I Can't Dig Deeper Right Now

It's not just about what happened in Texas. When do we admit the American Experiment is a failure?

I Can't Dig Deeper Right Now
Photo by Mario Sessions / Unsplash

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I woke up feeling hungover from the news out of Texas, that kind of throbbing feeling when the consciousness of The Terrible Thing That Is Real comes to you and you wish you could claw your way back to unconsciousness. 

Today is a glasses day instead of a contacts day due to how much crying I’m doing.

There have been many times in the last 2+ years that I could find a silver lining or dig deep to grasp shreds of optimism. Or at least see a horizon where things might get better. Today I have nothing. American society is a financial, emotional, physical and reproductive abuser of families. Our social contract offers us literally nothing. Our government is held hostage by a political minority with insatiable drive to control and terrorize people over what happens in their uteruses while men terrorize the vulnerable with guns. For our citizenship we get mountains of debt, a deeply racist and sexist society and a safety net made out of wet tissue paper. If you wrote a dystopian horror movie that sought to try women for murder over losing fertilized embryos while making it hard to find the only food that can be bought to feed babies while refusing to do anything meaningful to stop young children from being slaughtered at school, it would not be a plot. It would just be utter nonsense. 

Today at my oldest’s elementary school, it was a pre-planned “superhero” themed day, with kids parading into school dressed to use superhuman strength to defeat villains. It feels a little too on the nose on this Wednesday, in a society where adults do nothing meaningful to protect them. And no, I didn’t talk to my six year old about what happened. I’m going to wait to see if he asks because the only choice is to lie and tell him that I’ll be sure something horrible like this won’t happen to him.

As you feel your rage and your sadness, know you are not alone. I think that’s all I can offer right now.

Nothing we’re experiencing with the shooting in Texas, or Buffalo, or at a church in California is new. Perhaps this particular horrific school shooting at an elementary school hits different for me and a generation of millennial parents who didn’t have children yet when we saw those sweet Sandy Hook school pictures flash on the TV screen. Maybe it hits different because back then we thought that maybe a tragedy of that magnitude would finally bring about change. Now we know it doesn’t. And to feel it all over again is to know it didn’t have to be like this. And yet it still is.

To say this is the last straw doesn’t feel right. I ran out of straws a long time ago. 

I can hear Angela’s voice in my head, saying that America has been a violent place that wasn’t working for poor people, people of color, for a very long time. Decades and centuries. But I feel a level of despair that I never felt when Trump was president, because back then I could tap into hope for a better world when he wasn’t. 

The deeply fatalistic question that I keep turning over in my mind  (that I got at some in my last newsletter) is at what point do we declare the disease terminal? If we admit that the American Experiment is a failure, what should we do next?


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