There’s a meme going around that says “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I’ve experienced the 7 day free trial and I am not interested.” What a year it’s already been!
When Tommy Raskin, the son of Congressman Jamie Raskin died at 25 years old on New Year’s Eve, he left a farewell message for his family: “Please forgive me. My illness won today.” Tommy’s parents wrote an overwhelmingly beautiful and devastating tribute to his short life. The Raskins gave us a painful insight into the insidious nature of depression and their unbounded love of family. Through their grief, they were able to share with the world that depression is not an illness you can wish away and that their son was more than just his disease. As a depressive person myself, I needed to hear that.
I read about Tommy Raskin’s life on Monday.
Jamie Raskin buried his son on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he fled from the insurrection at the Capitol with his younger daughter that he had brought to work to witness a historical moment, the 2020 Presidential Election Vote Certification.
On Thursday, Jamie Raskin prepared articles of impeachment against the President.
I do not know this man but I have been thinking a lot about him since Monday. About the strength he is displaying and about how his family is coping.
I am also thinking about all the people who are not powerful politicians and have also had a devastating week. Those who have had a devastating month. Those who had a devastating year. I get overwhelmed thinking about the sheer scale of the suffering buried beneath the surface.
One part of Tommy Raskin’s tribute I’ve been meditating on:
He quoted something that he loved which Father Daniel Berrigan said about Dorothy Day: ‘she lived as though the truth were true.’ Tommy said: ‘I wanted them to see that the truth is true.’
“I wanted them to see that the truth is true.”
I’ve thought about this quote all week as we watched a failed coup attempt. I’ve thought about this quote, as I heard pundits and politicians fail to acknowledge the magnitude of the current state of events. What happened in this country on Wednesday is what happens when you fail to tear down treasonous monuments to the past. It’s what happens when you decide that the civility of American politics must be upheld at all cost.
American politicians love to talk to us as if we are children but American paternalism is allergic to accountability. Equally depressing is the fact that the people who have been wrong about everything in modern American politics still have the loudest microphones.
It’s important to bear in mind that failed coups are often followed by successful coups. Unless there is a reckoning, what happened on Wednesday will happen again and I am holding my breath until it does.
PS : I know a lot happened this week but excuse me, WE FLIPPED THE DAMN SENATE! It’s important to count the wins.
I don’t know about you but if one of my idiot coworkers tried to have me killed, I would not be chill about it at all. Mike Pence, your boss tried to murder you sir, you are being too chill!! Thankfully Congresswoman Jayapal has no chill. She is very clear about her rage and what she wants to see happen next.
A must read on why so many of us are both angry and completely unsurprised about this week's coup.
“One thing is certain: This is not George Washington’s America. So whose is it?It’s my general belief that journalists should call historians more often and that historians should write more outside of academic settings.
This actually made me laugh: “While facial recognition technology often struggles to reliably identify people with dark skin, the large majority of the Trump supporters who entered the Capitol on Wednesday appeared to be White.” My grandma was right. Sometimes God will turn your curses into blessings.
I will read every single Fran Lebowitz interview until I die but this one is extra delightful.
"For couples to survive and thrive, they need Other Significant Others." Feeling extra grateful for all my significant others.
I really needed gossip this week so thank god for Gossip Time.
"In a bleak period, the work of the archivist assumes exceptional poignancy...” I also really needed a nerdy distraction and this deep dive into the US National Archives Hashtag Parties really delivered.
“Dogs humble you” I love how people love their dogs and this piece is very sweet.
I am very excited to read Torrey Peters’ debut novel, Detransition, Baby.
This footage of Black maintenance workers cleaning up the mess of a white mob that hung a noose outside the Capitol broke my heart. Almost too on nose when you consider that the night before Black Georgians showed up en mass to deliver a historic Senate win. Please watch it and sit with it. It won’t leave me for a long time. I hear a lot of white liberals gleefully say that Black people will save this country. We are just trying to save ourselves.
Hang in there
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom
Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms”
Let’s try to find some joy. See you Wednesday.