Phillip and I had a friend over the other evening. They brought a bottle of wine and I was able to procure a pizza for us, thanks to Papa John’s. While over dinner we started chit chatting about the state of affairs in America, the situations that seem to be discussed in the media. Cancel culture. Racism. Insurgents. Then my friend said with sincere gratitude, “I’m glad we can talk about our thoughts on these things. We certainly can’t do it in public. People are afraid to say anything.”
“Amen,” I said. “I know I can’t. Not with my blog. I’ve already been told that I should be scrubbing stuff I wrote 5 years ago because it makes me a target. They’ve already banned my twitter account.”
“For something I wrote. Not for something I did, mind you. Something I wrote that was used as a weapon against me, to prove that I was hateful and vicious and mean and shouldn’t exist.”
And the whole mood, the whole conversation, the covertness of it set my mind back to 1989.
I began to tell my friend about the night the Berlin Wall fell. I was there, as some of you have heard me mention before. I was a 17 year old Goth boy, a senior in high school, drunk out of my mind that night. My shenanigans really should be penned into a book, for the whole story is quite fun. But, let’s skip to the end, where I am toasted, lit, pissed drunk and stumbling around with a broken bottle of Sekt. The gorgeousness of the evening, the total surprise and brilliance of joy in that evening can never, ever be scribbled with the best clarity. It will always be this moment of human triumph that happened oh, so fast, and so intoxicatingly perfect. These were one of the few moments in history where the world collectively celebrated the demise of tyranny and oppression.
I stumbled back with laughter that famous night, fell onto my back and just relished the moment. Thousands of people strolled by, partied on, or reveled past my limp body as it smiled with bright glee.
We had done it. Gone were the days of censorship, of spying on your own citizens. Gone were the days of neighbors snitching on each other because of their dissenting beliefs. Gone were the days of media propaganda machines. Gone were the days of erasing history for the sake of the Party’s narrative. Gone were the days of strangled art, of artists stifled by rules of permissible messaging. Gone were the days of when artists were afraid to say, sketch, pen, paint, or sing anything that did not promote the common ideologies of the masses, rather than the individual spark in the soul. Gone were the days of imprisonment for political belief, of forced medications on its citizens, of absolute control over every aspect of your life including where you live and where you work.
“We saved the world,” I whispered with a slur. “We did it….We saved the world from tyranny.”
Then my drunken shell stood to yell, “Good job, America!”
I passed out not long after.
I then said to my friend while grabbing another slice of pizza, “It never occurred to me that it would only take 30 years for people to forget all that….It never occurred to me that I would be sitting here 30 years later waiting for that same liberation to happen all over again, but now for my own country.”
I bit into my pizza, sat back on the couch and sighed with disappointment. “Good job, America….”
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