Believe the grin of white supremacy

by renegademama

I am so tired of America demanding I not believe that which is front of my own eyes.

I’ve written about this before, about the gaslighting of America, but my god, it’s coming at us from the fucking left, too.

Let’s talk about those Covington boys. Let’s talk about the sneering video and then the counter interpretation and then the counter interpretation to the counter interpretation. Whatever.

I don’t want to recount the details in excruciating detail because it doesn’t matter. IT DOES NOT MATTER. Yes, I understand some Black Hebrew Israelites were slinging terrible slurs at the #MAGA teens.

And that’s wrong. Yes. Excellent. Thank you.

I also understand that this has no material effect on what happened there, other than to give Trumpers and white middle-of-the-roaders everything they need to frame those boys as victims and uphold the white patriarchy they embody.

We all saw that teenager’s sneer. We all know that grin, because it’s not new. Those assholes aren’t new. I know them. You know them. We all went to school with them. We encounter them daily still.

That is the shit-eating grin of white supremacy.

At this point you have to be downright delusional to argue that Trump supporters are anything other than:

  1. Outright racists; or
  2. Accepting of racists as long as it brings them something they want.

And the line between those two is thin as hell.

 

Okay, so we see a group of Trump-supporting youth sent to march for “life” (hahaha) or, in more accurate language, against women’s reproductive rights, and then we see them chanting and blocking and sneering at brown people, and moderates are like let us not jump to any conclusions.

Motherfucker the conclusion has already been jumped. IT JUMPED TO ITSELF. The conclusions were jumped at the appearance of the red #MAGA hats.

At this point, it is unequivocally true that wearing a Trump hat is screaming into the world: “I AM AT THE VERY LEAST COOL WITH RACISM.”

So get the hell out of here with “Let’s not jump to conclusions.” Those are tiny misogynistic racists acting like tiny misogynistic racists who will become big misogynistic racists just like their parents, Brett Kavanaugh.

Yes, both parents are Brett Kavanaugh.

The willingness of people to show up for these boys. To minimize their racism. Why? Because people were mean to the boys?

Is the entire context of this situation – namely, boys screaming I AM A BIGOT AND LOATHE WOMEN’S BODILY AUTONOMY – erased because they were called names?

 

Once again, we bring knives to a gun fight. We are so fucking quick to let them mostly off the hook. We are so quick to see them as victims and declare that we just shouldn’t “ruin their lives!”

These are Hitler youth and we’re worried about their futures.

We are staring into the face of fascism and saying “Let’s just hear out both sides.” We are staring at babies in cages demanding the officers have a chance to explain. We are Donald Trump saying surely there are some “very fine” Nazis. We are getting angry that Antifa broke ATM machines during a white nationalist rally. We are yelling at #BlackLivesMatter protesters for shutting down our freeways.

These boys did not happen in a vacuum. They cannot be separated from the social situation surrounding them.

And those hats, those boys, hold all of it. All of that context.

They are pussy-grabbing.

They are “Why is the term ‘white supremacist’ a bad thing?”

They are “brown people are dangerous.”

They are babies in cages.

They are “laziness is a trait in blacks.” – Trump, 1999

They are “shithole countries.”

They are remove access to birth control but also abortion but also you need to sleep with your husband at all times.

They are “that rapist has such a promising future ahead of him.”

They are the endless lies streaming out of Trump’s mouth.

They are the deconstruction of the free press. 

They are the government shutdown and government officials calling it a “free vacation.”

They are the trans military ban.

They are the shit-eating grins of white supremacy, and we saw it with our own fucking eyes, and instead of recognizing this, people are concerned about the boys’ feelings, with making sure we aren’t mean to them, that we get them every benefit of the doubt, that we protect their fragile little selves.

 

They made clear where they stand when they put those fucking hats on. Why are we so hesitant to make clear where WE stand?

They’re over there screaming “I hate brown people!” and moderates are like, “Oh, honey. Were those black people mean to you? I get it, sweet boy who looks like my son, you were overwhelmed. It was complicated.”

Oh, you were praying for your safety around those mean black men? TOTALLY GET IT NOW, JOSH.

You think the Trump-sycophant GOP is telling everyone not to jump to any conclusions about brown people? About women who say, “I have been raped?” (It’s a very dangerous time for men, you see.) You think they’re extending grace and decency to the children ripped out of their mothers’ arms at the border? Are they respecting Americans while they feed us endless lies to further their nationalistic, authoritarian agenda?

I’m not saying “They did it to us so let’s do it to them.” What I’m saying is that we need to stop playing nice while these motherfuckers are happy to let us die, to kill us, to decimate democracy, to remove my daughter’s rights over her own body.

Fuck the expectation that I allow these assholes a way out from themselves because some PR firm wrote an adorable letter stating his shit-eating grin was actually the face of a humbly praying, scared young man.

I am tired of not calling this what it is: Racists acting like racists, gleefully.

We will gaslight the hell out of people to protect white patriarchy. All we have to do is flip the narrative to turn the white man into the victim and boom! Miracles happen! Now #MAGA smirk guy is all over TV, adored across the land.

No more unearned “grace and courtesy.”

I have an idea: If you want grace and courtesy, stop supporting a neo-fascist who refers to human beings as “vermin.”

If you want grace and courtesy, speak out against what your party has become. Speak out against this racism.

Sure, not every Trump supporter is an overt white supremacist, but every overt white supremacist – KKK, neo-nazis, white nationalists, proud boys – is a Trump supporter.

Mere coincidence?

Nah, it’s because that is the party, the platform, Trump himself, and a person wearing that hat is loudly declaring they are just fine belonging to the party of Nazis.

I don’t care that they’re teenagers. They are the face of the next wave of everything disgusting about our country, and we’re over here worried about paving the way for them to succeed. Actions have consequences, and all these boys learned, as well as all the boys watching them on TV, is that they can be race-based bullies and not a goddamn thing will happen to them.

In fact, they will be coddled and celebrated.

Can we please for the love of god stop being so fucking “polite,” stop playing by the rules in the name of some faux wokeness we’ve invented for ourselves? Can we recognize the part of ourselves that defends white patriarchy? Can we face our own lingering investment in white supremacy and the benefits it affords us?

We need to fucking stand for something, just like they do.

All of this middle-of-the-road false equivalence delicate flower bullshit is partly what got us into this mess. The GOP is a flaming pile of dog shit, but they sure as hell own that pile, don’t they? They have built an entire platform on bigotry but goddamn that message is clear, ain’t it?

The Trump GOP stands for evil but by god it STANDS FOR IT.

Can we do that? Can we be absolutely unwavering in our fight against Trump and everything he stands for?

We aren’t being deep over here in the gray area. We aren’t being a “bigger person.”

Change comes through those willing to stand on the right side of history even if it makes them uncomfortable, and they do it every time.

They believe that which sneers before their very eyes.

 

 

****

Hey, hi. I wrote a book, and the paperback comes out May 7, with new content in the back. 

Check it out.

51 Comments | Posted in politics | January 23, 2019

Low-hanging Resolutions

by renegademama

You know when you leave a bar of soap in water too long and the bottom gets all squishy and useless, becoming at that point exactly what a bar of soap should not be? Well, as you probably know, that useless degenerative paste is our President. I mean, if soap scum could be a white supremacist, misogynistic, neo-fascist with poor grammar skills.

So everybody settle down with the New Year’s resolution situation.

America, take it easy. Not only do you have slippery soap scum as President, you probably have at least one family member excited about it.

For two years, my American friends committed to reality as opposed to collective partisan delusion, you’ve endured a President who behaves worse than you’d ever let your kids behave while listening to you mother say things like, “Yes, he’s a buffoon, but look at the economy!”

For two years, you’ve wondered what the hell is wrong with these people, how it’s mentally and spiritually possible for them to believe Captain Pussy-Grabber is the man leading our country “in a better direction.”

For two years, you’ve watched Trump hold his Mein Kampf rallies with thousands of gleefully hopping white people chanting hate rhymes, and while you watch them, you realize you’re supposed to raise kids on a planet with these emoji-loving humans, the same ones who lie in bed at night inventing pizza pedophile Clinton crimes.

(Yes, hopping. Whether figuratively or literally, they seem like the type of people who hop.)

And here we are at the end of 2018 and everyone is telling us to “do better for the New Year.” Have we not endured enough without the addition of arbitrary self-improvement requirements?

America with decency, you have done enough. You’ve run a motherfucking marathon barefoot on Legos.

We’ve survived, and we’re tired. Personally, I’m sticking with low-hanging resolutions and suggest you consider the same.

Here are mine:

  1. Cut down my coffee consumption for a “more healthy alternative.” I’m kidding. I will however consider buying organic half-n-half for my six cups of daily coffee. If it’s on sale.
  2. Continue my streak of occasionally allowing a vigorous unfollow to replace the complex, nuanced diatribe I just wrote to a woman in Minnesota with feathered hair who thinks Nickelback is a good band and Jesus elected Trump.
  3. Buy some fucking bins for something.
  4. Put some shit in the bins.
  5. Fold a fitted sheet once.
  6. Wear my gym clothes three times a week.
  7. Turn forty in March.
  8. Complete ten pages in one of those eclectic adult coloring books of jungles or fish or whatever.
  9. Watch every episode of Black-ish next to my children because it’s bonding.
  10. Take 150 baths.
  11. Yell at my children 2% less.
  12. Do not eat simple carbohydrates I’ve discovered in the kitchen between 1am-4am because I can’t sleep thinking about the nation degenerating into steaming piles of dog shit. Eat peanut butter or cheese or something.
  13. Convert three more people to the use of CBD vape pens to treat their insomnia because there is no joy like hearing your 69-year-old aunt ask you where she can get that “weed sucking thing.”
  14. Only spend thirty minutes a day scrolling trending topics on Twitter then staring out the window wondering where it all went wrong.
  15. DO NOT READ EMOJI-OBSESSED TRUMP SUPPORTER #QANON MORONS AT ALL EVER JANELLE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EVEN IF YOU LIKE PAIN WHICH YOU CLEARLY DO BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEEM TO STOP.
  16. Make a vision board of ways Mitch McConnell may face a sudden and untimely demise.
  17. Make a vision board of ways we can help Ruth Bader Ginsburg not die.
  18. Read books that aim to not make me smarter.
  19. Put stuff in my phone calendar and then look at it occasionally.
  20. Miss three school commitments instead of five.
  21. Go on nature walks with my kids once a month, or put on a shark documentary or stand in the backyard grass or whatever.
  22. Recommit myself to my marriage by not divorcing for another year.
  23. Try to remember not to let my third-grader wear my “I gave a fuck once” socks to school again.

Low-hanging resolutions, motherfuckers. For Jesus.

 

***

ACTUAL 2019 GOAL: Write another book. Or something. 

Until then, will you check out the one I already wrote?

24 Comments | Posted in .....I make bad decisions... | December 31, 2018

Stages of efficient Christmas decorating for peak family bonding

by renegademama

 

  1. On the first Saturday of December, decide to “put lights up” and “get the tree today” and prepare for it by lying on your bed and texting a friend about her afternoon plans and how you’d rather do that.
  2. Wonder if there’s some way you can avoid “getting the tree today.”
  3. Keep doing that until 2pm.
  4. Realize if you don’t get the tree today you’ll have to do it on a weekday after school, which sounds like hell.
  5. Head out to locally owned Christmas tree farm at 2:30pm because you are a thoughtful progressive who wants to support local business. Engage in deep tree analysis based on needle-type, bushy/not bushy, whether or not there’s a “good side,” how many holes exist in the branches, how dry it already is, and, my personal favorite, the fucking price.
  6. Find tree whole family likes only to realize it’s $80. Head to second family owned Christmas tree farm because you refuse to give your money to Home Depot.
  7. Experience same at second place.
  8. Feel your soul leaving your body as you drive to Home Depot.
  9. Find seventeen trees that five out of six of your family members like while trying not to lose toddler in tree rows and/or parking lot since you are, in fact, in a fucking parking lot. Listen to your teenager shame you for having no soul whatsoever, buying a tree from a corporate parking lot “farm.” To which you respond, “I know. I felt it leave my body.”
  10. Realize you no longer care what the tree looks like or who hates it and finally buy one. For $40. Thank you, Home Depot.
  11. Get home and remember you didn’t clear a spot for the tree or get the Christmas boxes out because you fucked around on your phone instead.
  12. Clear a spot for the tree and bring all decorations in and untangle lights and want to die.
  13. At 4:45pm, begin putting lights up on the house. At 5pm, notice it’s dark. Ask yourself why you laid on your bed all morning instead of addressing your life.
  14. At 5:15pm, watch a teenager scream and storm into the house while you point out that he’s “ruining family bonding time.” In doing so, make things immediately worse.
  15. Argue with your partner about light placement, find yourself unable to locate necessary extension cords.
  16. Drive to Walmart to buy extension cords. If you had soul left, it’s gone now.
  17. 6:30pm! Get lights up! Nailed it. It’s super janky but who the fuck cares?
  18. Feel Christmas spirit as you stand in front of the house Griswold-style and watch daddy flip the lights on. Think about how your 17-year-old is nearing the last years she’ll do this, maybe. Cry?
  19. Watch the other teenager get angry. Good feeling gone at second storm into house.
  20. Want to go to bed but remember tree situation.
  21. Decide you just need to get the tree in water so it’s not a fire hazard in two weeks, and we’ll decorate tomorrow “I promise!”
  22. Search garage for tree stand.
  23. Do not find tree stand.
  24. Remember that last year you got rid of tree stand because it was a piece of shit.
  25. Wish you could do life over again or at least that single moment because a piece of shit stand is more than you have now.
  26. Yell at somebody.
  27. Listen to husband offer to take all the kids to Target to buy a tree stand. Tell him he is your Lord and Savior.
  28. Clean the fucking house a little since you neglected it all day, build a fire, and really feel that Christmas spirit, alone, in the house, in sweet, sweet silence. Alone. In the house. How Christmas is supposed to fucking be. Wait.
  29. Watch your husband return. Move shit out of the way for the tree. Puke at what you find beneath furniture.
  30. Observe your husband on the ground trying to get the new tree stand to work. Suggest he stop saying “This motherfucker does not work!”
  31. Sit on couch and offer super helpful directions that increase “motherfucker” utterances.
  32. Have one kid hold tree while you stand across the room and attempt to get it straight. Eventually also realize you don’t care.
  33. The next day, when you’re supposed to be decorating it, write a blog post to your friends.

And, you’re done!

*****

Hey! Today is the last day to buy my ebook for $2.99

on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Don’t miss that shit!

(It goes back to $13.99 tomorrow.)

 

 

 

12 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | December 2, 2018

Some things I hope for you, daughter, on your seventeenth birthday

by renegademama

You were in your car-seat and I was driving around a corner in the post office parking lot, getting ready to throw some letters in the drive-by mailbox. It was then that it hit me: My mother loved me the way I love you. She was all wrapped up in me – air, life, soul – I held all that for her.

I called my mother. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I never knew.”

Your tiny body. Your little self. I was 22. You were two weeks old.

And when I got onto that road, I thought about 18 years. I thought how I got 18 years with you in my house, at least, and a lifetime as your mother, and then, that day, and for so many days after, those 18 years stretched in front of me like a wild, eternal road.

Today you turn seventeen.

I could write what it feels like to see you standing in a doorway, your face suddenly drawn with wisdom, your eyes echoing more than a reflection of daddy of me. When did that happen? I guess that happens.

Your refusal to buy suede cleaner from Amazon because you “don’t want to give Jeff Bezos more money.” Your phone-banking in the midterms. Your gleeful pre-voting registration. Your disdain for single-use plastics.

I see your heart. Your diligence and teenage clarity and energy. I remember when things were straightforward.

I see the muscles in your arms and legs and the way your hair falls across your shoulders.

You’re more of my friend, now, than you’ve ever been. I’m your mother, but we laugh like friends, sisters. And we fight like that, too. When it’s over, we laugh about our tempers being the same. You say “I got this from you!” And I can’t argue. We try to be better together.

You drive now. I watch you pull away from the house and I’m reminded of those clichéd movies. The fear you feel when the daughter drives away. It’s true.

You learned to drive a stick shift. You ride your mountain bike even when blood runs down your legs. You joined cross-country and nearly puke after races.

Your Twitter feed is my favorite ever. You comment on my Instagram and I feel a little like a super star.

Eighteen years.

Not yet. Not yet.

It’s getting close. It makes me think.

I hope you know you don’t have to leave, and you don’t have to stay. I hope you know the screaming matches are just as they should be and we’re alright. I hope you know how happy I am you agree we must always say “I love you” before we leave the house, no matter how mad we are.

Those must be the last words because sometimes they are the last words.

I hope you never take any shit from men. I hope if you’re harassed you’ll raise hell. I hope if you’re grabbed you’ll scream. I hope you never accept the things I accepted. The years coming your way, these are the ones when it all goes down.

I hope you know we’re here to kick some ass for you.

I hope you’ll wear make-up if you want and never wear it if you don’t want and I hope you’ll get into tight clothes if you want and I hope you’ll wear hoodies if you want and I hope you’ll know your body as your friend.

There were so many things I thought were decided for me. There were so many things I thought I had to appreciate. Attention from men, mostly. Their “insights.” Even when I didn’t want it. I thought I should be grateful. I thought I should be quiet.

A male elder, a family member, told me once my voice was “like sandpaper. It grates on people.”

I hope your voice is like sandpaper. I hope you fucking grate on people. I hope you speak no matter what and I hope maybe I have shown you what that looks like, and that we can survive.

I hope you study what you love and trust that will be enough.

I hope you know money is necessary but also so is art.

I hope you have four babies or no babies and don’t expect fulfillment either way.

I hope you always come home, or go as far away as you must, and I hope you know you aren’t responsible for us, for our happiness, for our joy.

We are whole. We are fine. We are yours.

Here, or there.

I hope you know I never want to let you go, not because of what I get from you, because you define or complete me, but because I love hanging out with you, my girl, your sense of humor, your horrible puns, the way you fold Arlo into your arms and announce, “You are the cutest and best and I would die for you.”

Do you know what that feels like? Do you know what it feels like to see you do that? To see you, my first child, the one who felt the most of my alcoholism, who remembers, who still has a box in her room of all the letters I sent while gone – do you know what it feels like to see you love? To see you scooping up a toddler and smothering him with kisses?

A family. The first and the last.

A family that’s become itself. A family that you “aren’t ready to leave.”

You said that the other day with tears in your eyes, thinking about your seventeenth birthday.

I hope you know you can stay. I hope you know you can go. I hope you know most rules are bullshit built by people too scared to live.

I hope you know that in that post office parking lot, when I felt the thread woven from my mama, to me, to you, wasn’t about eighteen years, or eighty. It wasn’t about doing this or doing that or doing it right or not right. It wasn’t about taking off or sticking around or fixing it all or letting it stay broken.

We’ve done all that. We’ll do it all, more. We’ll see this through to the end.

I hope you know what it’s like to see you, seventeen.

Seventeen.

*****

My book is on mega sale right now on Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

$2.99 for the ebook!

 

20 Comments | Posted in Sometimes, I'm all deep and shit..... | November 21, 2018

It’s strange what the heart can hold. Or, I’m just happy my brother is here.

by renegademama

Lord, I feel like we haven’t talked in a year. I feel like I’ve lived about two lifetimes the past two days.

On Thursday, I got two messages from my mother in rapid succession, which I missed while exercising. Since it was the day before the anniversary of my grandmother’s murder, I was on edge and tense and reflective, the way we are when these days come back around.

The texts just said “Please, call me.”

I called, and my mother said, “Have you heard about the fire? Ross (my brother) called from his truck. He evacuated the hospital and was trapped on a road, surrounded by flames.”

And then the line cut out and my mother got no more information.

In a word, I fucking flipped. I was thrown directly back into the moment I learned my grandmother was murdered: full body shaking, racing brain, barely able to speak. Shock, I guess. Luckily I had friends there, since I was just leaving her house.

My brother’s wife and children made it out, but I had a vision of my brother suffocating, jumping out of his truck, burning up. That was at 11am. From then until 5pm, we had no idea if he made it out or not, and all I could do was watch Twitter updates of the Camp Fire in Paradise, now the most destructive fire in California’s history, and pray to God my brother wasn’t in that. You tell yourself he’s super smart and level-headed. You tell yourself he won’t take risks.

It dawns on you that raging fire kills the logical alongside the illogical. You go back to Twitter.

And yet, he was in that. Right in the center of it. I could see where he was on the map, and I could see where the flames were via Twitter updates.

It was 110 degrees inside the cab of my his truck. He watched the bumper melt off the car in front of him. People were driving on hubcaps because their tires had melted, running out of cars that had caught fire. There were cars and propane tanks exploding, people carrying kids and pets needing rides, running to buildings for shelter only to have it catch fire, too. It was black as night in the middle of the day. Apocalyptic. Devastating.

Turns out my brother made it to a Kmart parking lot and sheltered there, and obviously, made it, or this post would look very different. The hospital where he’s a doctor found him through emergency services.

They lost everything, as did most people in that mountain town. They’re here now, and I can’t tell you what it felt like to hug my sister-in-law and niece and nephews. And to hold my brother’s face in my hands.

They showed up yesterday, on the anniversary of my grandmother’s murder. It was strange to gather again on the same day, two years later, in despair, again, and yet, not quite, because we all made it through this one.

I’ll share what I wrote on Facebook, and a few photos, but the truth is I don’t have insight right now and I’m so, so fucking sorry for people who have lost everything, for the terror, for the devastating we dodged but others will receive. I can’t even think about my brother and sister-in-law soon walking over the ashes of their home with their three children for the past seven years.

So much love to all of you. Please keep the people of Paradise in your thoughts, and the Californians affected by the Southern California fires. If you’d like to help people in the NorCal fires, here’s some info. I may set up a fundraising account for victims, but I need to organize it and figure out who will get the money, etc.

Local friends please look up on Facebook places where you can drop off supplies to be taken to Chico.

This is what I wrote yesterday when my brother and his family was on his way to us.

Two years ago today, my grandmother, Joan, lost her life at the hands of my cousin. It’s strange what the heart can hold, what it learns to exist alongside. We’ve moved through worlds since then: terror, rage, bone-deep sorrow. I still move through them.

Yesterday, when we didn’t know if my brother made it out of the fire, I kept thinking there is just no way we could lose him the day before this. That’s not a thing.

But then again we never thought we could live through what happened two years ago, but it’s strange what the heart can hold, how you learn to live with a side of you always grieving, a little afraid, a little confused. It washes life in more vivid light. I’ll give you that. Nothing is clear. Nothing is as it seems. Nothing is secure, but truly fuck the whole concept of “every day is a gift.” I mean, it’s true, but fuck it on principle.

Today we are gathering as a family just like we did two years ago. To be alive and be friends. To hold what the heart holds.

my brother took this picture from his truck

As my sister-in-law said, “Isn’t it strange how you can lose everything but feel only joy because your people are here?”