Keep Families Together, Bro

The times were simpler back then. We got together. We made clever signs. We made pretty signs. We marched. The outpouring of grief over families being separated at the border was a mandate of the heart. “Keep Families Together,” we chanted.

Ah yes, back then during the simpler times of last week. Since then, a vacancy on the supreme court has been filled. America is proud to welcome Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the high court, making him officially the 108th sadistic white male.

Women can pretend they still have the right to choose what to do with their own bodies, but they’re just pretending…unless they have money. Gay men and women can pretend their marriages are still marriages…but equality has evaporated.

It’s the end of American Democracy as we know it. I suppose it was inevitable. We’re fragile! All we had to do was elect a black guy and the backlash was bound to be so extreme that white men and 53% of white women lost their fucking minds.

I went to the March To Keep Families Together but I didn’t know what to say about it which is strange for me. I took a bunch of pictures but I didn’t know what to do with the picture since they’re all starting to blend into one gigantic, irrelevant march.

I went to the Women’s March in Chicago. I went to The March For Our Lives in Washington DC. I went to The Road To Change in Englewood. I was planning on skipping the March To Keep Families Together, even though getting there was easy this time around, only a train ride to The Daley Center.

Then I got a call from Eddie Gee.

There’s something I have to confess about Eddie Gee: he’s the most naturally brilliant person I have ever known. After the protest, we walked to Millennium Park. There’s a restaurant nearby called The Gage. As luck would have it, there were 2 seats at the bar, just below the TV, where we could watch the World Cup. Uruguay was playing Portugal. Eddie Gee was rooting for Portugal. So naturally, I was rooting for Uruguay. Not because I had any real affection for Uruguay. But simply because it was fun to be on the opposite side. As my team pulled ahead, Eddie Gee got annoyed.

“Name the capital of Uruguay,” he said.

I googled: Montevideo.

“Bro,” he said, “I didn’t ask you to google. I asked if you knew.”

“What’s the capital of Portugal?” I said.

“Lisbon,” he said.

Now it was my turn to get annoyed.

“What’s the capital of Honduras?” I said.

“Tegucigalpa,” he said.

“What’s the capital of Scotland?” I said.

“Edinburgh,” he said. “I know my world capitals, Bro. You’re not gonna stump me.”

He meant it. I was impressed. This is the thing about Eddie Gee I find endlessly fascinating. Sometimes I joke about him being a hustler. Sometimes I joke about him being deeply flawed. But it’s really just an offset. Eddie Gee is plugged in. He’s curious. His mind is constantly giving context to international conflicts. But when I’m describing him, it gnaws on me that too much gushing would be embarrassing. You have to attach some degree of imperfection to the people you secretly admire or you end up blindly worshipping them and what fun is that? It’d be like both of us sitting at The Gage rooting for Portugal.

It was a hot day in Chicago. Eddie Gee said the attendance at the march took a hit, since the heat probably kept people from coming out. I found this particularly upsetting. Yes, the heat was unbearable. But so were the circumstances surrounding the march: families separated, children locked in cages, people fleeing for their lives being treated like criminals. What were they guilty of? Not wanting to die in a war. Not wanting to get between a drug dealer and his turf. Not being brave.

The last thing is complex. It goes both ways. Sure, it’s brave to stay and fight but what happens if you’re not inclined to fight? What if Albert Einstein had stayed in Germany and fought? The answer is clear: he’d be dead and forgotten instead of dead and beloved by the ages. Albert wasn’t a fighter. He was a scientist. Albert wasn’t a German. He was a man of the world.

So are you.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, or separate you from the people you’re lucky enough to love, or lock your kids in cages, or call you an immigrant or a refugee when really you’re a man of the world, you’re a woman of the world, you’re everybody’s child and I find it baffling how the heat could keep anyone from putting a magic marker on a piece of cardboard and showing up to kiss the sky.

I never understood what Jimi Hendrix meant when he said, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.” But now I know. It means showing up to fight for those who’ve lost the ability to fight for themselves. It means remembering you don’t have to pass your authority over to someone wearing a uniform or flashing a badge or deluding themselves with an Executive Order. It means overthrowing sadistic white men and the 53% of sick white women who choose privilege over empathy.

Eddie Gee’s team lost. My team won. It felt good to get lost in the win. It lasted 37 seconds. Then we paid the bill, stepped outside and looked around. There were so many directions we could go. “I know a place,” Eddie Gee said. We walked a couple blocks, went into a building and up an elevator. Tilted Kilt is essentially Hooters with a Celtic tilt. This is what I mean when I say Eddie Gee is deeply flawed. Here’s a guy who pushed me to make the short commute to the march despite extreme heat and my God given gift of laziness and because of our friendship, I kissed the sky which means don’t forget showing up matters but also means don’t forget you like checking out chicks in kilts so short you can see their panties when they bend over to serve beer.

“What’s the capital of Ireland?” I said.

“Dublin,” he said. “I saw U2 in Dublin. I met my boys there. They have a business overseas, so I flew across the ocean for a concert. By the time I got to Dublin, by the time I landed, they were so fucked up they could barely stand. It was 10AM. I’ve never seen an entire country drink like that before. The day turned into a blur. The concert was one hit song after another. I forgot just how many great songs they have. It never ends. After the show we went to a bar where U2 was hanging out, allegedly. They were somewhere over there, allegedly.”

Eddie Gee motioned with his hand, somewhere over there, the elusive place where life comes with bottle service, with or without me, with or without you, in the tug-of-war between being okay and needing someone else to step in on your behalf.

Turns out, I’m the one who’s deeply flawed. But I’m lucky. I’m surrounded by love, my family is together. Despite the things about myself I wish I could change or travel back in time to do over or put behind me forever by stamping my white privilege passport and blasting off for another planet.

What’s the capital of Mars?

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