I hope you can learn to let go of your composure

Over the last few months of conversations with friends, colleagues, and strangers on the internet, conservatives among them, some of whom care for me personally and most of whom hate me and just want to score points off me while seeming nice at the same time — yes, these people mostly describe themselves as Christians — have said a peculiar thing: “You just seem really angry, and I hope you can let go of that.”

This came from close friends at first, sometimes as an eye-rolling “calm down” and sometimes as a gentler “I’m worried about how angry and stressed out you seem,” but irrespective of context, my reflexive response is the same every time, if a little complex. Here it is:

  1. Fuck you.
  2. FUCK YOU.
  3. FUCK
  4. YOU
  5. You stupid motherfucker, you spent eight years of Obama afraid the New Black Panther Party was going to make you get gay abortions, and now we’re headed into a likely stronger-than-average hurricane season without an agency head for NOAA and a bunch of cuts to everything that makes America worth a good goddamn proposed by devil-worshipping Republican supply-siders who want to replace all public benefits with taxpayer-funded contracts for their thieving campaign donors’ businesses. You fucked it up. You, personally, because you have no morals and are a selfish, regrettable asshole, fucked it up for me, and for my wife and son who are so much more vulnerable than either you or me, because you believe stupid dogshit bumper-sticker bromides about how it’s people’s character that makes them great and how America was founded on better ideals than any other country. Well, it wasn’t. It was founded on shitty ideals, like every place, and the only measure of its greatness is its generosity to its least privileged, and in that vital respect, you are the least great thing about it.Your ear-plugging stupidity about global warming means that we don’t even have the incredibly slim chance to save people from disastrous sea-level rises we might have had, and your disinterest in civics means that our friends, relatives and neighbors stand a better than usual chance of losing their Medicaid benefits; or being suddenly deported for the crime of being brought into the country as children by parents who wanted a better life for them, or just murdered on the spot by racists in an act that will now probably not be given the special legal status afforded hate crimes because we have a secessionist cartoon of a Bull Connor-era Alabama racist running the Department of Justice. The children you don’t know are gay are now more likely to be murdered, too. The fact of your interracial grandchildren will be held against your daughter. If your wife’s boss shows her his dick at work she will now have a harder time getting HR to listen to her. All these things were around the corner, but there was a chance to at least pay lip service to the effort needed to avoid them. You saw that chance, and you said to yourself, “Women, blacks and gays are walking around like they own the place. I’m gonna show ’em the score.” Well, congratulations! You did that. Eat shit.
  6. By electing Donald Trump to the presidency, you have empowered every white supremacist fringe group in the United States of America, which is a shit-hot ton. You don’t believe these people exist because they treat you with respect and deference because you are a white man or woman. But in fact, they are terrorists in the same way that Osama bin Laden was a terrorist. Wahabbist Islamists are not a magical people uniquely inclined toward acts of terror; white Christians conservatives are a dangerous group of fanatics obsessed with guns and extralegal justice, too. They have killed people and will kill people again, because you have made them feel enfranchised and given them the courage to act. So good job.
  7. Maybe you should try being especially kind and generous to people of color and your gay friends, and if you don’t have friends who are gay or people of color, get some, listen carefully to them when they tell you about their lives, when you want to argue with them about politics, shut the fuck up, and then meditate on what their lives are like because of selfish assholes like you.
  8. Pray that Jesus forgives you.
  9. Don’t talk to me again until you are also angry.

Author: samthielman

Sam Thielman is a reporter and critic based in Brooklyn, New York. His blog is samthielman.com, his twitter handle is @samthielman, and if you can't find him you should check The Strand.

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