Discover more from An Irritable Métis
Dancing On Graves
And outliving bastards
I was driving East on I90 a week or so ago, snow and sleet swirling as if coughed from the mouth of Hellgate Canyon. A train, a long one, was crawling slowly along parallel to me. It was loaded down with military vehicles. Front end loaders. Transports. Tanks. Lots of armor and menacing firepower. Railroad car after railroad car of them. It was surreal and, given the strange gray weather, otherworldly. And I wondered: how is it we still live in a world like this? With all this?
Do I really need to reference the checklist of things that have happened since? That just keep happening over and over? Cops murdering people. People with guns murdering people in bunches. People assaulting people for how they look because of a boiling cess pool of ignorance and stupidity kept on high heat by soulless ghouls. So much death and hardship and struggle overseen by ineffectual cowards we trot out year after year to do nothing with all of the cash and resources at their fingertips of the wealthiest nation on earth. "Give them time!" we are urged but how much time is needed? Another two hundred years? Cowards, all of them, and nothing is changing. In Montana, our gutless and cruel legislature, who has not seen a mask they didn't point and laugh at, had to shut down floor sessions and go remote because of COVID. They won't learn. Meanwhile they are doing their best to put guns in the hands of everyone everywhere, wherever they want to be. I wonder if someone unleashing mayhem among them with a couple big rifles, a few handguns and a backpack full of ammo would change their tune? My only answer to that question, frankly, is a shrug and a suggestion that it might be worth a try. That's shitty to say but tell me you don't think about it. Don't get high and mighty about death and killing, when every single person reading this from anywhere in the United States is living a murderous lifestyle under the flag of the most murderous nation ever to exist on this shuddering planet.
Who am I to complain? What am I doing about any of it? I was having a conversation the other night with another lonely Little Shell person, recently-discovered of their own heritage, recently-discovered of the history of our people and what our ancestors endured at the hands of the state and the people who prop it up. How the spirits of these ancestors live within and around us. They are always here! And it isn't just us, it is everyone on the fringes, anyone who ever had to pretend to be something they are not. People who have to keep their heads down because to be seen at all is a crime punishable by death, apparently, all too often. I'm here because of the courage and care of those people who endured before me, and I am less than nothing if I don't stand for them.
I wish it were easier to declare which side I am on at just a glance. As easy as, say, wearing a gun is for my enemies. Yes, anyone who chooses to wear a gun in public—especially if matched with a uniform—is my enemy. As soon as you strap on a gun and swagger out into the world, you are stating clearly that you feel that your rights, and your judgments associated with them, are so infallible that you are willing to kill me and people I love in support of them. There is no such thing as a good guy with a gun. Only potential murderers, either in service of their own murderous gun fantasies or in service of a murderous state. It is literally that simple. There is nothing more sinister to me than this proliferation of blue line flags. They are the new Confederate battle flags that symbolize nothing but hate, even if it is hatching from ignorance.
A couple weeks ago a good friend and wonderful writer had a thread on her newsletter about people who connect to ancestries that didn't exist. Think of those dudes and various other dipshits on the far right who think stupid haircuts and a couple tattoos make them vikings. But what disturbed me is the suggestion from a number of folks that they don't really care about their own ancestors, that they are living their lives in the now and it doesn't matter. I'm paraphrasing terribly but that was my takeaway and I couldn't read more because I could feel my own rage-filled, bitter hatreds starting to churn.
That is the height of privilege. You are so certain of your position in this culture that you don't have to care what is happening because it isn't touching you. You are so disconnected from the horrors of the past instituted by the people who built the world you are benefiting from that you don't have to reflect for a moment on why your life is so good, even when you think it is shitty. That is white privilege. That is institutionalized racism. What a horror show. But unless you're already wealthy, that flight of gargoyles is coming for you too. You just don't see them yet because you're blinded by your own smug sense of entitlement.
I've told this story before. Years ago when my son was much younger, he and his cousin were at a playground at dusk playing Star Wars with toy blasters and such on and around the structure that is there for children to play on, presumably. My son was maybe ten, if that, and his cousin a couple years older. Someone in the neighborhood called the fucking cops. The cops show up, with guns drawn, and made these boys lay down on the ground. The only reason I didn't burn the fucking cop shop down in rage is I didn't hear about it for a couple years later because the boys were afraid they would be in trouble.
There are so many things fucked-up about this story. The person calling the cops. The cops showing up at a playground with guns drawn before determining first what is actually happening. All of it. We know how it could have gone because that shit happens all the time: two dead boys and a media storm of useless thoughts and prayers, cops protecting cops, city councils protecting cops, mayors protecting cops. So don't tell me Missoula cops, or cops anywhere else, are any better than those murderous assholes in Chicago or Minneapolis. They often have terrible judgment and carry the deadly capacity to act on it.
What am I—a fat, broken-hearted, eternally-angry, middle-aged writer of middling talent—against an entire culture of death and misery? What, or who, am I against anything? I can't even keep my own heart sorted out, how am I going to help anyone with theirs? How am I going to make any kind of difference when nobody really cares enough to give a goddamn thing up to turn this fucking nightmare around?
I am angry, and I'm tired, and I don't know what I'm going to do next but keep showing up, somehow. Hopefully I'll outlive some of these bastards so I can dance on their godless graves.