Death Throes of a Behemoth

Pete Davidson, Ye, Kanye, Putin, Elon Musk, LGTBQ, Climate Change, dispatches from the apocalypse

The Dispatches are back! My family and I moved to the oldest city on the West Coast recently, and I just didn’t have time to write which is regrettable since I missed so much.

Elon Musk challenged Putin to one-on-one combat to end the War in Ukraine, and by extension the possible start of WWIII. I would have flown to Moscow to cover that fight. I imagined the opener would be Pete Davidson vs. Kanye West and maybe a big Russian bear vs. one of the Tesla robots with some dubstep playing.

But here we are now, and I’m writing about real and sobering news. The world itself is changing, and not for the better. The latest UN report on climate change says that the world is “firmly on track toward an unlivable world.” This report is both the direst climate change report that’s ever come out (since the last one) and coincidentally the least shared news report on social media. Late last month, “An ice shelf the size of New York City has collapsed in East Antarctica …” The ice shelf holding the Conger and Glenzer glaciers was in Eastern Antarctica, an area long thought to be resistant to climate change, but there have been these freak heat waves driving temperatures up 70 degrees hotter than usual.

Another big change coming our way is the shifting of racial demographics and, whether the GOP likes it or not, with that will come the shifting of what our politicians and leaders will look like.

Another big change coming our way is the shifting of racial demographics and, whether the GOP likes it or not, with that will come the shifting of what our politicians and leaders will look like. White people will become the minority in the United States in only twenty-three short years. Yes, in just one generation, by 2045, Caucasians will not be the majority race in this country.

Just this week, the first Black woman was appointed to the Supreme Court, and this scares the shit out of the GOP and old white men across the country. In fact, before the final tally was read by the Vice President of the United States on the floor of the Senate, Republican Senators sulked out of the room while people still applauded for Ketanji Brown Jackson. What? Ted Cruz with his racist baby wasn’t able to stop this? No.

Another big change coming that the current people in power won’t like is acceptance of the LGBTQ+ population in the United States. Marvel’s next big blockbuster will feature a lesbian superheroElliot Page’s character in the successful Netflix show The Umbrella Academy will come out as transgender this season. But beyond Hollywood, a study by the Pew Research Center found that 4 in 10 Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender, and 1 in 4 say they know someone who prefers gender-neutral pronouns; this is up 5 and 18 percent, respectively. Hell, rock shows will start selling chest binders as merchandise at their shows thanks to Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance. The state I call home, Oregon, has the highest percentage of LGBTQ+ per capita in the United States at 5.6% of the population.

Change is coming, and all the rich, old, white men in the world will not, cannot, stop it. The problem we have now is the GOP and rich American Oligarchs know that their system is dying and they’re in their death throes. These last ditch attempts at holding onto power, the death throes of this antiquated white, hetero, uber macho, super rich man’s club are coming in the form of extreme gerrymandering. They’re coming in the form of people like Marjorie Taylor GreeneLauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and even Donald Trump getting elected to office. They’re taking the form of laws that limit the right to vote for people of color. They’re coming in the form of climate change deniers in power. Shit, it comes in the form of some idiot touting crypto currency by ripping up hundred dollar bills at a bitcoin conference in Miami.

But, here’s the thing, it’s possible to change with the times. I’m going to be uncharacteristically sincere and serious by admitting to you that I grew up a homophobic racist. In my most formative years, my brothers and I were raised by grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights era. My grandmother was an angel, but being from a coal mining family in Pennsylvania, she cussed like a sailor and many times she shot off an N word or called effeminate men the F word (not fuck, the other one). I went through elementary and middle school in a frontier-rural town in the mountains of Oregon where I did not see any people who didn’t share my race, and none (who admitted at least) who were gay, so I’m sorry to say that I used those words too. Regrettably, I shared that attitude. And I will tell you, there is some sort of perverse feeling of satisfaction hating a group of people who you believe are lower than you in some way. Even if it’s not earned, looking down on people has a certain gratification.

Of course, I found, once I set off into the world, that this was all bullshit. Nothing cures bigotry like actually getting to know the people you believed you were better than. When I joined the Army infantry after high school, I was one of four or five white guys in a platoon of forty people. Working alongside Black people, Mexicans, Koreans, Columbians, and more showed me that there wasn’t anything special about being a white. My prejudice disappeared almost immediately. I feel I never hated anyone in the LGBTQ+ population, I just never understood it. But after decades of meeting and having dear gay friends, I realized they don’t need me to understand anything. Their existence isn’t a problem to figure out, no more than mine is to them. We are all the same amount of human, and that’s all anyone needs to understand.

(the author, Sean Davis, second from right)

I’m not trying to say that I found some sort of great enlightenment out there that will cure the world. I’m just trying to say that a great societal shift is coming, and no one will be forced to stay ignorant. If you believed at one point that the earth was flat and climate change was cyclical and not manmade, that’s fine. If you grew up hating other races or other people with different gender identities, you don’t have to stay that way. But we’re at a crucial point where we really need to fix problems that have been created by prior generations, and we need to get on the same page.

Do I believe that the current leaders of the GOP will read this and change? Fuck no. They know they’re going to die and they give zero fucks about taking the world and all the future generations with them, but I’m hoping that people who grew up like me will change. Remember, you’re not a hypocrite if you’re changing to become a better person. And as much as I would love to see Elon Musk and Putin in some sort of high-tech karate match with bears, robots, Ye, and Pete Davidson dancing around in a cage match, that’s not going to help us at all.

By Sean Davis

Sean Davis is the author of The Wax Bullet War, a Purple Heart Iraq War veteran, and the winner of the Legionnaire of the Year Award from the American Legion in 2015 and the recipient of the Emily Gottfried Emerging Leader, Human Rights award for 2016. His stories, essays, and articles have appeared in the the Ted Talk Book The Misfit’s Manifesto (Simon and Schuster), Forest Avenue Press anthology City of Weird, Sixty Minutes, Story Corps, Flaunt Magazine, The Big Smoke, Human the movie, and much more.

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