Horrible stuff I wouldn’t even dare to make up

I thought about, for this April Fool’s Day, making up something really awesome in the social policy world. But then I thought that would be super depressing, to find out that it was just a joke.

And, so, then I thought about making something up that’s really horrible, because that would make us feel better, right, to find out that it was a trick?

But, then I worried that I’d never be able to make up something so terrible that it would seem at all suspicious. Which was super depressing, too.

So, then I decided that I’d MUCH rather be angry than sad, about the assaults on social work values and on those we serve. So I scrolled through my email archives to find some of the horrible stuff that sounds so outlandishly awful that it should be made up, that I’ve collected over the past couple of months, for a sort of “should be April Fool’s jokes but we’re not laughing, so let’s do something about it” list.

That was too wordy a title even for me.

In no particular order, here are some completely unfunny, all-too-true examples of why social work advocacy is so needed.

No joke.

  • Tea Party group in my own state of Kansas depicts President Obama as a skunk, in an overtly racist smear. I’m grateful not only to the local NAACP chapter for speaking out on this but also for my good friends at the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, for helping us see how this connects to very worrisome trends of anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric (and action) within Tea Party groups.
  • City of Topeka repeals its domestic violence law in order to avoid having to pay to prosecute misdemeanors, after the County DA announced that his office would no longer do so, in order to save money. This was really controversial, with some advocates applauding the City Council’s decision as calling the DA’s bluff, but I side with those who feel that it sent a really dangerous signal, in addition to resulting in the failure to charge at least several perpetrators whose crimes were committed during the time during which they were, essentially, not crimes. Women struggling to flee abuse should not be pawns in an intra-governmental budget showdown. Period.
  • 96-year-old African-American woman who voted even during the Jim Crow era blocked by Tennessee’s “voter ID” law. Honestly, I had hoped that I was just being paranoid about these laws being an attack on our most fundamental democratic rights. Obviously not.
  • Alabama. Enough said.

    It shouldn’t be so hard to come up with a list of totally wild things, pulled from our imaginations, that would be instantly recognizable as fabrications.

    Maybe that’s my new advocacy goal: make “ridiculous” mean something again, in the policy context.

    A year from now, I want to be foolable again.

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2 responses to “Horrible stuff I wouldn’t even dare to make up

  1. Melinda- This was your scariest article yet. It could easily been posted for Halloween. But April Fool’s was very appropriate too. I’ve tried to pick my favorite or scariest truth and not sure if I can. They are all frightening. But the one that hits home the most is the one about the 96 year old woman who wasn’t able to vote in Tennessee. Unfortunately, I’m afraid we will be seeing this story repeate itself throughout many states this year.

    But the first one was the one my kids thought was most disturbing. My 15 year old was astonished that someone would even dare to compare President Obama to a skunk. We had a wonderful discussion about racism in today’s culture (thanks for that opportunity). My 4th grader wondered how that made him(the president) feel. You know, when I hear such stories, I think, “really, we’re still having that conversation”. We still have a long way to go in race discrimination.

    And I agree, it shouldn’t be so hard to find ridiculous things that are true. Let’s hope by next April fool’s, your search will be much more difficult. Although with the election season, I have my doubts.

    • Honestly, there are more I could have added just in the last few days! I am so impressed that you talk with your kids about this, and it makes me hopeful that the list will be shorter in the future. Let’s commit to making these seem ludicrous a year from now!

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