“Why are you celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement?”
These are the words that a despicable person (and I use that term loosely) posted on Twitter. Said person (again, using the term loosely) repeated these words again and again, aggressively attacking people, companies, and organizations that had the audacity to wish their followers a happy Columbus Day.
To say that these words are false is the greatest understatement imaginable. These words are so wrong that there are no words in the English language (or any language) adequate to convey the extent of their wrongness, or to describe the rage and grief that consume my entire being upon reading them. These words are beyond harmful, beyond demoralizing, beyond overwhelming, and beyond infuriating. As I’ve written before, attacks on Christopher Columbus cause me unbearable and indescribable pain, and these anti-Columbus words are among the most egregious that have ever been uttered.
Often, when I read or see or her words such as these, I am paralyzed. I am filled with such excruciating pain that I cannot act, cannot think, am not capable of rational thought. My emotions are so strong that they cannot be expressed in words. And because there are no words to fully capture the wrongness of what I have read, I often don’t write or say anything at all.
Unfortunately, these disgusting and excruciatingly painful words are only one drop of water in a vast ocean of disgusting and excruciatingly painful sentiments that have been expressed to mark the occasion of Columbus Day. As I sit paralyzed, horrible words continue to come in, forming a pile of horribleness that grows larger and larger with each new social media post, news article, or politician’s statement. Doing nothing is the worst possible thing to do, because failing to publicly condemn these words implies that I am okay with them, or at least don’t consider them a serious problem. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
So even though there are no words adequate to express the extent of the wrongness, I have to try. I have to condemn the horrible attacks as strongly as I can, even if no words are quite strong enough. I have to explain why the statements are wrong, using the best and most accurate words that I can. I have to convey, as completely as possible, how much pain the horrible words inflict on me. I am learning to accept that unless I magically become immortal and acquire a source of unlimited income so that I no longer have to work, the pile of horribleness will likely never go down to zero. But it is better to rebut some of the horribleness than none.
Some days, I have the time and energy to tackle some of the horrible things from the pile. On those days, I feel all right. I feel that I am doing something to fight back against the people doing the horrible things. On other days, my mind collapses under the weight of the pile. On those days, I am overwhelmed by both the egregiousness and the enormous quantity of the horribleness that has happened.
This explains why I am not always able to write about the horrible things happening in the world in a timely manner. But even if I write about a horrible thing long after it happened, I think it is still worth doing. It is better to condemn and rebut something at a seemingly random time than to let it go without any condemnation or rebuttal at all. I hope over the coming days, weeks, and months to tackle some of the horrible things that have been said on the topic of Columbus Day, starting with the grotesque “torture, rape, murder, and enslavement” comments.