08/30/2017 by syrbal-labrys
My husband and I were discussing the polarization of everything in American life. We were talking about where our ethics come from as well; for me this is difficult as I am not traditionally “endowed” with ethics. I didn’t get my ethics from religion; I find some of my choices do default back to a Kantian Categorical Imperative, even tho’ this was formed in me before I ever heard of the little Prussian. Of course, that is only really useful for discerning between good acts and bad acts; if your only choice is between two harmful actions? Well, I fall back to a sort of pragmatic utilitarianism.
But I can’t say that is how it works in my America today. When I see people quoted saying they won’t give money to help Texas because Texas voted for Trump? Wow. Of course, this IS very much the America ready to have another (un)Civil War over statues to traitors who considered other human beings to be owned livestock. Where one couldn’t be expected to reasonably say, “Well, if ‘history’ commemoration is the stated goal – let’s complete it with statues showing the other side of this moment in time: statues of slaves, of suffering, of bondage.” Where one couldn’t reasonably say, “Why is violence in self-defense considered worse when one side does it than the attack that led to self defense?”
Microcosm and macrocosm, only diametric opposites seem to be the choices. Black and white (and only one color dead? Thank you Joan Baez for a lyric that never leaves me) is all that exists even though I am perpetually wondering through gray zones. Even in personal matters, I am routinely expected to be draconian because if I am not, I am not a humane person at all – but a doormat. There are no adults in any room, only tantrum tossing toddlers?
Even being a rational humanist, I find it is mind-fucking on every level. I can almost feel my brain unfurling, unwinding, unraveling under the constant bombardment of hyperbole and hatred. I find myself so conflicted on why my efforts are ineffectual in the face of such insanity that I begin hating myself. If I can not competently explain the wrongness of something to the fat little right-wing woman across the luncheon table, what the fuck good am I, anyway? I feel like large portions of my life are failures because I cannot change a single mind, let alone the world.
I found it so hateful of people like Ted Cruz voting against aid for the victims of Superstorm Sandy; and these same folks see no issue with holding out hands for help with the aftermath-to-be of Harvey? No irony there, guys? THIS very thing, this devastation and despair, for me? It is WHY people make a social contract to have government and risk pools like insurance, and to do things like pay taxes, the comments of Mike Pence notwithstanding. So of COURSE you help both victims of Sandy AND Harvey, for pity’s sake! We MUST care about each other, because let me tell you — Jesus and his alleged angels are not coming to the rescue.
So yes, in the time of a hurricane that is not the first of its devastating type and will definitely not be the last? For humanity’s sake do something to HELP. All you privileged white men and women, like me? Privilege is also a responsibility. Yes, I absolutely believe that. I am not the only one, some pretty privileged people are stepping up to the check-book plate. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
My checkbook is already bottomed out. But payday is coming.