Personal Confessions, Political Confessions, and an Open Letter to Donald Sterling

So I often listen to sports radio to wake me up and keep me company during my morning routine. It stimulates my mind, anchors me to the world outside my mind, and frankly often riles me up and shakes me out of my sleepy complacency. Relevant to my topic today– Donald Sterling, bigoted, crooked, misanthropic–sociopathic. Lots of rough edges compared to your typical billionaire, I would guess. At the same time, most of us don’t want to admit that there are homeless people who are just as hard to like.

*If you follow sports news, you might want to skip down a bit*

Anyway, for those who don’t know, the sports media is abuzz about Sterling. He owns the LA Clippers. Recently someone released a tape recording of him spewing all sorts of racist stuff. Since then lot’s more information has come out about his racism and general sleaziness. Here’s an article from David Zirin with a lot more juicy details:


You might notice that Zirin wrote this article years ago. Here’s one he just wrote talking about the hypocrisy of the media and the NBA for acting like they didn’t know Sterling was a bigot.



Basically, I agree with everything David Zirin says about Donald Sterling. So what do I have to add?

A personal touch, I hope.

I’ve got a problem. I am a binge eater, impulsive, take self-destructive risks, impose myself and my opinions on others and then I purge and purify myself, castigate myself and swear up and down I will do better next time and be more disciplined.

This is a *big* and *old* part of my personality. Video game addiction has been one epicenter. Before that, I tended to read books obsessively. I’ve often collected things. Lately, I’ve turned more toward over-eating as well as dumpster-diving. I’m concerned particularly about the dumpster diving for a number of reasons:

1) It can get me in trouble.

2) It’s dirty and dangerous climbing around in dumpsters.

And yet I feel powerless to stop myself. Like any addict of course. It’s terrifying, demoralizing, you name it.

Honestly, I’m having trouble spilling my guts about this.

Sure, all the usual reasons apply–

I’m ashamed, I don’t want people to think I’m crazy, or broken. And of course I want to protect my secret so no one will keep me honest and call me out when I start bingeing, hurting myself, hurting them.

But also I find it boring to talk about. And a bit selfish. This is much harder for me to admit, honestly.

We are all addicts. No one is balanced. The world is utterly broken. And we’re all part of it.

And we all know this, deep down. We do.

This is really hard for me. I’ve gotten the message from people, usually indirectly, but by no means always, that I’m arrogant, rude, intrusive, even sociopathic. This is clearly true. But there’s a problem.

Sometimes it’s a good thing. If I’m pulling useful stuff out of someone else’s dumpster, most people would agree that this is a good thing. Or at least a sensible or valid thing for me to be doing. Well, I think they would. But I have doubts. I’m confused. It’s dangerous because of how some people react. So is it worth the risk? If I have no way to distribute the good food I find, who am I really helping by pulling it out? Am I really just acting out my own personal pain about the waste of capitalism by my obsessive need to rescue stuff from the land fill?

I’m setting you up. I’m using the example of the dumpster to introduce a more controversial and dangerous topic– hurting people. I mean that in all senses. Emotional, spiritual, physical. I’m talking about violence. Really. I am.

The idea that my dumpster is my property– that’s a boundary. Some people react like you just broke into their home. Hell, when you break into someone’s home, most people react like you just stabbed them. Or are about to.

Yes, I am making that comparison. I am drawing that analogy.

I try to hide this thinking from people. When I try to say this stuff directly, most people react in a way that makes me afraid to continue, so I retract generally. I believe I’m protecting them. That I can be the arbiter, that I will know when they are ready.

And I still do believe that.

It’s just, I can’t be that person any more. It’s killing me. The burden is too much for any human being, I think. I know it’s too much for me.

So I’m done.

I’m crying now. I know that the other side of this grief is where I need to go. Right now, I’m simply asking you to trust me.

OK, I thought that was the end. But I just remembered I promised to bring this back to Donald Sterling. I also promised an open letter to him. Not in the mood, but here goes.

Dear Donald Sterling,

I feel sorry for you, bro. You are obviously miserable. Here’s the good news: you have company. And you can learn to love it.

I’m not going to give you advice, because you won’t listen to me if I do.

Don’t argue with me, because you won’t win.

If you want help, I’m here for you.

You are not going to like anything that I have to say.

But you probably already guessed that.

Ira Woodward



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