I hold no illusions that what I write here will be read by the Covington High School students mired in the latest case of social media-fueled media malpractice. It’s really a message to my son, who will have to learn these lessons eventually; the sooner he takes them to heart, the better off he’ll be.
I’m not going to pretend that I understand what you’re dealing with now. I’m assuming, however, that if you were attending the March for Life to protest the horror of abortion, you’ve got good parents who are guiding you along the path to being decent adults. At your age I didn’t care about any issues outside of my personal desires, so I salute you.
Obviously the attendant ugliness isn’t what you expected. It’s bad that it happened, but it’s worse if you don’t learn anything from it. Here are the biggest takeaways:
Adults lie. You probably knew this already, but it’s particularly galling when thousands of adults are lying about you, what you’ve done, what you’ve seen, and what you believe. There’s a big difference between white lies and lies designed to destroy you, and you’re being subjected to the latter, and it sucks. It’s disillusioning. Nathan Phillips lied to the media about what he did to you and what you did. He has a history of lying about his service record and previous encounters with white people. You’re being lied about by politicians, news reporters, entertainers and their brain-dead fans, and it’s absolutely crazy, but here we are. They’re lying about you not because of anything you’ve done personally to them, but because of what you represent: the millions and millions of people who hold different values. You’ve become proxies for President Trump, his voters, and anyone who stands against abortion. They hate you (and us) so much they’ll lie about you to ruin your lives. So yes, adults lie.
Only your family has your back. It’s absolutely shameful that the diocese and school immediately and publicly rushed to judgment against you, despite that these are some of the adults who know you best. Any apology at this point is too little, too late: the damage has already been done. Their primary interest isn’t in protecting or even educating you: they live first and foremost to maintain their jobs. Students come and go, parishioners move elsewhere, but the school and the church live on. They don’t have your back. Not even the strangers who are outraged on your behalf have your back, at least not for long; we’ll move on to a different outrage next week. Only your family has your back. Don’t trust your teachers or clergy to protect you. Trust your parents. Trust your family. They’re the ones who will see you through this.
Entertainers are, for the most part, scum. I understand the desire to lionize actors, musicians, and comedians. They entertain us and it’s natural to like them for it. It’s hard to dislike someone who makes you laugh. Just remember that they’re doing a job, nothing more. They have no special skills outside of that job. They don’t have the wisdom of the brilliant people they sometimes portray, and for the most part, they lack curiosity, education, and ethics. Hollywood is a town that’s known worldwide for rampant sexual assault, pedophilia, substance abuse, and institutionalized prostitution. So when you see something like this:
Consider the source. John DiMaggio is the actor who does the voice for Jake the dog in Adventure Time. And now he’s hoping you’ll die. He doesn’t even know you. He hasn’t bothered to inform himself as to the particulars of the incident. He’s representative of the majority of the entertainment sphere. So don’t make the mistake of elevating entertainers. They’re not good people just because they’re on screen. In fact, most of them aren’t good people at all. Don’t you have something better to do than give the people who hate you your time and money and attention?
Most adults are cowards. While you’ll find a lot of air time devoted to attacking you for just being there and wearing MAGA hats, you won’t find a lot of air time devoted to attacking the Black Hebrew Israelites. Which is weird, because they called you “faggots”. If white nationalists had called black kids faggots, you can be sure that every gay rights organization on the planet would have jumped on them with both feet. But they haven’t, because the Black Hebrew Israelites scare them. Because they’re cowards. Anyone in media who doesn’t denounce this racist, bigoted group the Black Hebrew Israelites is either a coward or someone who agrees with them. Note also that the majority of people who called for you to be beaten up or even murdered weren’t saying they’d do it themselves. They asked other people to do it, because they’re cowards. Like Reza Aslan.
This is all very cynical, I know, but it’s also the truth, and it’s something you’re living right now. I wish you the best of success in everything, particularly your lawsuit.