I'm Having Trouble Hearing You


I'm Having Trouble Hearing You

A Lament For Hudsonville's School Board Meetings

This is not an attempt to pick a fight. This is part an expression of my grief and sorrow, and another part an attempt to hold up a mirror. It feels presumptious to say this, but it feels like a small sliver of what MLK wrote in Letter from Birmingham Jail when he wrote

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
MLK, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

There's a high level of lament to be sure, but I'm realizing that there is also a glimmer of hope in the writing of those words. If the disconnect is never brought to light it can't be addressed and wrestled with, and nothing will ever change.

So I hope some can watch this and feel their own lament put into words; while others watch like a mirror.

I’m sorry, can you say that again?

I’m having trouble hearing you.

I'm having trouble hearing you say you want neutrality while wearing the logo of a far right conspiracy theory that says we’re cannibalistic pedophiles and constantly calling us enemies of the state.

I'm having trouble hearing you say you’re for all children while you spend your three minutes complaining about a book that simply acknowledges others’ existence.

I'm having trouble hearing you say you’re for safe schools while you use gang tactics to show your strength at board meetings.

I'm having trouble hearing you say this is a matter for the heart and home while you shout and boo at those who disagree with you in public.

I'm having trouble hearing you say you just want answers while you choose to ignore every answer you’ve been given.

I'm having trouble hearing you say “we want the same thing” when you’re spending so much time and energy working against it for anyone who doesn’t look and believe just like you.

I'm having trouble hearing you say you don’t feel safe when it’s your friends and allies that are surrounding you, clogging the exits, following people out of rooms, screaming while pounding on doors, and walking up to speak with a gun holster on display for all to see.

I'm having trouble hearing you say there’s no signs that say someone isn’t welcome while you demand the removal of everything that says they are.

You speak loudly.

But man, is it hard to hear you.

This started off as me just jotting notes to process the past few board meetings. As it was taking shape I thought of turning it into another letter to the editor. But as it continued being formed the pattern and rhythm emerged and I realized it had to be spoken word.

Aron Duby

Web Developer Bacon Specialist, Introvert, Zombie Maven, Professional Photo-Bomber, Like Neo from 'The Matrix', but less terrible.