Running in Reconstruction

  • June 17, 2020, 3:57 p.m.
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Some more commentary edition:

10:45
Victoria just said she’d likely come over tonight. This is good. But as I have not showered, am worried about walking the dog, and don’t have anything cooked if she wants dinner… anxiety. Because of course I would have anxiety about any situation I did not feel 100% prepared for. Letting go of controlled/measured/planned reality is… a challenge, but perhaps a needed one. Lord knows this year has been a long exercise in “nothing will go as planned”. And besides; if yesterday was a big walk with Nancy putting the final nails in the coffin… there’s some thematic symmetry to tonight being hanging out with Victoria. I just need to breathe through it; and accept that this is just a social hang. Because the things that make me feel most anxious? (1) Appearance/smell… I’m unbathed, I don’t want that to be an issue. (2) Hosting Prowess… I like being a host that can provide anything, but if she comes over tonight- I have no alcohol, no soda, no food… I’ve got “something I can whip up in about twenty to forty minutes” and Koolaid, Water, and Gatorade. Then again… I’m sure nobody visits a friend’s house expecting them to be treated like a “proper formal guest” but… damn if I don’t want to keep that alive. High Etiquette still has a place in this less formal world and I don’t want to abandon it completely.

1:13:
Ugh. I am now very tired. Like… take a nap tired. Which is funny. Because while working from the office… I can’t take a nap. But if I was working from home today? It would be an interesting conundrum. Because I’d want to take a nap… and have the ability to take a nap… but with Victoria coming over… I’d probably quick walk the dog, take a shower, and hit the grocery store. So both primary world lines are napless.

1:30
Here’s an… interesting… complicated question.
There is a boy in our State Training School (place for the most egregious juvenile delinquents). He is a known gang member that lives in Iowa but the gang works out of Omaha. If we were to release him, we would have to release him to his mother, his only legal guardian. Well, she (mother) got arrested for drugs the WEEK the juvenile was supposed to be released. Well, shit. So we had to inform the juvenile that, until alternate housing could be set up for him, he’d have to remain since we aren’t going to release a juvenile into the world without a legal guardian or caretaker. THE DAY he was informed of this? He assaulted multiple guards. I mean… this is the tightrope we try to tread. This child has been through the system and given as much impulse control, emotional stability, good choices training the state can afford… and when he hears bad news, he still gets assaultive. And continues to be. When he was told that, since he assaulted multiple guards, he really wasn’t being released because he would be facing additional charges… he assaulted even more guards. So… we’ve got this angry kid… assaulting people… and now he’s leading a “fingerprint boycott.” He and his “friends inside” are refusing to be fingerprinted as per Iowa Law. Here’s where things get dicey, shitty, and weird: If this individual were an adult, he would be processed through the criminal system like an adult. If he didn’t submit to fingerprinting, he would be held in contempt until fingerprinting was achieved. WE CAN’T DO THAT WITH JUVENILES. We have to go through various different hoops and courts and all of that… so we’re trying to invent a system to get that done and fingers crossed!

2:15
Oh. My. There are somethings I don’t want to know about people. Like how racist they really are. Which is unfortunate because we need to learn about how racist people are in order to call them out, ignore them, or castigate them.

  • A friend of mine in High School was known as a “gentle giant.” Bigger guy, taller guy, but very sweet and soft spoken. I don’t know where he’s been or what’s happened to him in the 18 years since High School but… I do know he is now a pastor in Minnesota. And has gone full on MAGA. You see, a friend of mine is a pastor at the Episcopal Church in Des Moines and is still urging caution and on-line services so as to slow the spread of COVID19. This other pastoral friend… the one in Minnesota? Started bitching daily all the way back in April that it was “unconstitutional” and “against God” and “a sign of evil” that churches would stop holding in person services. He made it, like, a rallying cry. To which I still have to say… dude? What the fuck?! Unless your flock is able to sit in a six foot by six foot bubble while wearing masks… why are YOU, their spiritual leader, acting as if their health isn’t important?? WTF is wrong with you? Or are you one of those “my faith will protect me” guys now, in which case… fuck you. Every single Christian since the religion began has been susceptible to disease and death… stop pretending that faith is a magical shield to be wielded like a DnD Armor! But now? He’s gotten even worse. This guy who spent almost his entire life in a Northern State, who is leading the spiritual lives of people in Minnesota, is bitching about taking down Confederate Statues. Are you kidding me?? He keeps saying “Tearing down southern statues removes history and history should not be removed simply because it offends you!” Do you… do you have no poli-sci experience whatsoever?? Like… when an army is conquered, the statues honoring that army are often destroyed. When a dictator is toppled, the statue honoring that dictator is usually toppled. The Confederacy and the Army of the Confederacy were enemies of the United States. They fought against the United States Military. And only existed for less than 5 years. Many of the Confederate Statues weren’t even erected until the 20th Century and you bet your bottom dollar the reason behind it was racist!! So no… tearing down statues “because they offend people” isn’t what is going on. Tearing down participation trophies for an army that isn’t supposed to still exist commemorating a war against the United States from over 150 years ago… yeah, those can come the fuck down. Just like if there was a statue in San Francisco of Emperor Hirohito or General Tojo, I’d expect those to be removed as well!

  • I’ve also seen an uptick in random colleagues (within the county and without) hop on the All Lives bandwagon. Usually draped in high-minded rhetoric saying, “I refuse to acknowledge anyone that divides the country like this! ALL lives matter; trying to put black people above others is JUST AS RACIST!” Which is really funny because if you refuse to acknowledge anyone that divides the country… why the fuck do you support Trump?? If all lives matter, why are you passionately against social programs that help the homeless find jobs and housing? If all lives matter why do you have a Blue Lives Matter bumper sticker?! JUST BE HONEST… when you’re saying “All lives matter” all you are saying is “MY SENSE OF JUSTICE IS THE ONLY ONE THAT COUNTS” which is stupid, foolish, and wrong.

  • A friend of mine that I met through theater last year… still has a Confederate Flag as her Facebook Cover Photo. Again… like I said about fucking Steve King… I cannot fathom any native Iowan flying the confederate flag. Iowa wasn’t “impartial”. Iowa wasn’t “split in half.” Iowa was a strong ally of the Northern Army and were integral in many battles against the Confederacy. For a native Iowan to fly “the rebel flag” is for that person to either (a) have no sense of history; (b) want to be easily identified as ‘redneck’ or ‘hillbilly’ as a cultural identity; (c) is, on some level, a confirmed racist; or (d) all of the above. So that’s how that STARTS. First thing out of her sphere today? “What nonsense are we offended by this morning?” Which… already starts you out as an antagonist. I mean, I get it. You’re a white woman living in near poverty… you find the concept of BLM or White Privilege offensive because you view it as a judgment call saying “You should be doing better because you’re white.” You’re wrong. All those things mean is that the reasons for why you aren’t doing better aren’t tied to your skin color. So yeah. I get why that would piss some people off. Because they think that it means they need to be held accountable for their decisions while “black people don’t got to be accountable at all.” Which is also just not true. But you can’t tell me that in your position in life, you’d rather have black skin. Because if it is a one to one (poverty to poverty; or middle class to middle class) switch… you know being of darker complexion is a more difficult life. So that’s where she starts today. And ramps it up from there to say : “People are getting upset about goddamned syrup?! First you called my flag racist; then you said I had to apologize for other people’s actions; now you’re attacking breakfast food??? GET OVER IT!” Which I find… interesting… as compared to what I wrote yesterday. NOW if a monkey is just a monkey, that isn’t racist. But Aunt Jemima? Are you fucking kidding me?! I mean… I suppose I can understand how the young might have no idea but… you’ve got the internet… do some research before freaking out!! Aunt Jemima was a minstrel character complete with “mammy” kerchief for a long time. The very origin of her was a racial stereotype played up by white people to mock the black people of the time. Frankly, after I said “minstrel character” everybody should have realized “Ooh, yeah. Bad. Very bad.” But too many damned people don’t even remember or know about the Minstrel Past. LOOK INTO IT. And if you’re too ornery to read… go rent the movie “Bamboozled”. It’s hard but it’s worth the watch.

3:21
I just checked my notes. Many of you are lovely. It is funny. I tried to be a good, loving, dedicated husband… I tried to hold on as long as I could because… a good husband doesn’t divorce his wife. But these last months and especially the last 7 days have really made it apparent that divorce is the only road now. That being said… I hate doing this but I find it may need to be put out there. My entry about my wife and I’s conversation did not have a “no shitty comments” rebuke so… I suppose I should have expected something.
RECEIVED NOTE: The longer you hold her close, the longer you can play a victim. Maybe she wasn’t such a prize from the beginning. You HAVE a job. You HAVE a house. You HAVE a dog, FFS. Especially in these times, when lots of folks have nothing or are losing everything, you have some shit. Whining about a woman who was and never will be shit is just sad.

Even from the most understanding and supportive perspective, this was a shitty note. From the understanding and supportive perspective; you are encouraging me to let her go entirely (which is proper and good) but suggesting that I am keeping her close so I “can play the victim.” It is something to consider… did I stay faithful and driven for so long because I wanted to “play a victim” or was it that I was trying desperately to save my marriage? People can disagree as to that. I would state I was trying to save my marriage but different perspectives may come to different conclusions. However, stating “maybe she wasn’t such a prize to begin with” seems hostile and confused. Marriage isn’t about obtaining “a grand prize” or a “special reward.” Marriage is about finding someone that you want to build a life with that you love and are attracted to. That is who my wife was. The fact that “she may not have been a prize” doesn’t enter into it. As you list the things that I do have… I have to wonder… have you been struggling?? Are you without a job? Are you without a house? Are you without a dog? Does being without these things make you wish to lash out in anger? Or are you one of the people who are quick to say, “With such horrid things going on in the world, why the fuck do you think your life matters?” In which case I would say… comparative issues like that should be discussed and dealt with. While the rain forests burn; someone’s house burning down is no less tragic. While Hong Kong independence dissidents are executed; the death of a loved one has no less meaning. Just because someone can feed themselves; doesn’t mean they don’t grieve the loss of a loved one.

More explicitly, though, I want to use the received note as an example. When I discuss bad notes or when I say I don’t want to be criticized for something… I’m talking about notes like this. The kind that can’t see room for empathy, compassion, or respectful discourse. I acknowledge that writing about it is dangerous as it is “feeding the trolls” but there are some lovely people here that actually ask me if they offended me because I say “No shitty notes” and… for the most part, if you are kind enough to ask, the answer is no. I’m more referring to notes like the above.

3:49
Just looking at quotes about justice, race, police, law, and history and came across this one by James Baldwin: Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex. You thought of nothing else if you didn’t have it and thought of other things if you did.
“The Black Boy Looks at the White Boy” in Esquire (May 1961)

Of course, that is not the only great James Baldwin line. There are many. Just an interesting one I wanted to share.

SOME OF THE “DEFUND POLICE” IDEAS THAT I WISH WE COULD DO (But know that the country will NEVER do because our nation is obsessed with a very twisted and fictional version of “individual responsibility”)
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IN CLOSING
For some reason, the current song of my heart:


stargazing June 17, 2020

It makes so much more sense that someone in a mental health crisis would be visited by a mental health professional rather than a police officer. The company I work with has a counselor ride with one of the local fire departments. It's been a really successful program and was even extended. It would be such a good idea if at the very least we started doing that with the police dept. A friend of mine in Seattle volunteered for a similar thing with their PD...he would be there for potential rape victims. The police are expected to deal with way more than they have the education for.

My SIL's family believes that God will prevent you from illness if you are a true believer. I was horrified when my SIL told me that her family blamed her for her illnesses. They tell her she just needs to truly believe in order to be healed. She's given up talking to them about anything that goes on with her. I can't tell you how sad this makes me. I hope they are taking precautions during this pandemic.

Just Some Girl June 17, 2020

There was a pilot project in Ontario, I forget which jurisdiction, but they were doing that: sending a nurse practitioner or social worker out to police calls and having her interact with the party first. It was incredibly promising. And they canceled it because of reasons. Probably funding. But yeah, really too bad.

DE_KentuckyGirl June 17, 2020

Take a shower and order take out.

Pretend Mulling DE_KentuckyGirl ⋅ June 17, 2020

Seconded!

DimMeOut DE_KentuckyGirl ⋅ June 18, 2020

Yep, totally agree!

hot-lips DE_KentuckyGirl ⋅ June 18, 2020

Yes, good plan!

woman in the moon June 17, 2020

I love James Baldwin, have since I was in high school.
I also love what you said about Iowa, race, civil war, and that god damned flag. Thank you very much.
You tried (very hard) to be a good husband. She either would not or could not respond. Either way you had to let her/make her go. Continue doing so.
Best of luck in all endeavors.

hot-lips June 18, 2020

An activity done together (Like walking thru dog) definitely helps ease any nervousness and awkward moments. And as someone suggested above, take a quick shower (even if you have to ask Victoria to come around slightly later), and then suggest a take away if she’s hungry.

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