Welp. My book came out. This is the culmination of four years, four books, but it also feels like the culmination of the last administration, the last year. America has seemingly hit its half-life. Every year, every month, every week is a vitriolic cry from a dying beast.
Tomorrow Joe Biden will be sworn in. He was my third to last choice (above that homophobic chick and the sentient bag of mystic crystals and below literally everyone else). I am so goddamn relieved. Cash was my best coping mechanism and the worst lie I told myself. The Cash books were righteous and dark and bad and good, but the hardest hurts could be healed with a quip and the most lethal blows were subtle and kind. Nothing cuts like a well-told truth.
In Cash’s world, honesty is worth more than justice. In ours, honesty and justice were thrown out before we began. Our forefathers clung to those concepts so hard because they knew deep down that we could never posses them. America was founded on dishonesty and dishonor. We stole our land. We stole our labor. We stole the very ideals on which we were founded. And then we killed anyone who pointed it out. Is anyone really surprised that our emperor isn’t wearing any clothes?
A strange thing happens when you choose a drug dealer as a protagonist: you get to rewrite the rules. If Cash is a good person and Cash does bad things, then maybe doing bad things doesn’t make you a bad person. Or maybe good people are flawed. Or maybe we have to quantify things that cannot be quantified. Ultimately, we must decide what is good and what is bad without all the extraneous details like laws and genders and familial constructs and social expectations.
Queers do this every day. We learn from childhood that boys wearing makeup is bad. And girls being violent is bad. And boys being violent is good. And girls wearing makeup is good. And not one of those things is true. Makeup is bad when it is used to subjugate marginalized people. Makeup is good when it is used to empower. Violence is bad when it is used indiscriminately. Violence is good when it is used to fight those who would subjugate. I know. You were with me until I said violence could be good, weren’t you? We must interrogate all the structures that tell us what to think or feel or judge. We must interrogate the people who benefit from those structures.
Joe Biden is going to be a decent president. He’s an old white guy, which is the exact opposite of what I want in a leader. He’s a little rapey. He has done things that are racist and sexist and heterosexist. But he has a moral center. It’s based off of religion and the rule of law so I’m not wild about it. Then again, the bar is real low so I’ll take it.
I’m going to give you a homework assignment (and, yes, buying the teacher’s book will get you brownie points, but that’s not where I’m going). I want you to think about your most deeply held belief, whatever truth is immutable for you. I want you to unpack that truth. I want you to examine all of the facts or feelings that build it. I don’t want you to break it or damage it. I just want you to look and ask yourself if you made it or if someone made it for you.