A moment ago, I was on the other side of the house from Dave, behind a closed door, and I forgot he was listening to music: all I could hear was the heartbeat of the bass, which seemed to be coming from deep within the house itself. Beneath the bones. I am prone to being spooked: on a normal day, I might have been unsettled by the idea that a tell-tale heart was beating in my floorboards.
But as it is, I just thought, That seems right.
I drew a comic this weekend, which I was happy with, but looking at it last night I knew I could not post it today. The police are murdering black people. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. The horrifically endless list that comes before them. I remember reading about the Ferguson protests back in 2014, lying in bed and feeling a sick and growing sense in my stomach. This is what it was like to be a German citizen during the Holocaust, I thought.
I struggle with the balance between my impulse to shut up and let Black American talk right now (which is what I am primarily doing and going to continue doing), and my desire to make sure I am known as an ally, that I will not be one who stands by. I see people complain about property damage during the protests and I think, Are you kidding? Not because I think breaking windows is great, but because when the destruction of property is compared to the state-sanctioned murder of our citizens, it is such a small matter, it cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Of course people are angry. Of course they are angry. Of course they are angry. America was never America for Black Americans. And so America was never America for any of us. America, as an idealized concept, never really existed. What these protests have to say is, maybe it can. If we are willing to make real changes. Maybe it can.
In grad school I read an essay that examined the concept of Gnosticism, the key point of which I remember being that there is a God who is eternally distant from us, and disinterested. That there is a great and divine power, but that power has no interest in interceding for us, being it may not even care—or be aware—that we exist. This may sound bleak, but I have always found it more comforting than the idea that there is a loving God with a holy plan that includes so many people being brutalized, murdered, violated, and oppressed. If the power that created the universe doesn’t care about us, then all we have is each other.
Anyway. I will shut up. Please donate, if you can, to bail funds. Here is a list of rapid response and bail funds to help those who are being arrested for exercising their legal rights to free speech. I have been donating, and will continue doing so; I hope you will too.