My brother lived in my parents basement. My brother died in my parents basement. When it happened, I was home for winter break from my Masters studies in Chicago. Marc, my older brother, was working a tech job in Greenwich, CT, his first job out of college, and living in the basement of my parents house in an NYC suburb, as he had done since he was 17 or 18. He had gone to college locally, so he never left home.

On December 21st, 2006 in the wee hours of the morning, I woke up from fitful sleep to what sounded like a baby crying, except the cry was rhythmic--a bagpipe yawning with a trill. The sound was coming from the basement, where brother lived. I startled out of bed and ran downstairs. As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I couldn't believe what I saw: Marc was face down on the ground next to his bed, making snow angels with his arms and legs and screaming. Initially I thought he was having a nightmare, so I flicked the lights on, grabbed him by the shoulders and flipped him over. My brother was six foot two and 250 pounds, so I don't know how I flipped him so easily, but I remember it like he weighed nothing at all. A cold sick chill shot through my body then: It couldn't be a nightmare, because his eyes were wide open.

The skin on the knuckles of his toes had rubbed off, and they were bleeding. The screaming continued. My first thought was that Marc had lost control of his body and was screaming for help. He was taking klonopin (benzodiazepine) and I remember him telling me during one of his manic rants about pharmaceuticals that discontinuing benzodiazepine could cause muscle spasms. A flash flood of panic welled up inside of me. I heard myself screaming a primal blood curdling scream, the likes of which I had hitherto only heard in Hollywood horror films. My mother appeared as if out of thin air and was crouched over him yelling his name. I don't remember how she got there. I just remember her pleading eyes looking up at me suddenly and waving at me to stop screaming.

I began to look around for the phone handset but I couldn't immediately locate it so I ran upstairs and grabbed the kitchen phone to call 911. I remember hearing my voice stating in frantic and barely coherent terms that something was wrong with my brother. He was convulsing and screaming but unresponsive. I hung up and ran back down to the basement, or rather I should say that I floated back to the basement, since I don't remember my body moving. I crouched next to my mom and my brother, who was still doing snow angels and screaming the robot scream. His eyes were still open but they were blank and unseeing.

Then the screaming stopped. For a split second I felt relief. Just as quickly the relief melted into horror, as his arms locked into a praying mantis position, his back arched, his jaws clenched and he began foaming at the mouth. I ran back upstairs and called 911 again. I heard myself begging them to hurry. "I think he's having a seizure," I said. They assured me that the ambulance was on its way and would be here within minutes. Our home sits half a mile from the hospital, so I was sure it would be soon. Then I was downstairs again watching him convulse. My mom had disappeared. I realized later she had gone outside to flag down the ambulance.

Again, relief, when he stopped convulsing. Again my relief turned to nauseaous fear as he went limp and stopped breathing. I felt his jugular for a pulse. I felt blood moving but I wasn't sure if it was a pulse. For what felt like an eternity, but was likely only a minute or two, I sat alone with his body in eerie silence. Do I start CPR? If his heart was still beating, could I put him into cardiac arrest with chest compressions? I froze. Two men, EMTs appeared and yelled down at him. His eyes were still open so they must have thought he was conscious. One of the men checked, "He doesn't have a pulse." He began CPR. The other one prepared an injection. I don't know if it was naxalone or adrenaline or what. I remember the empty syringe rolling across the floor as they continued CPR.

My brother's body disappeared. He must have been whisked away into the ambulance. They must have brought a stretcher in through the door. It was a walkout basement with picture windows and a glass door. There were questions about what drugs he was on. My mother opened a cabinet where he kept his medication. It looked like hundreds of pill bottles. I remember saying something about how I knew he was abusing cocaine too. One of the EMTs said, "Cocaine is terrible. It destroys your heart muscles." My mom took down pill bottles one by one, and handed them to the guys. They seemed flustered as they tried to read all of the drug names. I don't even remember what he was on at the time, but I know there was Klonopin, Antabuse, Effexor, Lithium, and a handful of other stuff.

I don't remember who drove to the hospital, whether it was I or my mother. I don't remember walking into the ER department. Somehow I already knew what they would say before they said it: "I'm sorry but he didn't make it." Last time I had seen my brother he was pink but flushing purple. Now his skin was greenish blue. A cadaver. I heard me sobbing. I don't know if my mom cried. I saw empathetic faces peering at us through a gap in medical curtains. We floated out into the parking lot. The sun hadn't come up yet. A very young stray kitten ran out from the bushes and stopped in front of us. It mewed. For some reason I had the thought, "It's him!" and I walked towards the kitten, intending to take it home with us and adopt it. But it scurried back into the bushes and was gone.

I don't remember much of what happened after that. I don't know where or if I slept. My dad and my sister were on a flight back from Hong Kong, so they were unreachable for hours. I remember daylight and my mom calling my dad. I heard her say "Marc died," in Portuguese, the language we speak at home. She handed me the phone. I described the events that transpired, wholly disconnected from my emotions. Word got around, people called, people came. I wanted to hide upstairs. I didn't want to interact with anyone.

I called my brother's psychiatrist. The poor man was a dull hack, who was part of NAMI (North American Alliance on Mental Illness), which no doubt is an advocacy group indirectly paid for by pharmaceutical companies. He was the third or fourth psychiatrist my brother had had in almost as many years. I know my brother chose him because he was scrip happy. Marc preferred to diagnose himself and research meds online. All the doctor did was write prescriptions. Why shouldn't he want to do so? Every other commercial on TV was for depression medication. It sends the message that you should research medication about which to "ask your doctor." I badgered the psychiatrist for a while on the phone. I told him he was a glorified drug dealer and he was responsible for my brother's death. I still believe that.

I called my brother's actual drug dealer. His number was one of the last few numbers that was dialed on Marc's flip phone. I left a message calling him a scumbag murderer or something like that. I called lawyers hoping to find someone willing to prosecute either the psychiatrist or the manufacturer of Antabuse, the most recent addition to his cocktail of meds. He was taking it for a month, two tops. I explained what had happened to several gum chewing bitches who answer the phones for law firms. They all told me that there were too many medications, and it would be impossible to pinpoint Antabuse as the cause of death. Innocence by proximity to many criminals, I suppose. I gave up calling lawyers, and just curled up in a ball under the covers. I think I stayed that way for days except to eat.

Antabuse was definitely the cause of death, even if I couldn't prove it. It's a drug that is used to help alcoholics stop drinking. It makes your body incapable of processing alcohol, so that even one sip of alcohol will make you wildly sick. Even a whiff of cologne could cause the person taking Antabuse to vomit, I remember Marc had said, with manic excitement. It also inhibits dopamine metabolism, which makes it particularly dangerous when paired with dopamine drugs such as cocaine. My brother died alone in his sleep of a massive fatal seizure, yet his toxicology reports showed his cocaine blood levels to be three times the lethal amount. Someone with levels that high should have been blowing lines, not sleeping.

In hindsight we should have forced him into the hospital much sooner. The last week of his life, he was psychotic and deeply paranoid. He cut holes into the basement walls, sure that the place was bugged. I drove him to the gas station one day to get cigarettes, and he was afraid two men sitting outside the attendants office were watching him. The night of his death he had ditched his car in the Bronx after a harrowing day in which he was sure he was being pursued on foot, and fled his imaginary chaser. He told me he had lifted a sewer cover of some kind and hidden in a hole in the street. I had to go to the Bronx and fetch his car. I drove there with my mom and found it where he said he parked it. In hindsight his psychosis was likely due to increasing dopamine toxicity in his brain.

The last night of his life, he and I had a huge fight. 2007 was a time before widespread GPS, which made fetching his car in the Bronx a harrowing chore. I was stoned and worried about my brother. Panic gripped me the whole drive back, which was in the dark. I got lost and wound up on the Bronx River Parkway and the Sprain, both very windy fast narrow roads with no shoulder during rush hour. I felt I was vibrating the whole ride home and dread chanted in my brain like the ghosts in the end scenes of The Shining. When I got back from fetching his car I screamed at him. He seemed totally defeated and barely fought back. He asked me if I wanted to hang out with him and I said no. "There's always tomorrow," I said. He muttered, "Heh. Yeah."

Who was my brother? He was 25 the day he died. I was 23. Who is anyone at 25? I am 34 now. I am not who I was at 25. A 25 year old is a child, in many ways. His death made sense in that place and time. Just as it made sense that the economy imploded six months later. My brother was always ahead of his time, and that was his problem, not "Bipolar II," which was the bullshit diagnosis that his brain dead psychiatrist gave him at the age of 16. Who isn't pathological at 16? We came of age in the 80's and 90's. We watched Michael Jackson mutilate his face, Mariah Carey get rubber tits and strip naked on live TV, George W. Bush steal the election from Al Gore, the war propaganda machine go into full throttle, MBAs, meritocracy bullshit, neoliberal economics, the towers coming down, Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith, The Real World, MTV turned from progressive innovate channel to peddler of soft core porno, and of course, internet porn.

Any one of these things pointed to a society that was rotting and unwraveling. All of these things together spelled certain doom. For all the progress that surely happened too, there was no question that our culture was stage IV cancer. To my knowledge the last movie my brother watched was An Inconvenient Truth. I remember him telling me with utter glee about how the world was going to end. How we would see crazier and crazier storms and hundreds of millions of people would need to move and states would collapse. He may well be right.

I don't think I personally ever recovered from my brother's death. I muddled through my Masters program, half dead. I must have exuded major damsel in distress vibes. That plus my loss of appetite and concomitant shedding of 15 pounds made me suddenly the most desirable morsel around. I was aggressively pursued by three stellar men at once. One was a secret admirer who lured me to the Sears tower for a date that should have been spectacular but I barely remember it. I focused on dating and staying stoned. I read papers and tried to care about classes and to some extent I still did. Somehow I passed and came out the other end.

My brother was a kind and funny soul. He was a mad scientist. He had a genius IQ. He was great with computers. His eyes were wild and full of life. He could be intensely empathetic and intensely annoying. The suffering of small animals pained him. Any rejection by his friends devastated him. He was also, like most people, relatively powerless. We were first generation immigrants with few connections and a thin network. We had enough money in the family to get through school free of debt but not enough to buy us bourgeois jobs. We would need to hack it at grunt work for years before getting a chance to do anything fulfilling.

In the last year of my brother's life, one of his best friends walked off of a cliff and died. He and his buddies had gone to the hawk watch to do drugs. His friend, who had just gotten out of a psychiatric facility, became psychotic and was convinced that people were coming after him. He said, apparently, "I can't go back in there. I can't go back," before disappearing into the woods. They searched for him for hours. The next day his body was found on the side of highway 684. I imagine nobody knows if it was suicide or intentional. I wasn't sympathetic at all. This friend was a dirtbag who dragged my brother down. Good riddance, I had said something to that effect. In hindsight that was cruel and inhuman.

The 2010's seem to be defined by language and conversation about marginalized people, in a way that the 90's and 00's were certainly not. There's a lot of blaming of CIS white heterosexual males for their privilege. And of course there are now open NAZIs again, and blatant white nationalism instead of Reaganite dog whistles. My brother missed all of this. He missed the financial collapse and the first black president. He missed the heroin epidemic. He missed Donald Trump hijacking the presidency. He missed a lot of things, which he would have seen as natural.

I ask myself sometimes, if CIS white male privilege is really that awesome, why are my sister and I alive and my brother and his college friend are dead? They're not even failures living in their parents basements. They're fucking dead. Life should have been easy for them. They had a college degrees and no debt and lived in New York metro area. Marc should have been golden. But he's dead. If he were alive today, would he have been radicalized? Would he be a white nationalist today? Would he be happy now? Would he find the terms to build his person? I don't know. It always seemed like a doomed experiment, like the words for the concepts he needed just didn't exist yet.

What I do know is that, as crazy as it sounds, we need to love the NAZIs too. These men who emerge from behind computer screens in their parents basements, they are lost children. And their very membership in a white nationalist group betrays their utter powerlessness. Even Richard Spencer with his parents vast plantation fortunes and his likely trust fund... is a PhD dropout, spat out of the Ponzi scheme that is academia. Would he really be peddling his bullshit if he had had success getting a job in academia that could afford him some semblance of self reliance?

I don't want to make excuses for CIS white males, at least not the ones who have power. I can already see the stinging online comments calling me a disgusting racist for even suggesting that we ought to love NAZIs. My point is that "marginalized people" is a term that doesn't work anymore. Neither does "intersectionality" or any other academic term. I prefer the term "shat-upons." It makes it crystal clear who should and should not receive added sympathy. Whomever is in a position to shit on others and does, that person is congealed in power. Whomever gets shat upon and can't do anything about it, that person lacks power. The shat-upons have collective power, but only in the collective.

These days internet trolls are deployed by organizations, governments, and probably private companies. They have access to sophisticated data patterns that tell them how people behave. No doubt they know all sorts of strategies for breaking apart the shat-upons. I want to think that all of the marginalized voices coming out in chorus to criticize white male people can form a powerful coalition. But the fact is, that coalition is ineffective without white people, for all sorts of reasons that include gerrymandering, mass incarceration, voter ID laws, and poor voter turnout; but also just sheer rural/suburban versus urban demographics and the tribalism that keeps it all in place.

The line that splits the two basic tribes is this: are you for or against CIS white males? But that shouldn't be the question. The question should be, are you for or against congealed power? Most CIS white males are not in power, even if most people in power are CIS white males.