I can’t sleep.
I haven’t been sleeping well for the last couple of months anyway (thanks to the C-19 Plague, lockdown, working from home, complete routine disruption, and so on). All of that is still true; now it’s been joined by the stress of watching the country erupt like a giant zit. A pus filled, stinking wound that has festered in America foever has been breached by the last straw of George Floyd’s murder. It’s 1968 all over again; an historic space launch last weekend, race riots all this week – but nary a Beatles album on the horizon to assuage the pain with some peace and love.
There is this beautiful remake of Steven Stills’ “For What It’s Worth.” This gives me some salve for my soul. Billy Porter….right at the intersection of being openly gay and openly black. Two crimes this country can’t deal with.
I can’t sleep.
A few days ago, my crack about the lack of a Beatles album really hurt one of the women I know. My friend was so upset, she made another post about not being ready for music, cats, or space launches, as she was still really really angry about all of the murders of Black folks. I apologized to her. Tony Dade is an intersection for both her and I – he was just killed by cops last week – a Black Trans Man. I told her that I was crushed by sadness; sorry that I couldn’t be a better ally and share her anger.
I felt so bad about adding to her pain. I couldn’t sleep.
Well, God has their ways. My anger has caught up. Today, I had a couple of major disagreements with folks. One person was asking me Why, why, why were all of the demonstrations and riots happening? (To be clear, there’s two ends to the riots – most people are peacefully protesting, but there are opportunists on both extremes trying to use the protests for their gains. There have been white folks instigating and hoping to blame the blacks.) As I tried to explain, I got; “Black people have attitudes”….more than once. I got so pissed off I hung up, walked outside and slammed my screen door so hard that stuff fell off my walls.
I’m under a curfew right now because of people (mostly white and young from the looks of the videos) opportunistically deciding to loot stores in Scottsdale and Phoenix. We have a curfew so that police can hassle anyone outside after dark, but not for COVID-19, which can kill you too.
The Mayor of Tucson went on record saying that neither she nor the police chief of Tucson were consulted, or even warned – they learned of the curfew yesterday by Tweet, with 6 hours to prepare for it.
Then there was today’s unfolding of events – Trump finally spoke to the Nation, but instead of any kind of message of unity, he has threatened to send the United States Military against our own citizens to stop the protests. Tear gas and rubber bullets were used against peaceful protesters in DC such that Trump had a clear path to walk to St. John’s church where he had a photo op. There was a small fire in the basement last night during a protest.
Then later tonight, another discussion that turned ugly – someone defending calling out the US military. Using Trump’s ever so polite language to call people THUGS. When challenged “what would you do” I asked why there was no call for unity. For Peace. For working on the UGLY problems that we have? No, we’re turning our military on our own citizens. Despite going back and forth, and finally expressing my frustration that I was never being heard; my rights have been eroding for years – well, in the true spirit of “I’m not listening to you anymore” the entire conversation was deleted.
I’m angry. I can’t sleep.
My country and countrymen are not just dying of COVID-19 – an ungodly 105,000+ and still counting – disproportionately affecting minority communities; ravaging the Navajo Nation – we may be watching our experiment in democracy die. Our adversaries are watching us as the putrid wounds are expelling their poison.
I can’t sleep. I don’t know if we’ll survive this.