Acting normal feels crazy

To: The F*cking Lunatic in the Oval Office

I closed my letter a couple of days ago with the idea that we need to accept that we have no idea where the bottom is and I don’t see any reason to revise it. Yes, yesterday I invoked righteous, courageous mere mortals who’re stepping up for good and I absolutely wish that they and we could stem the tide of what feels like a tsunami of horribleness, but how does anyone – any individual, any group – do that in the face of a ruling party that’s hell bent on carrying out their scorched earth policies? I know we can’t just roll over and give up, but I’m being serious when I ask – what the hell can we do?

I get that we need to hang in and hang on, that we need to take care of each other as best we can, that “this too shall pass” and all that sensible sounding coping rhetoric. But we have a f*cking lunatic in the Oval Office who’s blithely scamming his own people with fantastical claims that he won an election he clearly lost and that if they’re just wise and courageous enough (and hand over the bucks), he’ll be able to prove it. We also have the f*cking lunatic’s stalwart GOP lackeys either refusing comment on the charade or actively cheerleading it, all the while withholding the resources that the American people need to get by as the pandemic soars out of control.

I feel like I’ll scream if I come across another article about another public health official or state election official tearfully telling the public that they and their family are being subjected to death threats or that they’re afraid their house is going to be fire bombed. It’s beyond horrifying that we have Tweets from the official Arizona GOP Twitter account asking their followers if they’re willing to die fighting to overturn the election in your favor. Then there’re reports of a man forcing his way into the Democratic headquarters in Spokane, WA wearing a huge backpack and demanding that staffers broadcast his anti-Democrat manifesto or he’ll blow the place up and then proceeding to start a fire. And we have the generally-not-at-all-sensationalistic WP Editorial Board sounding the alarm that your fraudulent election claims and the GOP’s complicity are putting us at grave risk of political violence.

Plus, we are in the throes of a significantly escalating pandemic with record numbers dying every day, hospital systems completely overrun, healthcare workers exhausted and succumbing to the disease, and masses of people out of work and dealing with hunger as they face the specter of imminent eviction. And all you can f*cking do is rake in the scam bucks and throw nitroglycerin on the fire.

All the hanging in and hanging on in the world isn’t going to cut it. I don’t know what will. I don’t know if anything can, but at the risk of being seen as an overly dramatic alarmist, I’m going to keep doing what I know how to do, which is to piece the bits I’m seeing together to try and get a clearer sense of what the hell is going on, even if the picture that emerges is one I’d really rather look away from, pretend doesn’t exist.

Last night our daughter explained to us how seductive it is to focus on one little bit of what’s going on – like getting you out of office and someone who appears to have more decency in – because it feels like one is doing something constructive but that really, nothing short of burning down the whole racialized profit-motivated system can possibly save us. The problems are too deep and too wide for Band Aids. A year ago I don’t know that I would have given these ideas much credence at all, but as I watch what all you all are willing to do to stay in power, I think she’s right.

This system allowed you. This system is enabling you. This system does not have capacity to remedy the aspects of itself that allowed and enabled this, and it’s not because the system is merely broken. It’s because the system is rotten to its core. I don’t know what can possibly replace it given our clay feet but the current system is beyond repair.

May we be safe from the monster system we’ve created.
May we be willing to be as honest as honest can be about what’s going on.
May we be strong as strong can be so we can deal with reality.
May we accept that we’re getting clear messages that the system is beyond hope.

Tracy Simpson

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