Letter from the online trenches

25 November 2020

4:22 AM

25 November 2020

4:22 AM

November 7, 2020

To my dear parents,

Victory. Uttering the word feels strange after four long years of battle. But we persisted. After our devastating ‘loss’ in 2016, I ordered my pink-knit pussy hat from Etsy and answered the call to arms. I remember learning of the atrocities suffered under other dictators whose statues we’ve toppled, such as Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln. But after the horrors I’ve witnessed online, I would trade places with them in an instant. It’s hard to describe daily life when you’re living in a war. For four years I’ve woken up in my Brooklyn apartment, heart heavy with the knowledge that I am living under the tyrannical rule of a madman. Is this how Anne Frank felt?

We have achieved our goal but not without a cost. Even now I feel the carpal tunnel syndrome acting up. There are countless other physical injuries that my comrades and I will carry with us, possibly for days: tech neck, iPhone elbow, bedsores. The indentations on my couch are an ever-present reminder of the hours I’ve spent on the frontlines. Perhaps you’ve heard about the fearless exploits of our elite operatives in the media. CNN anchors. Times journalists. The sacrifices they have made will go down in history. The difference between their war and ours is that our heroes will get no medals. Don Lemon has a million-dollar salary but our debt to him can never be repaid. They stormed the beaches of Normandy. We stormed the streets of SoHo.

My apologies for not having contacted you sooner. I could not leave my followers without a leader, even for a moment. With great blue checks comes great responsibility. Composing 130-tweet Twitter threads and doomscrolling takes its toll. These years have been mentally and physically exhausting in ways only other soldiers could understand. And although all soldiers are war criminals, I do finally understand a little bit of what makes them go psychotic. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through this letter without interruption but I’m expecting Postmates. I ordered from that Asian Fusion restaurant down the street. You know the one — we went there to celebrate my graduation from Columbia, back when things seemed normal.

Although since I watched Chelsea Handler’s stunning and brave documentary in which she confesses her complicity in systemic racism, I realize that only the color of my skin has afforded me the privilege of thinking things were ever normal. This war has been going on since 1619 and I was too fragile to see it. It is not enough to be not racist, Mom and Dad. You have to be anti-racist. And antiracist means hating white people.

Not a single day has gone by since the bad orange man brutally ripped our safe spaces away from us that I haven’t looked in the mirror and hated myself. So I’ve spent the last four years being the best ally that I can be. Posting truth bombs on Twitter; making #resistance stories on Instagram; screenshotting people’s tweets for Commander Ocasio-Cortez. After our online campaign in which we doxxed a Nigerian driver who dared to display a Trump sign, UberLUX is going to have to look for one more pawn in its late-stage capitalism exploitation scheme.

Not everyone made it. The PTSD was too much. They’d jump at the sight of red hats. Constantly bombarded by violent speech like ‘only women get periods’ and symbols of colonial oppression like the American flag and math. Triggered by Trump Tower, the only skyscraper that has changed the New York City skyline forever. Never forget. Poor Blaire was so overwhelmed by the sound of his voice during the COVID briefings, she fled to her third home in the Hamptons.

Even now the fascist dictator seeks to contest the results of the election. There’s nothing more un-American than contesting an election — especially from someone who stole the election in 2016. But don’t worry! He’ll have an orange jumpsuit to match his hair soon enough. All his enablers and supporters have been put on a list. We are appealing to Big Tech to work with us in silencing anyone who spreads this hateful propaganda. We hope to win the Senate majority so we can pack the courts, disarm the population and abolish the Electoral College. The threat of authoritarianism is too great and we must consolidate power so this never happens again.

There’s no going back to brunch. And it’s not just because all the local restaurants and bars have closed, it’s because bottomless mimosas and $18 eggs recall a more innocent time when we could blindly celebrate our Whiteness. But tonight we breathe for the first time in years. Tonight, after I burn all the books written by that transphobe J.K. Rowling, I will wave my hammer-and-sickle flag in triumph. And we will dance in the streets, shoulder to shoulder, singing in celebration — the 250k-plus who perished from COVID will not have died in vain.

I will hang my Handmaid’s Tale uniform up in the closet, hoping I’ll never need it again but knowing the fight has only just begun. Today, I will allow myself to smile for the first time in four years. A child of no more than four years old grabs my hand and whispers, ‘Everything is going to be OK, Mommy.’ Did I tell you that you have a grandchild? We named him Hillary.

PS: Some personal news: I know I shouldn’t care about all the weight I gained from sitting on the couch manning — I mean personing — the trenches, fighting wave upon wave of white supremacists, Candace Owens followers the worst of them all. Thank God I bought a Peloton during the SoulCycle boycotts. My ‘defund the police’ T-shirt arrived from Amazon today. There’s been a rash of stolen packages and attempted break-ins, but things have calmed down since we hired private security. I’ve already secured a seven-figure book deal chronicling the events I survived. I shall call it My Struggle.

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