Hey you! Yeah, don't do a DeNiro impression, I am very definitely talking to YOU.
I've been relatively quiet these days. Downright fucking sedate, at least for me. Today you're just gonna have to put up with me. You can, to steal a line from the HBO show Treme, tell me not to "be appalling." I'll get over it. Unfortunately none of you will say that to me. Instead you'll tell me not to be appalled. Different syntax, just as dismissive. You'll try to walk away. You'll shake your head and say, "Well, we always knew you were gonna lose it, and the day has come to pass." Humor the lunatic for a minute. Consider it a good and charitable act. Appleby's doesn't take reservations, they'll still have a table for you when you get there a little later than expected. The cupcakes you need to bake for the second grade fundraiser will still get baked in time for tomorrow morning's deadline. You've already TIVO'd the finale of Dancing with the Stars, or whatever you were waiting til the kids went to bed to watch.
Just humor me for a minute here even though, yeah. I've lost it. Lost a lot, in fact, these last five years.
Oh please, you say. What have you lost? Oh yeah, the photos. You still on about those? Get over it, nothing you can do about it.
You're right. Nothing I can do about those. And yeah, those were lost, but they were spit in the oiled ocean compared to what I've really lost, and what I've lost should worry you, no matter who you are or where you live. Yeah, you! C'mon over. Join us. The others will teach you how to roll your eyes and take a step back from me as my hair turns into Medusa's snakes and sparks of rage pop off my skin like carpet static, if for no other reason than you'll have a great story for around the watercooler tomorrow.
Faith. That's what I've lost. I hope you recognize that for what it is: a monumental loss for someone who has always been an optimist. I am now a faithless heathen, a pagan baby, a soul beyond redemption. Pray for me if you feel the need. I'll take all the help I can get. Eye each other uncomfortably as I continue. It won't hurt my feelings.
I watched as the Christian right ignored all Christian principles becoming hate-mongerers. I watched as they bashed gay people, founded mega-churches that espoused all manner of hatred and intolerance for women, Muslims, liberals, or anyone else who disagreed with them. I saw them toss the term Christian into the flames of the inferno.
I watched as the country I believed in went off to a war based on lies. I watched as citizens of my country agreed that torture was a reasonable way to treat prisoners. I watched as those same citizens decided that our Constitution didn't apply to those prisoners, that our rules of law could be chucked out the window. I watched as the same people who sent our kids off to that war sat in shiny wood panelled rooms and cut costs on kevlar to protect them, bought helmets that were defective but cheap, put them in unarmored Humvees, paid giant corporate contractors to build showers for soldiers that were badly wired and electrocuted some of our own, and decided that medical care for them after they returned, wounded in mind and body, was too expensive. I watched as the pictures of flag draped coffins were finally shown to us against the Pentagon's wishes.
I watched as people drowned in my city's streets, bodies floating by underpasses turned into islands by the depth of the water. I watched prisoners be locked into cells and left to die. I watched the guy who made that decision get re-elected. I watched people jammed into a stadium and a convention center hold their crying children's hands, begging for water, as their grandmother sat dead in front of them. I watched as our President said he'd fix the levees, help rebuild, stay as long as it would take. I saw him turn his back and place hurdles in the way of recovery so high that many couldn't jump them. I watched our governor abdicate her power instead of turning into an Amazon warrior. I watched our Mayor turn recovery into a personal ATM for partying. I watched entire neighborhoods remain un-recovered and dark five years later. I watched white people cheer behind closed doors that many black people would never make it home. I watched as kids shot each other in the streets and barely anyone noticed as long as it all stayed contained in "those" neighborhoods.
I watched as Arizona militia men went a-huntin' for illegal immigrants. I watched as the news was full of fear that the Mexicans were gonna take all the jobs. You know, those jobs standing in the heat on the chili farms or fruit orchards, or the ones in the kitchens and nurseries of affluent families that everyone's lining up for. What? Your kids aren't just dying to be migrant workers and maids? You're kidding, right?
I watched as we slowly let corporations take over this country. I watched the Supreme Court say a corporation had the same rights as an individual and could donate whatever obscene amount they wanted to a political candidate. I watched as the banks sold air and paper numbers as good investments only to wind up forcing thousands of people out of their homes because they bought that song and dance. I watched as corporate owned coal mines ignored safety rules and killed some workers. I watched as none of them went to jail.
Now I'm watching as the same state that drowned in water five years ago becomes suffocated by oil. I watch the executives blame each other. I watch them ignore the 11 dead workers as though they didn't matter. I watch as they continue to lie and no one steps up with a plan and some action because there is none. I watch as the President I had great hopes for lets this continue after a month. I watch as the fishermen cry and a centuries old culture dies. I watch as an entire state is given over to the executioner and instead of being offered a merciful blindfold we see boom, pelicans that can't fly, families that can't eat, marshland laid waste. All this to feed our country's insatiable oil and cash hunger.
I watch video and screen shots that may be showing me how the ocean bottom blows up and crumbles. I watch and wail at my helplessness to fix it. I watch as we seem determined to steal every conceivable money making resource on earth, no matter the cost in human lives or damage to the planet we live on. I watch as bonuses are given for increasing a bottom line that does nothing to improve the lot of those who are victimized for it. I watch as stockholders become the only creatures who matter.
I'm sorry! You look a bit uncomfortable. Nevermind then. My faithlessness will not have an effect on you. None of that stuff I just said has anything to do with you. Go home. Climb into that SUV, step's kinda high, can I help you? There ya go. Hey look! It's only 6:30! You still have time to hit the grocery store and grab that shrimp from Thailand. You'll still make it home before E!Entertainment's special on Lindsay Lohan's latest court date airs. Not a problem. And you, Appleby's guy, their regional burgers menu will probably still offer some bastardization called a Cajun Burger Supreme or something.
Carry on. But don't look back. My snake hair will be writhing and you'll turn to stone.
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