Into the abyss of unacceptability

Sometimes you get advice you know is good but just can’t follow because you’re a special kind of asshole. That would describe me, and it’s the reason why I can’t just look the other way when I see stupid people doing evil, stupid things.

No doubt my life would be easier if I loved my racist relatives enough to give them a pass for helping to elect a guy who puts children who look an awful lot like my granddaughter into cages. I’d be a better human being if only I’d smile and walk away when acquaintances condemn my LGBTQ friends, or bray “What about white people?” when confronted with the reality that Black Lives Matter.

I’d be a happier person if only I’d let the insults roll off like water from a duck’s back when people denigrate my three-decades career in journalism, repeating Donald Trump’s lies about “Fake News” and the “Dishonest Liberal Media.”

You’ll get no argument from me when you say that looking the other way is the safe choice, the wise choice, the ulcer-free choice. But alas, mine is the more difficult path, the steep path choked with land mines and few, if any, rewards.

What kind of asshole am I?

The judgmental kind, the kind who goes through his Facebook “Friends List” like a hot wind from the Sahara, culling friend and family member alike for the high crime of Trumpism. “Why not just ‘snooze’ the ones who annoy you?” some ask. “That would be gentler because they wouldn’t even know!”

Ah, but therein lies the difference between a nice person and an asshole, I WANT them to know. I WANT them to consider that if my friendship ever meant anything to them at all, which is doubtful, then their racism and support for Trump at least cost them some small thing.

What kind of asshole am I?

The kind who writes letters to my Democratic senators and governor after unmasked postal employees tried to kill me with their COVID breath. A nice person would have just sucked it down and said, “Have a nice day,” but that’s not me. See, I’m the kind of asshole who knows letter-writing is probably futile but does it anyway for the snowball’s chance that it just might cause some Trumper a moment of misery.

What kind of asshole am I?

The kind who sees grocery store employees not wearing masks as per store policy, then tracks down the manager and reports them. A nice person might worry that maybe those people will get fired, but that’s not my concern. I’m an asshole, the kind who thinks that if those workers don’t care about infecting me, then I’m not going to care if they find themselves suddenly unemployed.

What kind of asshole am I?

The kind who creates dozens of memes for use on a Facebook page I manage. Even though my efforts are amateurish, I’m painfully aware that even the good guys don’t subscribe to legitimate news sources, and I have to somehow keep them motivated until November, all in 20 words or less. A nice person wouldn’t keep pounding the same tired theme, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, but I’m not a nice person, I’m a mean guy, an asshole who wants Trump gone at any personal cost.

What kind of asshole am I?

The kind who gives a small portion of his retirement income to Joe Biden every month even though Joe Biden wasn’t my first choice. I’m the kind of asshole who doesn’t mind choosing “the lesser of two evils,” especially when Trump is 50 million times worse than any evil we have ever seen.

What kind of asshole am I?

The kind who writes more than 130 articles for The Shinbone Star and edits more than 1,000 others, even while knowing it’s a waste of time because our readership is so small and no Trumper will ever be persuaded to change. Good people, logical people, would have given up long ago, but I’m not a nice person. I’m a mean guy, an asshole who persists because the chance to inflict a little bit of pain on a Trumper is always worth the effort.

Let’s talk about pain.

Pain is abundant in the United States of America, where COVID-19, unemployment, rampant racism, systemic ignorance, environmental rape and the dismantling of the world’s preeminent democracy have combined to create a catastrophe that can be summed up in one word: Trump.

The 45th president has made our nation a train wreck, but a train wreck that belies the old expression as the type of event from which one cannot look away.

Good people, wise people, smart people have already looked away. They’ve stopped reading or following the news, as if what they don’t know won’t hurt them. They say they hate racism, but only from people they don’t know. Like the old Catholic Church, good people grant indulgences to their racist friends and family because to call them on it might make waves, and making waves is not what nice people do.

Too often it is the wave-makers, the resisters, the people protesting in the streets who are seen as the ones causing all the strife. I proudly say I am one of them, and I thank the gods for assholes everywhere who refuse to acquiesce.

We are like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gandalf on the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, watching as the horror bears down. “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” we cry, and though we may be hurled into the abyss of unacceptability, we resist until we win or die friendless and alone.

Whatever the cost we will pay it. Because that is what assholes do.

11 thoughts on “Into the abyss of unacceptability

  1. I read, and like, your column every day. You put a lot of work into it and it shows. It’s a ‘light at the end of the tunnel” kind of column. No, you won’t convince Trump supporters or your Trump relatives, but you do remind them that there is a universe outside the Trumpian world. Biden: I think he got the nomination because a lot of Democrats thought he had a better chance of beating Trump than their preferred candidates. I voted for Warren, and after Biden won I thought maybe he was a safer choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support and kind words. We give it our best shot. Sometimes we miss the target, other times we don’t. But the important thing for all of us is to keep trying!


  2. I am the kind of asshole who has read this blog most days, and has commented some
    , too. I am the asshole who has deleted people from my social media presences without apology. I am the asshole who called out a cashier a a local store who berated a customer who used food stamps; and then I went to the manager, and to the store owner. I am the asshole who stood between a belligerent man and a woman wearing an hajib and told him that his comments to her were unacceptable and that he needed to stop. I called my senators and told them to DO SOMETHING.
    I have written postcards, and made calls, and I WILL VOTE. That man is a danger to society and to the planet. He HAS TO GO.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Cheryl. I’m not sure the great John Lewis would approve of my methods, but I hope he’d at least approve of my passion. Perhaps we could all maintain some assholery for just another three months!

      Liked by 1 person

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