This is Our Tragedy to Politicize, Especially When Your Politics Made this Tragedy Possible

PHOTO: Chelsea Hoag

PHOTO: Chelsea Hoag

There are two sides to every coin. This country has long had a tradition of vibrant and healthy debate on issues and this discourse has contributed to the continued and slowly expanding liberation of people who have flocked to our shores for safety and opportunity. I value this discourse so, so much. This nation has been propelled so far by the willingness to socratically and democratically evaluate each step along the way.

This is an emergency, people, and I'm only just now realizing it because of my own privilege that I try and often fail every day to understand. I knew things were dire for trans folks, people of color, and specifically the Latinx community, but this kind of unprecedented, direct attack on people who are exactly like me has shown me how this is a matter of life and death for every community. None of us are free when others are oppressed.

The truth is, national discourse has never been fast enough to save the lives of people of color, trans and queer folk, and working poor. Dissenting opinions, according to our constitution, are vital to our democratic process, but as long as oppressed groups are being filled with bullet holes, this Democratic process is unconscionable and I can't stand behind it, beside it, or in front of it.

The liberal standpoint gets a lot of flack for being so against any conservative arguments, but a lot of people misunderstand why the leftist politic is so steadfast in their refusal to have what the right calls a "proper" discourse. This is what people refer to, negatively, as "PC culture" or how bad it is to be politically correct. But what the right gets so wrong about the left's refusal to argue is that we're doing so because there is a morally wrong side of history to be on.

To resist policy changes that better control guns is to be directly responsible for a room full of dead queer bodies, a church filled with the bodies of a black congregation, and puts our own schools under attack. To resist a changing social climate of acceptance in favor of antiquated beliefs is to be directly responsible for a system that gnaws and destroys queer and trans, black and Latinx lives. To maintain seemingly harmless, personal, negative attitudes towards someone because of the way they were born is to maintain the continued violence against them. It is impossible for anyone to be truly persecuted if people are being liberated—again, none of us are free when others are oppressed.

Arguing with me or with what you see as my leftist perspective is pointless because my only value is the unimpeachable importance of every single human life and if you can’t agree with me on that, then we will never agree on anything. By continuing to allow a "national discourse,” we are allowing attitudes + opinions + policies to seem legitimized, and these are the things directly and matter of factly responsible for the violence we're committing on ourselves. There are national discourses worth having—like how to educate our children, how to best liberate people from oppressive class structures, or how to deal with new technology, but not when there are lives at stake.

Some may find it sickening that I am “politicizing” this unspeakable tragedy. What’s worse to me is that those who are upset with my politicizing seem to be more sickened by my response than by the fact that the tragedy occurred. I just want this all to stop and I don’t know what else to do.

National discourse has gone far enough and can't go any further. Let's shut the fuck up and take care of each other. For the love of whatever you think is right, see every single person as necessary and let human beings live.

It's time to throw away the fucking coin, people.

Ryder is an Atlanta-based poet, designer, artist, the physical embodiment of a sad, gay spare tire, and editor of the style journal Street Geometry. He can be found on Twitter, where he is almost constantly very angry.