A Scattershot of Hot Takes

Two issues have raised my ire this week.

The first Dumpster fire is, of course, the impeachment of Donald Trump. I don’t think anyone is surprised that Senate Republicans are doing everything they can to derail the impeachment and protect the party’s leader. I’m not, anyway.

I just didn’t realize that the entire leadership was so corrupt as to put forward an argument saying, “Yeah, he did what Democrats are accusing him of doing. And sure, it’s technically a crime. But all that matters is that our party remains in power. So fuck off.”

Truly, I thought at least one or two would actually give a shit about the oaths they took to defend the Constitution. Clearly, I was more naive than I’d realized.

Time for We the People to yank these asshats out of office. November isn’t too far away. I hope we’ll remain pissed and use that fury when we’re at our polling stations. Oh, and we should remember to shit-can Democratic turncoats like Dianne Feinstein if they actually vote to acquit Trump.

I’m also more than a bit furious about the conflagration of events surrounding the publication of “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins.

As a writer, I don’t think any subject or point of view is off-limits to writers and other creatives. EVER. Our job is to delve into challenging subjects and bring attention to issues of all kinds.

In other words, I’m 100% behind Jeanine Cummins and support her decision to write about the immigration crisis. Writers have a long history of exploring a wide range of topics, even if we don’t know them well. That’s the job: To learn about what interests us and then write about it with passion and empathy so that others learn too.

I do think, however, that Ms. Cummins and her publisher made several mistakes in handling the launch of the book. While Ms. Cummins has a grandmother born in Puerto Rico, she should have expected that Latinx readers might not trust her credentials to write the story. And trotting out her Irish husband’s documentation status didn’t help her cause.

But again, I can’t fault her for writing a book with a protagonist who is a Mexican immigrant. As writers, we can write about whatever and whomever we please.

Frankly, I place a much larger share of the blame on her publishers. From the barbed-wire fence decorations at the launch party to touting the book as “defining the migrant experience,” their approach to marketing this book demonstrated why publishing houses are still too damned white, male, upper-middle-class, and clueless.

I’m also pissed that too many news outlets are spinning this story as if Latinx protestors are calling for censorship or the book to be canceled. From what I’ve seen, what most organizations and activists want is a chance for dialogue with the publisher about its hiring practices. And, they want town hall events where Cummins and local Latinx leaders can debate and discuss issues raised by the book.

That’s what is needed: Dialogue. Honest but respectful debate. Discussion. Education.

Couldn’t we all use more information, on so many fronts?

(Photo by Dawn Armfield on Unsplash)

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