.
May we be happy to celebrate and honor Black heroes and role models like Chadwick Boseman.
May we be strong and forthright in our rejection of the current POTUS’s twisted nihilism.
May we accept that there is no bottom for this administration.

Tracy Simpson

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