I’m an Angry White Man, with a twist: I’m angry at other angry white men. You’ve seen and heard them: they add “only” to the phrase “Black Lives Matter” and then shout at people who never said or meant that. 

Why are white men angry? We’ve always been the default. It’s something learned early and subversively, as I did by reading science fiction as an adolescent. Tantalizing adventures in space! Every international starship had a diverse crew. And wow, they were progressive—all colors and genders! But the expedition head, the lead explorer, the hero of the story …was always a tall, white, male American. The default.

The flip side of this biased coin has appeared often enough in the movies to be a cliché: one of the characters must die early in the story, to establish the stakes for all the others. And of course it’s the Black Guy.

Science Fiction is escapist, right? Usually progressive, often moralistic. But the “Best of” short story collections that I devoured were also serious subliminal training, so easy to swallow if you happen to be a young white male. The writers themselves may have been unconscious of the prejudice they were teaching… 

The white male with the strongest chin, the loudest voice, was either in charge—or if not, then he certainly possessed superior morals. White men were the standard: Believe it, kids! Even if you don’t actually have a strong chin or a loud voice. You’re white and you’ve got a dick. 

But now, poor white guys, we’re losing that Number One status. And some of us don’t like it. You’ve read them complaining about Disney’s new Star Wars movies… how come a black man and women are the heroes?

You can tell white men that they aren’t really giving up anything, other people are just getting the same rights as theirs. But that’s the whole problem: we white men are giving up something—our exclusive rights. Our white privilege and male privilege. 

So how do you make acceptance of this egalitarian future palatable to what I’ll politely call toxic masculinity? I wish I knew.

I’m angry at society’s systemic racism that allowed me, taught me, granted me permission, to be racist without realizing it. I grew up in a liberal family, or so we thought. But we lived in lily-white Maine and never had a single exposure to anyone Black. 

The result: I was clueless regarding race as I entered adulthood. I felt I was a liberal, and I would use the N-word as a way to mock racists—not realizing that my use of it was racist. In the past, I’ve called that unconscious racism, but it’s really an ignorant excuse for white privilege.

And how are we whites supposed to figure out that we have white privilege? It’s how anyone learns anything: shut up and listen. And then listen some more. And try to hear what is being said.

I’m angry at the racist and poorly trained cops who have made the Black Lives Matter movement necessary. Since George Floyd was murdered, police have continued to kill unarmed black men. On video, for God’s sake! These people are not listening. I know it’s not every cop—and it’s not just the cops. There’s plenty of evil to go around. But there are more good people than bad. And there are more good cops than bad.

But I also remember well the ugly public debate between LAPD chief Darryl Gates and advocates for racial justice. This following the 1991 police beating of Rodney King, captured on one of the first viral videos. NWA didn’t rap Fuck the Police because it was cool to sing. The cops who were filmed beating King were found not guilty, by an all-white jury in mostly white Simi Valley. And I am painfully aware that as a white man, I have never feared for my life while being ticketed for speeding. Or while sleeping in my bed.  

I’m angry at the white supremacist Umbrella Man and his wingnut compatriots who introduced violence, looting and burning to peaceful protests in Portland and elsewhere. Trump and A.G. Barr know that many who instigate the burning and looting that they condemn are in fact right-wight provocateurs. But of course none of them will be ambushed and jailed by nameless federal goons in unmarked vans. 

Social media is currently under attack by Russian trolls pretending to be antifa, broadcasting plans for armed insurrection after Trump wins (or loses), and all the while it’s really right wingers who are craving armed confrontation, even planning political assassinations!

I’m angry at the “geniuses” who come up with easily demonized phrases such as Defund the Police. I understand the emotion—cops keep killing unarmed Black men even as we monitor them, so why keep these legally protected murderers around at all? 

But we can’t get by with NO police. Defund sounds like abolish even if you don’t mean exactly that. And it plays directly into Trump’s revival of the racist dog whistle “Law and Order.” There are so many appropriate verbs and phrases that we could use on the police: demilitarize, reimagine, retrain, repurpose, stop asking them to do a social worker’s job, start holding them truly accountable …all changes that we might actually persuade our politicians to enact. 

I’m angry at Ruth Bader Ginsburg (while simultaneously blessing her soul) for not retiring, as her friends begged her to, back when Obama was president and Democrats had a majority in the Senate. She lived history, she made history, she was history, and I understand that she never wished for the effect her untimely death will have. But here we are. The Supreme Court’s makeup, for a generation, will be 6 conservatives and 3 liberals. 

What does that mean? You can kiss goodbye to so many things liberals have worked for: Obamacare, Roe v. Wade, DACA, voting rights, gay rights, climate change legislation. Each of these things will appear before the Supreme Court and the conservative majority will kill them. Even Medicare and Social Security could be in  jeopardy; Republicans have been trying to cancel FDR’s New Deal ever since it went into effect in the 1930s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they repealed our child labor laws…

If all that doesn’t make you ill, then I offer Trump’s plan to use the Supreme Court to win an election he seems destined to lose badly: he’ll challenge any losing result all the way to the Supreme Court, which will vote either 6-3 or 5-4 to re-elect him. I don’t believe that will happen, I pray that it won’t happen, but the possibility is terrifying.

I’m angry that we’re headed for COVID-19 “herd immunity” no matter what Trump’s (or Biden’s) government does. Too many Americans think it’s their right to ignore basic health orders. Don’t tread on me! Tyranny is wearing a lil’ fuzzy mask, troops! That’s right: tyranny has become having to care about people you don’t know. About anyone else, actually. How very Trumpian.

Trump’s government isn’t helping. His new favorite health advisor, who has no expertise on the subject, is pushing herd immunity on the theory that you have to crack some eggs to make an omelet. In this case, some two million eggs, give or take. It is way too easy to envision Trump’s new Covid Task Force buddy Dr. Scott Atlas pitching herd immunity like this excerpt from Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

Yes, some of the worst enemies of our well-being are home grown. Anti-vaxxers will refuse the COVID-19 vaccine, whenever it comes out. A dark portion of my heart wishes that these folks would just be killing themselves. But no; they’ll infect others. And this virus, like the measles, will keep coming back because a few asymptomatic assholes, who don’t believe in the virus, will actually keep it alive. These people refuse to understand that my mask protects them from the corona virus, and their mask—if they wore one—would protect me.

I’m angry at the 2016 voters—and some of them are my own damn relatives—who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton for any goddamned reason. 2016 was actually the crucial election that pundits are now warning 2020 is. Why? Associate justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh. I was already going to be long dead before the Supreme Court majority leaves the 19th century. Now that Trump gets to appoint another young ultra-conservative justice—Amy Coney Barrett, age 48—Millennials will be my age before that happens. 

I’m angry at our media, social and mainstream, for repeating and amplifying Trump’s lies and hate speech. Which is also coming from Putin’s people. If Twitter caught me inciting violence, they would close my account. Facebook would quickly shut me down. As they should! 

The mainstream print and broadcast media have been so focused on Trump’s pandemic failures, that they’ve lost sight of all his other transgressions. And then they complain that Biden is all anti-Trump, all the time. He isn’t, I’ve heard otherwise just casually listening to his speeches. Do they listen?

And I keep reading, “What if Trump contests the election and/or refuses to leave office?” Where in hell do you astute journalists get the IF? He contested the 2016 election that he won! Of course he’s going to send it to the Supreme Court. And the three justices he will have appointed by then ought to recuse themselves from deciding the election—but will they?

I’m more than angry that there are 78 days between the election and Biden’s inauguration …assuming he wins. In truth, I’m terrified because I can imagine what Trump will do to get even with America after he loses the election by a landslide …or God forbid, what he’ll do after a win, to celebrate our electoral validation of his lawlessness. He’ll be a lame duck on November 4th, with no need to please any voter, no matter who is the victor.

On that note, sit back, roll yourself a big fat spliff, and forget, for a brief moment, that we are fucked in some ways no matter what happens. Listen to The Pioneers sing their 1972 Reggae hit Time Hard: “Everyday, things are getting worse…”

And then VOTE. It won’t stop a lot of the bad stuff still to come, but shortening Trump’s assault on democracy to just 78 more days might make it survivable.

Written by

Steve Schlich is retired after 35 years of writing fiction about software: “easy to use,” “does what you want,” and the like. Hobbies include webmaster for www.RodSerling.com, writing songs and short stories. In 2004, he created www.NakedWashington.com, a website chronicling the naughty public art in Washington, D.C. He lives happily with his wife and cats, north of San Francisco.

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    Thank you Steve, for such an insightful piece. All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent. iit often feels as if the evil forces have a way of getting their message out that makes a larger splash. it’s obvious to me that you are not entrenched in just exploring one viewpoint, but are attempting to make sense of everyone under the umbrella of these confusing, trying and anxious times. YOUR MESSAGE IS WELL SAID AND IS HEARD and will surely make an impact by anyone who truly listens.

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    At this point, Is it all to wonder: Does America’s mentality have, at its roots, a skewed sense of free will?

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