By Amy CurrulSummer Koester and Gwen Coburn

As a lobbyist for Exxon Mobil, I understand that many of you are upset about our role in the planet’s rapid deterioration due to climate change. I get it. I, too, would be upset, if I wasn’t already guaranteed a spot on Elon’s Mars Colony and its corresponding escape pod. I’m here today with a simple request: stop yelling at us.

Listen, you’re unhappy, but so am I. This week has been really stressful: first I got punked by a bunch of no-good “activists” who tricked me into taking a fake meeting, then they tried to “cancel” me and my employer by releasing footage of the meeting. Now you’re yelling at me to do something about it, and Exxon’s yelling at me to make it look like we did something about it. It’s all very annoying and I just want to hang out at my Hamptons house while Congress does the dirty work for us.

Did we agree to support the Paris Climate Agreement? Yes. Did we cross our fingers when we did it? Maybe. We have courageously battled single-handedly against science, and science created the atomic bomb and nerve gas. So, you’re welcome.

Since the cat’s out of the bag, you might as well know that getting thirteen senators in our pocket was just the start. A baker’s dozen of senators is great, but you know what’s even more satisfying? Buying the entire bakery and turning it into a national chain of deep fried nacho pizza fast food.

You’ll just have to settle for closure in the form of knowing that we won’t rest until the entire United States government is in our pocket. Also, since when is being in the pocket of big oil such a problem? It’s been the calling card of a good legislator, on both sides of the aisle for decades now. I thought you liberal ladies all loved pockets!

You will be comforted to know that someone will probably lose their job because of your public ridicule. Who? Not me, some intern.

Really, the despair you’re feeling is your own fault. In fact, just because of your whining, we’re going to murder an extra polar bear this week. See? All this hasn’t done anything to stop humanity’s impending doom. Think about next time you try another one of your “gotcha” moments.

If you’re really so upset, maybe it’s because you haven’t come to accept your own mortality. We here at Exxon have built it into the core of our company: one day, not so far away now, everything is going to reach it’s (somewhat) natural conclusion. Until then, all we can do is sit back, relax, and become billionaires. If this is all going to literally go up in flames, I would like to face the end of the world on my private yacht or island or human hunting preserve.

You all should really find better ways to accept the harsh realities of our inevitable demise, rather than just yelling on Twitter, which btw is really harshing my summer vibes right now. For example, I spend my Wednesday nights catching up on the phone with my old poker buddy Joe Manchin. Who’s to say we’re chatting about oil and not which senators are watching Survivor, or who we should invite to our next game? Oil only comes up, like, 75% of the time. The rest is just buddies hanging out and running out the clock.

Let’s be real: sure, whole coasts are on fire, people are starving, we’re running out of clean water, and there’s a fiery pit to hell in the middle of the ocean in Mexico; regardless, time continues onward in a march towards oblivion. Read some Schopenhauer, do some coke, whatever you need to as long as it doesn’t involve me. Now if you can leave me alone, I’ll be in the Cayman Islands, protecting my assets and enjoying palm trees while they still exist. Cheers!

Widget Mag bills themselves as “the new hotness in fark jokes and anti-capitalism,” which is why for their school and education theme I had to submit my piece about standardized testing. Gratefully, they accepted it, and were wonderful to work with!

Here’s an excerpt from my piece If We Cancel Standardized Testing, How Will We Keep Poor Kids Out of College?

There’s a lot of chatter about standardized testing these days, and, as a parent of 3 wonderful boys all named Connor, I felt I should reply. I promise to look at the matter objectively – the fact that my husband is a leading shareholder of Scantron and my 2nd cousin is Betsy DeVos is immaterial. I’m just a parent with a passion for quality education.

Read the rest here! Thanks for reading!

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” — Mathew 25:40

Last May, when the Trump administration starting separating children from their parents and housing them in hieleras (ice boxes) and cages, under deplorable conditions with no clear intention or process for reuniting them with their parents, I could not sleep for many nights. You see, although thanks be to God I never had to flee my country, I was married to a Venezuelan immigrant, and many of my good friends are immigrants — some would say refugees, who fled Venezuela because of the insanely high crime, lack of food and medicine, and general suffering. Also, because I care for people, and love strangers as Jesus Christ did (who by the way, was an undocumented immigrant in Egypt). I am not saying that we should “let everyone in,” and I believe in immigrating through the legal channels. However, torturing innocent children — and yes, it is torture and trauma that will live with those children for the rest of their lives — and making parents suffer who are coming here to LEGALLY apply for asylum, in order to send a message, is absolutely indefensible.

This video is of me and my dad playing at the 2019 Alaska State Folk Festival here in Juneau. I wrote the song, titled “Other People’s Children,” and my father Tom Koester accompanied me with some beautiful guitar picking. Thanks, Dad! At the bottom of this post I have shared the lyrics with you all.

For the 10 plus years I lived in California, all my friends were immigrants, mostly from Venezuela. They were the warmest & most fun people I have known. One of my friends had crossed here illegally and ended up in one of those ice boxes in Texas for three months as a result. This was no ordinary jail. They were treated like animals in there, it was freezing, & he got very sick. He called us asking for money just so he could buy some soup. He was one of the nicest people I had ever met & certainly did not deserve this fate. Eventually they deported him. He, like my other Venezuelan friends, came from a country where the odds are pretty good that you will end up robbed and possibly murdered. There is a huge food & medicine shortage there. Any one of us would have tried to have escaped a living hell, even if it meant coming here illegally.

Married to a Spanish-speaking, dark-skinned immigrant who spoke little to no English for 8 years, I witnessed the racism first-hand. I know what it’s like to be treated like cattle as we waited hours & hours in several lines at INS to get our cases heard, just to be sent home because our paperwork was insufficient. Even with a masters degree I had a hard time understanding all the paperwork, & we eventually had to spend thousands to hire an immigration lawyer. Although I would never compare my experience to the horrors of being jailed or separated from my children, I know what it’s like to be treated like dirt by ICE. When my husband left his green card behind as we were crossing back into the US, they acted like we were illegals trying to sneak into the US. 

Sometimes it just takes getting to know the “other” to develop a little bit of empathy. The best way is to travel abroad (all inclusive resorts don’t count, sorry) and if you can, live abroad for a bit. Get to know the locals. (Trust me, that’s the best part.) There is nothing to fear. People are mostly good. In the meantime, I will continue teaching Spanish, and in doing so, teach children about the wonderful “other” people out there.

“Other People’s Children”:

Every night, every morning, every time I hold my kids,

I think of my sisters wondering what la migra did

With their babies, their vidas, the reason that they did

What they had to do, and I can’t sleep because of this.

I stay up late looking for their babes,

I ask NPR, New York Times and RAICES,

I listen to their stories to hold space

For these children, I see their face, I see their face…

Oh baby, where are you? Are you ok?

Did they take your rosary? 

Do you still have the belt with my name on it?

One day we will meet and I’ll hold you–

I’ll take the fear away.

I pray and pray,

Oh Mother God, with your love embrace,

I pray and pray, please keep my babies safe.

Dry her eyes, make her strong,

Someone please pick up the phone,

Bring my baby home.

I hear my babies crying at night–

Are they sick, are they all right?

I hear my babies crying at night–

Trying to safe a save I lost their life.

I search the news, keep hoping they’re back in mama’s arms,

But they’re not, they’re still missing

And the world goes on.

Running late, lots to do, work the nine to five —

First world problems, but someone still can’t find their child.

How can I pray when they took my rosary?

How can I breathe when they took my babe from me?

How can I sleep when I can’t stop crying?

This is my story, please don’t stop listening.

I hear my babies crying at night…

Trying to save a life I lost their life,

I hear my babies crying at night…

Trying to save their life, feels like I lost my life.