I sat there behind the wheel of my car, not sure what I should do, wishing I was someplace else, anyplace else, trying on shoes at Thom McAn’s, filling out a credit application in a discount store, standing in front of a pay toilet stall with diarrhea and no dime. Anyplace, man. It didn’t have to be Monte Carlo. Mostly I sat there wishing I was older.
I can’t help but imagine all of what’s happened over the past month from the PotUS’s perspective:
He’s never had a real job—not one that he could actually lose. And now a bunch of losers—people with no wealth, no audience, no “pull,” folks with meager incomes and dumb names, with little (if any) power, many of them women and people of color—they took away his toy.
And they didn’t do it by force: They didn’t pull a gun on him, they didn’t have to “see him in court!!!” They didn’t have to look at him or talk to him or even acknowledge him. They just ticked a box and mailed a stupid scrap of paper.
And all of those “they”s in the previous graff: those are “you” and “me”; we did this. We, who are weak-ass little pussies and cry babies and retarded faggot snowflakes, we hurt him, deeply. And we did it while hiding in our little shithole houses in shithole towns and bullshit states.
I imagine that, in his heart of hearts, he simply never believed such a thing was possible, so insulated from reality was his 70+ years on this earth.
It is all so astoundingly pathetic. If he hadn’t done so much to hurt so many, you’d weep for his loss of innocence.
Just to be clear: Although no shots have been fired (yet), this is not a “peaceful transfer of power.” At best, it’s a tremendous waste of the most precious resource in a time of crisis (like this one): Attention.
Maybe these pictures worried you. Maybe they frightened you. Maybe they embarrassed you—because, let’s be honest: it’s shameful to be bullied, to get the “Kick Me!” sign pasted to your back again and again, century after century.
Or maybe you didn’t feel much of anything. Maybe you’ve grown numb; one more slap in the face at the tail end of four years of unprovoked suckerpunches, it can all sort of blur together. I get that.
I don’t exactly have words for how it made me feel.
(I go to that skatepark a lot. It was hard not to take it personally.)
And I thought about the increase in anti-Jewish hate-crimes here in America over the past four years. I thought about the increasingly violent nature of those crimes.
I thought about the bomb threats. And the synagogue shootings. And the stabbings. And the rallies. And the men with guns in the capitol.
And so on.
And I felt hopeless. And I was afraid.
So I emailed the rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Israel (who maintain the cemetery in Grand Rapids that was desecrated on election’s eve). I wrote to voice our support and solidarity, and ask what they might need to restore the cemetery.
Rabbi David J.B. Krishef replied almost immediately:
“Hi Dave — the cemetery was cleaned by a small group of people who live around the corner and took it upon themselves to clean the stones without even letting us know what they were doing, and a few other people, including one from Ann Arbor, who drove in and decided to wash the paint off. We are grateful for all of the love and support and positive notes we’ve received.”
It dawned on me that this second half of the story is rarely reported, but often the case:
A lone jackass skulks around smearing his petty foulness in the dark; the whole community—not just Jews, but people from all over the community unwilling to let ugliness linger—return in the light to set things right.
That’s what happened in the cemetery in Grand Rapids. And when I went back and checked, I discovered it’s what happened at Temple Jacob in Hancock.
And that’s what happened here in Ann Arbor, too; I know, because I saw it: I went to the skatepark the day after it was tagged. The city had already power-washed away the paint. And unknown members of the community at large had come through with colored chalk and, evey place where there’d been a symbol of hate, replaced it with a message of welcoming and love:
What I saw in Ann Arbor was not the exception; it was the rule, even now, in this time of widely reported “unprecedented division and unrest.” And maybe it feels like we’re mired in a time of unprecedented division and unrest because we only report the first half of the story—the smeared paint, the thrown punch, the shots fired—and then move on to the next catastrophe, without checking back to see what comes after the paint and the screaming: a nation of folks ready to take it upon themselves to fix whatever any single angry loner chooses to break.
(Yeah, I repost this every year, because I love this gag, and because watching this on TV—and rehashing it with my mom and sisters each year—is one of my fondest holiday memories. But it is, in my humble, a damn-near perfect gag. That’s saying something, because I find single-camera laugh-track situation comedies almost entirely unbearable to watch. If you wanna read more of my thoughts on this specific gag and what it can teach writers, you can do so here.)
2. “…your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs; we will sell our bracelets by the road sides…”
3. ♬♫♪ “Caught his eye on turkey day / As we both at Pumpkin Pie … ” ♬♫♪
If you suspect VOTER INTIMIDATION on election day, immediately alert a poll worker and call 866-OUR-VOTE
SEE A GUN? CALL 911: If you see someone acting threatening, call 911. The Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Police Departments are very interested in any information about any sightings of suspicious activity or firearms near polling places. AAPD is emphatic: it is not your job or responsibility to determine if someone is “exercising their rights” or “brandishing” or “harassing” or “intimidating” or “walking their emotional support gun” or anything else. Dial 911 and report exactly what you’ve observed (i.e., number of individuals, number of guns, identifying physical characteristics, location, direction of movement) and indicate that YOU ARE CONCERNED FOR YOUR SAFETY AND THAT OF YOUR NEIGHBORS.
If you are outside of Arbor/Ypsi and have reason to believe your local PD might not take this seriously, call the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office directly 734-994-2911. Sheriff Clayton takes this seriously.
It’s extremely likely that nothing bad or weird or yucky will happen; high rates of early voting hint at a very boring in-person final voting day here in Washtenaw County. But you do not have to put up with any crap, and it’s fundamentally wrong for anyone to attempt to make you uncomfortable at the polls, let alone disrupt you submitting your ballot. WHATEVER YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT COPS IN GENERAL, HERE IN WASHTENAW COUNTY WE ARE ALL ALIGNED ON THIS ISSUE.