I’m sorry. You’re not going to inherit a country you can be proud of, if in fact this was ever was a country you could be proud of.
You’re going to inherit a shithole country, run by shithole fascists, who have been elected by shithole racists.1All shithole fascists are shithole racists, but I am not sure if all shithole racists are shithole fascists. I don’t know how your generation will ever clean up the shithole mess white, mostly-male-but-some-female boomers have made of this country, but I’m sorry that we’ve left it to you, and I revulse at the small, supporting, non-speaking, cameo role I played in the destruction.
I’m sorry that we’ve surrounded you with people who support this ongoing nightmare, and I leave it to each of you to decide what you are going to do about that. I’m embarrassed for them, and about them.
The only reason I’m glad you got to see it up close, and see how truly evil it is, is that you’ll never make the mistakes that I did—you’ll avoid the people I associated with, you’ll think different thoughts than I thought, and you’ll love the things that I hated. At least you learned from watching the pain caused by subverting my values and consorting with low, vain, and conscienceless men.
If I could really express to you the depth of my feeling right now, I’m not sure whether it would inspire or terrify you. The Constitution is no longer a protection—it has been turned against us by a generation of men who have no morals, no beliefs, and no interest other than pure, unadulterated self-interest. As you know, I can give you no comfort with regard to these men. They will take everything. They will give nothing. They will quote scripture and speak piety, and the words will be forked and rest like ice on the spine.
Their supporters are no better. They know, but they do not care, because they believe this country belongs to them and them alone, and they can do what they wish with it.
I am grateful for your courage to stand up to people older than yourselves. You are smarter than them. You are braver than them. And you are the only chance we have now. Study lives like Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s. Like Jackie Robinson’s. Like John Lewis’s. I knew Jackie because he was a Dodger. I didn’t know these other people, and that was a categorical flaw. I wasted my life on the wrong people, fighting for the wrong side, all wasted, washed-up, and overweight white men in political spandex, pretending to be heroes. They pretend sophistication, but they are crude and base.
I’m fighting for the right side now, but you get to start from the beginning. You don’t have to carry the baggage and stain of collaboration around with you. Like I do.
I’m reminded of what your cousin said about Camp Bullfrog. We knew for years it might be threatened by fire. We were just relieved we didn’t start it ourselves.
But I helped start this fire, it is raging out of control, and even further cataclysmic damage will be done. There is no insurance policy.
I used to sit in my government classes in college and think “Why don’t we believe the things that happen in other countries couldn’t happen here?” Now we have the answer. And, what’s more, we know why I didn’t have the answer then.
I was so happy on Election Day 1994. Karma waits, but it always wins.
People ask me what comes next. I don’t know. Madison told us that factions were the end of republics. They are. One could argue we are there already, with a moribund, sclerotic Congress and a runaway political party not even willing to test its already minority mandate before shoving another conservative cipher into a lifetime Supreme Court appointment. The system was not built to withstand this kind of strain. To paraphrase Scotty in better times, “she canna take much more o’ this, Cap’n!”
But the white men in the spandex will never stop because they never do. They are in control, and modern Christianity justifies their lordship. It is all a demented game, as in 2008. Only there’s no way to declare bankruptcy on a corrupt and wastrel government, as could be done to Lehman.
And they have the tanks, but even that isn’t enough. They openly tell their voters to buy ammunition, I suppose in case the National Guard runs out. Such is their naked arrogance and aggression.
We, of course, cannot afford to waste time with such Butch-and-the-Sundance-Kid histrionics. We know who has power in this country, and to oppose them with force would be folly. But we have learned. Nothing earns more loyalty in this world than simply being a fat, white boomer in a stupid red hat.
See you at the reprogramming camps.