Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

An Intersection

Published in Blog.

“It’s a big thing that’s present in the white liberal community. That, ‘I’m talking about it so I’m doing something.’ No, you’re just talking about it. And you’re talking about it usually to other white liberals. You’re not really doing anything here. Talking is not action. Don’t just look at what you say. Look at how you socialize. What is your work environment? What do you actually do to help legislation along to protect people who are in a more compromised position than you are?” —Brett Gelman

Sitting here with my coffee, reading just the headlines, the intersection of thought is hazy as so many crossroads enter the fold. Everything is terrible, in-fighting is heavy on both sides of the division line, yet somehow we’re still getting by. Smoldering ash rising from the fire of a better yesteryear hasn’t completely blocked out the sun. Yeah, morale is down but apparently the market is up — though that isn’t particularly good news for me, having not had the foresight to structure my life in a way that would lead me to have a stake in such a game. But it’s good news for many who, I assume, probably already have plenty of reasons to celebrate. They’ve got rising returns, we’ve got neighbors we might never fully understand, even if we actually tried.

Something felt so wrong about what was happening when the power changed hands. But then, what followed was confirmation of why: we’re to understand that something wrong had already taken place, this was the reaction that we couldn’t see coming, us trapped in our bubbles within this new era of segregation. If this is on us now, what are we to do? Judge, condemn, fight? Donate, protest, volunteer? Take action? Get to work? The dumpster fire disappears when you close your eyes, but from it you can still feel the heat.

“I think you’re doomed if you start trying to present yourself as anything more than someone that’s trying to do the right thing. I think that people who put themselves up on a pedestal of integrity and moral high ground are making a huge mistake, especially when it comes to music and art. It doesn’t leave a whole hell of a lot of room to indulge all the shit in your head. It doesn’t leave a whole hell of a lot of room to write. I think that there are plenty of people who have gotten trapped into that mode in music, even, and in rap, who can’t find their way out of it, who felt like they had something important to say but also forgot that they had something that wasn’t important to say… I think that one of the ways that we all fuck ourselves is by demanding that not only do people do the right thing, but they also act the right way or say the right thing all the time. I think that that’s false. Victories are won by embracing the fact that the filth and the dirt and the humor of goodness are just as valid as the pretense and the proper sort of intellectual mind frame.” —El-P

Every day I see the face of the person I’ll be spending the rest of my life with, and every day something reminds me of the wreckage of my past. I’ve done well to rearrange the furniture and the setting that exists now is presentable. But that isn’t for one moment to act like the image of what exists would survive any sort of thorough investigation. There’s plenty of filth and dirt that I’ve merely swept under the rug. Even then, my hall-of-mirrors memory grants a certain level of hubris with regard to where all this is going; none of us were informed enough before, but I’ve corrected this for myself. I get it now. If hindsight were a disease, sometimes I feel my sickness would be terminal.