To All the Sycophants I’ve Loved Before

By Ben D’Alessio

Dear Andrew,

It wasn’t love at first sight, I have to be honest. You wanted to give me free money (you wanted to give everyone free money!) and I was skeptical about that. You were in the way, I was told. You shouldn’t be taken seriously. You were new, fresh, an outsider, and they were frightened of you because of it. Well… I have a thing for outsiders and I wanted to give you a chance. That’s how you won me over (it didn’t bother me that you sound like Kermit the Frog). And when I fell, I fell hard. One time I talked about you so much at dinner my fiancée said, “why don’t you marry him instead?” Oh, Andrew. Your policies on combating poverty while boosting the economy in a human-first capitalist system make my knees weak and heart flutter. My fear is that you’re ahead of your time. I… we just aren’t ready for you yet. It isn’t fair, I know. Perhaps one day this country will appreciate you — I just hope it isn’t too late.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Joe,

I hate that I love you. You were already so famous when I was introduced to you, I didn’t know what to expect. I was intimidated, okay, I’m not ashamed to say it. I didn’t even want to like you. I didn’t see the allure in you. You just appeared in a little box on my YouTube page one day and I clicked. I took that bait, the lush I am. The worst part is that one click, that one clip, meant so little to you, but it meant so much to me. You know what you like, but you’re open to new ideas and perspectives. Your interest in the world makes the world seem like a more interesting place… perhaps it is. Your success and how you’ve accomplished so much is a threat to them and they know it. But please, no matter what, don’t ever change. When they come for you, you won’t be alone.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Bridget,

I was introduced to you through a friend. You didn’t want to get caught up in all this, but you’re thriving and it shows — there’s just something so exciting about a natural. I’ve heard your story, at least the parts you’re willing to share. You’ve really been through all that? You wouldn’t be able to tell from your voice. It’s passionate, yet delicate. Genuineness is a virtue, probably, and I love that about you. It’s your curiosity that will set you free, but not until it’s finished with you. It’ll be hardest to see you go. I almost wish you could stop now and change course and get off the list. I bet Buzzfeed or Jezebel would be happy to have you. But that’s not you. That’s not who you’ve become, and I love that. Don’t go gentle into that good night.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Tulsi,

I was told not to trust you. I was told not to believe what was right in front of my face…and I’m ashamed to say that I listened. Can you ever forgive me? Once I got to know you more I knew that this was real. To fight this feeling would be an injustice to myself. You tantalized me with your stance on anti-interventionism and won me over with the PWSA. You won’t find a GMO-Label on my heart, because this is all-natural. If we make it to 2024, do you think you’ll give it another shot? You know that saying, “If you love something, let it go?” Well, and it hurts me to write this, but I think you’d be better off with Andrew. You two would really make 2024 exciting, for what it’s worth. I don’t care if you have a (D), (R), or (I) next to your name, you’ll always have a (❤) in my book.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Chloé,

I was skeptical at first, as is my nature. I saw terms like “antiracism” and “diversity and inclusion trainings” and receded. Your kindness lacked the unction that the peddlers of these terms were parading when I first met you, but perhaps you were just a slicker snake-oil salesman. I’m proud to admit that my instincts were wrong. Bad speech must be combated with good speech, and that’s exactly what you did. I should’ve known that a New Orleanian would’ve created The Theory of Enchantment. Fight bigotry, instead of spreading it. Uplift > Cripple. Treat humans as… humans, instead of political monoliths. Who’d’ve thunk it? It’s my prayer that more will flock to you instead of those others, that more will leave darkness for the light. You make me want to be a better man.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Tim,

I fell for you the moment I heard that Long Island and cigarettes voice — I stayed for the hour-long soliloquies about your Aunt and those AirBnB travails. You’re in Texas now, closer to your true love, and I mean it when I say that I’m happy for you — I know you’d never look at me the way you look at Alex Jones, and that’s okay. I hope the Lone Star State allows you to spread your wings and share your gift with your fans, at least until this all comes crashing down. Perhaps your many wigs and disguises can hide you from persecution, but they did find Ghislaine… Let’s just pray wherever they put you it isn’t in the “desert lesbian chic” style.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Ayaan,

You’re one of the bravest people I know of. We both may cringe at the term “lived experience,” but yours is one every American should absorb. Like those who travel down the same path, criticizing religious fundamentalist and illiberal, misogynistic, and medieval characteristics of a pervasive strain of Islam, you’ve put yourself in physical danger while refusing to silence yourself — for that, I love you. You’d think that an unabashed voice for women’s rights and safety everywhere — ending forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings, etc. — would attract a deluge of support. Instead, the backward, hypocritical turn of liberal, western politics has somehow turned you into a “villain”. Perhaps one day we’ll have an army of Ayaans to speak truth to this insanity and influence real progressive change. Until then, I’m honored to amplify your words.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Thomas,

We’re both native sons of the Garden State, although you’ve relocated to Parisian pastures, I’m still here. Nevertheless, you haven’t forgotten about us and have continued to fight for American liberalism from France, which is where some of our most cherished ideals come from, after all. You could’ve turned your back on our creepily totalitarian culture, but instead, you championed a letter in defense of free speech, justice, debate, and understanding, when so many were demanding compliance and ideological conformity. Actually, it was from this letter that I discovered you. It helped reorient me. It was a refreshing breeze in a miasma of shit where I was beginning to question my own values. I needed it and for that, I love you. Continue to fight the good fight and maybe don’t come back, at least for a while. It sounds like your leader supports our shared ideals over there. But if they do get you like the rest of us, just know you’ll find plenty of support.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Ben,

This love is a forbidden love. We don’t agree on everything and that’s okay, it always had been… until recently. However, we do share a love of country. A country that is not inherently racist, is not systematically evil, even if evil has been committed in its name before. We trust in institutions and believe in reform instead of arson — except for Congress, I’d be OK with dissolving Congress. We share a love of free speech and open debate and think that censorship, for lack of a better word, is bad. We believe in attacking arguments (with more speech, of course) instead of attacking identities. Logic and reason are our greatest weapons. Whether you know it or not, you’ve inspired many to become stronger debaters and to really grasp all sides of an issue. This endorsement will likely become in flagrante evidence for my persecution, you have that power over people. Oh well…

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

Dear Dasha and Anna,

Your podcast name intimidated me — your ISIS-inspired t-shirts gave me pause. But I had heard Anna’s interview on Tim’s pod and decided to take the plunge, and as they say, there’s no love like new love. The three of us share an appreciation for nuance and hostility toward dogma. But what most attracted me to the two of you is your pulverizing critiques of neo-liberal, techno-fascist, corporatist lip-service social justice stances — and your imitations of AOC, of course. You zig when everyone else seems to zag, and it’s refreshing.

Love,

Ben

P.S. Find me in the gulag, I’ll be there, too.

To all you sycophants I missed, please know that you’ll be in my heart always, I just needed more time.

Ben D’Alessio is the author of the novels Binge Until Tragedy, Lunchmeat, The Neon God, and 6 Harlots: Rebirth of a Nation. Visit his website to learn more. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 20% of profits are donated to the Covenant House in Atlantic City, NJ.

Author of the novels: Binge Until Tragedy, Lunchmeat, The Neon God, & 6 Harlots: Rebirth of a Nation | Linwood, NJ https://www.bendalessio.com/

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