Words from the Editors
Fellow Weatherbeaten travelers, the emperor wears no clothes. He is naked. His crass design is laid bare for all to see—kowtowing to the NRA over the bodies of dead children, openly embracing white supremacy and misogyny, curtailing civil rights, assaulting the environment through the wholesale of public lands, the list goes on and on and on. And though he is frail on his own, he is (for now) surrounded by sycophants whose allegiance is only aligned with their own (and Russia’s) pockets. Times are difficult indeed, and they may only get harder in the foreseeable future, but there is hope:
Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting. Kids are protesting.
Just like the Civil Rights movement before us, the path forward will be lit by our youth.
It needs to be said over and over and over again like a mantra because it seems to be the only thing that seems to stick: Under the gilded surface is merely a man, weak in flesh, weaker in mind. And in the end he will be alone, an old man withered, languishing in a cell.
In this issue we remember the moments that left us stunted and jaded by pain. Our editors chose works that celebrate the wanting from the past, and discuss the issues set before our country in the turbulent political climate.
As a personal note, I wish to dedicate this issue to the brave. I want to be brave like each one of our authors who speak proudly and boldly through the night. I want to be courageous, like the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are challenging our lawmakers and rattling cages with their march towards our nation’s capital. To the brave people who continue to stand up to oppression and keep looking towards the hope that we will overcome this troubled time. They give me strength. They give me fire. And they make me proud to be a part of this resistance. Please enjoy this special edition of Weatherbeaten, and may we all find the courage to do what is right in this world.
I didn’t pack for this present. The one in which I find myself, seated in a room that’s all windows. Outside, a public discourse on race, politics, and rights occurs with such fiery fanaticism that it’s impossible to ignore. In every direction, new voices force their way to the fore, then fade with each descending sun. I can’t take notes fast enough nor remember why I took them upon reflection. They’re creased and wadded in my bag, soaked in tea as much as they are in pen.
This is my natural state of being. University police provide my office with procedures should it ever be our time. During training, I sit and take notes. I make copies for my desk. I add them to my bag.
I carry them with me. They aren’t armor. I didn’t pack for this present.
Mass shootings, mass incarceration, violence, hate, division, poverty, dehumanization of immigrants and people of color, deciding a large wall is more important than education or healthcare, deep rooted systematic racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, so many phobias it makes me wonder if there is anything we aren’t afraid of, and this list is only skimming the surface. There are more, and then there is the stress, pain, and loss of mere existence. With each step forward we make towards positive change, there seems to be a bigger force pushing us five steps back, a force that beats us down, a force that cares little about who we are.
My dearest readers, you must be exhausted from this journey. Please, I beg you, take some time to rest in this refuge our writers have created. Listen to the voices of the oppressed, of those who are grieving, of those who are hurting, of those trying to reconcile with memory, of those trying to live their best lives, of those who still manage to find beauty in this world. Within their words you will find hope, courage, and inspiration. You will find catharsis. You will know that you are not alone. As we gather together we can begin to do something extraordinary— We can listen and find compassion for one another. We can unite. We can fight for ourselves and for each other. We can cause righteous disruption. We can continue to power a positive movement. We can overcome the force that holds us back.