In A People’s History of The United States, Howard Zinn wrote, “[t]he memory of oppressed people is one that cannot be taken away…” In the relatively short history of this country, there have existed no shortage of oppressed people. Economic and social disenfranchisement are large, broad categories, the Venn diagram of whom contain a large overlapping portion. Who occupies this bleak, desolate space in our society? The most vulnerable subsections of our population: women of color, LGBTQ individuals, and men whose soon-to-be-ex-wives are dragging their name through the mud in arbitration after one misunderstanding in Las Vegas. And while the powers that be, whether they be the prison industrial complex, or Janet, may try to suppress these memories, they must not succeed.

Look, did I make a mistake? Yes. Was it as bad as her lawyer is making it seem? Depends on who you ask, but as Zinn says, “The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.” Shutting me out, regardless of what I’ve done, sets a dangerous precedent. I’m not asking for full custody, or even my Waverunner back, even though I know she’ll never use it. All I’m asking for is to be heard, not for my sake, but for the sakes of future men ensnared in Janet’s web, forced into the impossible choice of being beaten down day after day or standing up, knowing the odds are against you.

Like most in power, Janet seeks to perpetuate a historical narrative that justifies their position, demonizing those they intend to subjugate, in this case: me. Colonists in the Americas and their descendants continue to further the fantasy that indigenous populations were inherently violent and barbaric to justify manifest destiny, and Janet won't stop telling our friends that I fought a nine-year-old child at Chuck-E-Cheese’s for the last slice of pepperoni at my nephew’s birthday party to justify once weekly supervised visits with my own goddamn kids. The similarities are striking. But I refuse to take this lying down. Consider me the Sitting Bull of misunderstood men everywhere.

Power concedes nothing without demand, so consider this my demand, Janet. No longer will you maintain that I drank seven guitargaritas at the Tampa Hard Rock Hotel and subsequently wet myself in the lobby yelling at the bellhop about the standings of the NFC South. That may be how the official records of our divorce chronicle the situation, but we both know it was more complex than that. We both know I wouldn’t have had to drink those guitargaritas if you hadn’t been jumping down my throat all day about the boat I just bought, yet you silence my struggle, omitting your contribution to what would ultimately be described in a custody hearing as “gross misconduct” and “behavior not becoming of a legal guardian.”

“Whatever we poor men may not have, we have free speech, and no one can take it from us.” While I hate Communism because I hate what I do not understand, this quote from a communist rally in New York City struck a chord with me. I may not have the right to see my kids anymore, but I do have the right to go to the town square and yell at the top of my lungs that their mother is cheating witch. Anyone who tries to tell me otherwise, including her and her Jew lawyer can suck my big old hog and that is what America is all about.

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