It wasn’t hard to sleep last night and I wasn’t restless per se, but I am feeling existentially pensive about all the soldiers in DC, etc. I can’t decide if I wish I was still in the National Guard right now or not. I was irritated during my stint to realize that the Guard, originally intended for doing important things at home, was pretty much entirely soaked up by oil wars, or whatever all those conflicts were about. That’s a drop in the bucket of grievances now I suppose, but still a grievance. They should create an organization of trained, highly effective people, that directly benefits the people in their home state, in disasters and other situations, and call it…the Actual National Guard?
Anyway, I’m just burning with curiosity to know what their orders are. The Guard in DC, I mean. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.
It was strange to read an extended family email thread that’s going around, last night. This is the sort of faux-aristocratic side of my family, that talks about tending bird feeders and transcribing letters for fun; not the other side of my family, that’s serving time and/or negotiating life with the epileptic and perhaps dangerous pit bulls left behind by the family members serving time. I didn’t contribute last time this email thread went around, during the early lockdown last year, and I guess I won’t contribute this time, although my dad did, thankfully. Our family member that connects us to this branch is dead, ie my mom, so we’re sort of still part of it but sort of not. Also, my mom had really made it a point to move West and do her own thing, probably because she didn’t have the requisite knack for talking about bird feeders in the middle of a national meltdown. Nor do I.
Anyway, the whole experience caused me to have this wonderful journaling reverie, last night. We had all moved inside; the evening had been breathless and still and therefore buggy, but then after sunset a deluge began. It’s wonderful to sit on the lanai when it rains! So, the reverie was like: wouldn’t it be nice to get the fire equipment contracting business up and running, and when we buy a towing vehicle, buy something we can actually do some touring and visiting in. Like a small, powerful motorhome, or a pickup with an in-bed camper. (We have to have room for our barbell and plates, obviously. We left an entire set in Arizona for exactly this reason.) And then, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to visit family and extended family on a semi-regular basis, during the autumn. We’re not hurting for seasons, here in Hawaii, since we have just the one good one, but I wouldn’t mind a crunchy leaf, country road walk, every now and then. As impotent as I seem to be, on this family email thread, I would actually love to see these people. The last time we were all together, it was Thanksgiving, and we all rented a big nice house in the woods. My aunt and I smuggled in some vodka; my Mormon cousin-in-law tore our room apart on a flimsy pretext, correctly suspecting we’d smuggled in vodka, but was unable to find it, because I’d stuffed it down into my tall, autumn boots. Good times.
Anyway, yes — I’d love to…do normal things. I’d love to reconnect with extended family members WITH Nick. All my extended family just knows me as being perma-single, because I showed up to things for years, decades even, single. Nick and I have been together for give or take 2 years, and one of those years was a fake pandemic, so yeah. I think everyone likes to have that moment where they found their partner and they get to sort of show them off to family and friends, and if I had to wait until my mid-forties to have that moment, then hey — even more grateful.
So then it occurred to me that there might even be a future where this enormous elephant in the room of being a Trump supporter might dissolve, in a better future understanding of exactly what happened and why, the last couple of years. And on the side of the family with the epileptic pit bulls and prison sentences, this is no issue and never will be, but on the faux aristocracy side, something cathartic will have to happen.
And it’s odd to find myself in this position at all. Before I even gave Trump and what he was actually saying and doing, in office, a chance — in other words, even when I was still passively receiving all that in a predigested form, courtesy of the MSM — I was still saying, and writing, things that felt logical and important and even non-political, to me. Things like: why isn’t anyone talking about the fact that you’re much more likely to have an adverse encounter with Coronavirus if you’re fat and/or sick? Why are they scaring perfectly healthy people into thinking this is the worst thing ever? You’re more likely to die of the seasonal flu, so if all this is justified, then why don’t we do it every year for the flu, too? What’s so special about this that we have to be scared instead of thinking? Catastrophize instead of acting rationally; be convinced we’re vulnerable when, by and large, we’re not?
And of course, as you probably know or can guess, questions like this made me a target! And the most vicious, vitriolic possible objection, or censure, to my asking these questions and thinking for myself was: what are you, a fucking Trump supporter now?
I was like, huh?
And then, as the year wore on and I did my own research — god, imagine that! I did my own research! — and I became, honest to god, an actual Trump supporter, with a MAGA hat and everything — oh, and by the way, that was a shit show, when I made a picture of me in a MAGA hat my Facebook profile picture. By that time I was on the offensive, ready to flush the remaining carbon buildup out of my life. And I don’t mean you’re carbon buildup if you don’t support Trump, lol — I mean you’re carbon buildup if you’ve known me personally for years, decades, and 2020 rolls around and I continue to do and be and think and evolve exactly as I always have, being as honest and forthright as I always have been, except now you frame me as a racist science-denier pro-lifer evangelist fanatic (I’ll get to that part), and attempt to shame and harass me into the same level of submission, compliance, and backwards think you’ve fallen prey to. That’s carbon buildup, or just sad, and anyway can’t be helped.
So then, yeah, the abortion thing picked up speed somehow! I don’t mean I focused on it. I’ve just always known I would never get an abortion, and luckily I’ve never had to test that resolve, because I installed an IUD forever ago and haven’t been promiscuous in any case, so again — nothing about me has changed. But yeah, a couple people now came out of the woodwork accusing me of, like, trampling a woman’s right to choose or whatever. The only blog on the subject I’ve written, to date, is called “Just Get an IUD” because I don’t understand why women don’t just get an IUD. I feel like I’ve been pretty fucking clear about that. IUD’s work great, and don’t involve chopping a fetus up in utero and sucking it out. It’s a win/win.
But the weirdest part of all of it is just continuing to be me, the process of me, encountering contrast and forming opinions and preferences in keeping with my intellectual and spiritual ideals, as per usual, and then boom: in 2020 everyone gets mind-controlled into telling me I’m mind-controlled if I don’t say the magic phrases. Lmao!!! It’s literally that simple. “Say these magic phrases or you’re out of the club house.” And the magic phrases are:
If you’re not actively anti-racist, you’re racist.
All whites are racist.
A woman’s right to choose.
Trump is a narcissistic sociopathic fascist who won’t condemn white supremacy.
All cops are bastards.
My mask isn’t for my protection, it’s for yours.
Masks save lives.
Stay home stay safe.
[something-something] anti-Vaxxers [something-something]
And other phrases of that nature. So the most upsetting part, I suppose, is not being allowed to define myself conceptually for others? I mean, it was hard enough before, and it’s just off the table now. It’s just a binary arrangement where, unless you accept your body and mind being the blank receptacle — the blank check, really — for whatever magical phrases are proscribed, now and in perpetuity, then you’re a social outcast. A heathen. Which is obviously preferable to the alternative.
So anyway, with that dynamic going on, let alone perma-COVID ie muzzle training, something as simple as looking forward to an autumn visit with extended family members, without masks or massive perceived ideological tensions seems so…overly ambitious.
There’s such a muscular impulse to deny that something’s really wrong, isn’t there? I find myself doing it, even. “Maybe I’m just being dramatic! Maybe everything’s going just fine and election years always feel crazy” — I have no idea if that’s true, I never paid attention before, except I did notice 2016 seeming a bit heated — “what if it turns out everything’s basically fine and somehow I look really stupid at the end of this. Maybe I should just talk about tending bird feeders and transcribing old letters.”
But then! Nick and I drive to Waipio lookout and see a family heading down the slanting path, and all the kids have their masks on, even the little tiny girl child, barely old enough to walk, and I feel like I could fuckin go ballistic. It’s heartbreaking. I sleep through the night just fine, but every time I wake up I feel oddly conscious of the National Guard in DC. For all I know, everything might be “fine”?, but it sure as hell ain’t normal. And I thank god I’m not some cuck, somewhere, being a Portland riot apologist, as has befallen some of my friends. God, what a fate.
My marksmanship coach in the National Guard, Sergeant Derrick Martin, was a really great hang. Loved that guy. He had his own range and gunsmith shop, and he lived there on the premises in a very shabby and epically battered single wide trailer. All he cared about was guns, and all things martial. His formica kitchen was dominated by dirty coffee cups and an enormous 5-stage press, for repacking bullet casings. I went to pee in the narrow, linoleum-floored bathroom, and the bathtub was overflowing with soft and hard rifle cases.
Anyway, Derrick was taking a self-defense class at the time, and we talked about it. It wasn’t a special set of movements, like karate or jiu jitsu, and it didn’t involve any weapons or tactical scenarios per se. It was barebones — like ‘oh shit, something’s happening, what do I do’. So, Derrick told me that one thing they emphasized over and over in the class was that nearly everyone wastes a bunch of time denying that anything is happening. It’s a very strong impulse, and so it turns out you have a big advantage in self defense, no matter the odds or circumstances, if you just train yourself to be someone who can accept: something’s happening and I need to respond.
He taught me some other things from the class — things like, all these sparring classes don’t really prepare you for the fact that assailants are gonna come from behind, and it’s probably more important to learn to fight on your back than on your feet, because chances are you’ll be on your back before you know it, because getting for-reals attacked isn’t like squaring off in a video game. But the thing about wasting time denying anything’s happening really stuck with me. Clearly — I mean, I was what, 21? 22, then? More than 20 years ago. And I thought: well shit. Seems silly to sit there and tell yourself it’s not happening, if someone’s attacking you or threatening you.
So yeah. It’s really easy to “stay safe” in denialism right now, especially after a solid year of having our most sheep-like impulses valorized and enforced. AND it’s really easy to catastrophize, to swing the other way. I’m trying — I’ve been trying all year, and all my life before that — to stay in reality. Which often involves acknowledging that the normal behavior I observe around me is patently insane. It’s the worst it’s ever been this year, though, with the Left gaslighting everybody and accusing Trump and Trump supporters (it always comes back to the TDS) of doing what they themselves are doing. Fruitful debate is effectively hamstrung before it can even begin.
And the funniest part: I’m always like, “Damn, this one guy really wrecked y’all’s lives! Turns out the only thing standing between you and the bonfire of all you hold sacred was Trump *not* being president, all your life up until 2016!”
So yeah — wouldn’t it be nice to have a crunchy leaf autumn walk with friends and family again someday.