I’m in my bedroom, alone. The TV is giving off a pond green, paused on some Netflix show I was half watching. My grandfather’s leather chair is pitch and comfortable and comforting, I have a sense of history in it, a history of flawed men who loved their best. I spent the day doing chores and finding a way to store comics, benign quotidian things of creature comfort that set the stage for a larger clear head. I’m heading in a direction.
I talked to my dad on the phone today. I love my father. I like talking to him. We can laugh. Our politics are off.
It’s raining on the snow outside leaves massive sloshy mounds of heavy gray that look like they want nothing more than to slough off this mortal coil.
I live in a country that just banned people of Muslim faith from entering. I’m not sure what sentence should follow up to the previous. It has the same blank stupidity of every monstrous thing I’ve encountered in my life.
Stupidity is complex in its simplicity. It is so glaring and loud that it demands to be read deeply, and yet it is nothing but surface, it is a place of pure, swift control. The whole “act first think late” comes to mind.
I do not know many Muslims. But I am not out of my depth by assigning Muslims the same qualities non-Muslims have. They want to love, they want to belong, they desire contentment and safety and purpose, they want to work as we all do. They don’t want to suffer.
Some Muslims, a slim few among the Billions suffered so much that turning that suffering out, whether in quick acts of vehicular slaughter or diabolical protracted espionage that changed the expression of the world’s face, maybe because it seemed right, maybe because they had so few options, maybe because the wanted an eye for an eye, maybe because they’re just evil and stupid. It does not matter. Truly, those questions are only helpful if we’re actively looking to stop our own influences of suffering.
What does matter? We just went dark on a big part of the world. There are people who need to escape war that are now turned away out of stupidity. From one stupidity to another. And somehow, along the way we infused these refugees with a fear so moronic that they somehow become the embodiment of that they flee: stupidity. Death.
This is a bad thing. We are doing the wrong thing. And it isn’t out of any grand Super Villain Evil. Nor some Cthulhu mentality that drives men insane. It is simply stupid. Deadly stupid.
Of course, we must engage in political action. Of course, we must support the ACLU. OF COURSE, REFUGEES AND MUSLIMS ARE PEOPLE AS FALLIBLE AS YOU AND I AND SO, WE MUST ABSOLUTELY INVITE THEM INTO OUR COUNTRY. Of course.
I’m afraid now, in this comfortable chair which has lived through so much American change, my ass is seated at a time when things are dimmer. And the words of Yeats come to me, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.” And right now my conviction is tested, my faith is wavering. But Yeats was wrong, so many of us don’t lack conviction. So many of us are fighting. I side with those who do not let sheer stupidity blind them from the basic fact that humans need humans no matter what nation or religion.
And so maybe I say this to myself more than anyone else, but now is not the time to get uncomfortable, to engage in ways I have not before. Now is the time to march. Now is the time to write, and organize.
I’m going to sit in my chair a bit more. But it gets less comfortable by the moment. Because it makes me remember that if I sit too long I’ll have let another kind of stupidity win, I’ll just have gone about my day forgetting that people are suffering and dying outside my bedroom and there is action that can be done.
I needed to say that.
Thanks for reading.