Just headed off another argument on my Facebook page, this time regarding the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict. And I got on a roll, and way past that specific topic, and I thought I'd put it up here to see what you all think.
It kinda meanders, although I do my best to aim toward an obvious target. Simple premise, though:
And here we are again. You're talking past each other. If you want to keep going, fine, but obviously nobody's changing anybody's mind.And then someone pointed out that we've been divided into "Us" and "Them", and he, I, and Trayvon Martin are part of "Them". To which I replied:
We– that is to say, I and all of you here on this Facebook page – do not have the facts of the case. We have what we have got from our own chosen media, and those facts and reports are necessarily incomplete. In case it's not obvious, I disagree with the verdict. But… The legal system has done what the legal system does. This is the point where we look at it; find out if something went wrong, or how something went right, or whatever; adjust it if necessary; and move on.
I feel terrible for Trayvon Martin – he's dead. I feel terrible for his parents – they have lost their son. I even feel terrible for George Zimmerman – for good or ill, he will always be "the guy who shot Trayvon Martin and got away with it", no matter what the actual truth is, and no matter what else he ever does.
So much of our lives lately is ruled by fear. This is been going on for decades, way before 9/11 – fear of differently-skinned people, fear of terrorists, fear of the Russians or Iraqis or Muslims or Hindus or immigrants, fear of women getting control over their own bodies, fear of sex and its consequences, fear of guns, fear of lack of guns, fear of "becoming like Europe", fear of games, movies, TV shows, books, words, exposed nipples… Every kind of fear you can imagine has been exploited by someone who wants to move an agenda.
Here's a thought, maybe: fuck fear. There's too much to enjoy in life, there's too much that has to be done, there's too many people that have to be taken care of for us to even bother with fear. Remember that courage is not a lack of fear, but not succumbing to it. Succumbing to fear makes you say and do insane things, on every level. From putting several locks on your door, to buying a small arsenal, to avoiding people of a certain skin color or religion, to demanding a 700 mile fence along a border as if that will actually keep people out.
No matter our lineage, no matter our heritage, we are all Americans here. We will always do better when we stand together. But there are far too many things which we are made to fear, and that tears us apart, makes us weaker, makes us vulnerable to people who would jack us around for their own agendas.
It is not a statement of any sort of manifest destiny to say, "we are Americans, and we're better than this". All people can be, and most people are, better than this. But we Americans are the ones here, and this is our biggest problem, and nothing progresses until we get past it.
Least of all, us.
See that, over there? That's the point. You have missed it.So, there we are. Fuck those who would fuck with us. Fuck division, hatred, whatever. We've got a country to heal, and it doesn't work unless we help everybody, even those who would stop us because they don't know they're our brothers and sisters.
Yes, I perfectly well know that we are part of "Them" to a lot of people. AND THEY ARE PART OF "THEM" TO US. And that's where we have to stop things, as quickly and completely as possible without people getting hurt or killed.
"Small-minded"? "Hate-filled"? Try to think of them as "really, REALLY focused, often to the exclusion of all else" and "told over and over again that something/someone else is An Enemy, and those people telling them are Very Important and Very Serious and Very Trusted, so how can they possibly be lying and therefore what/who they say is An Enemy, IS An Enemy."
According to the current rules, my dad is the enemy. I think my mom is, and so is her husband.
I have lost a few very good friends, and a larger number of acquaintances, over politics and religion. Several on FB.
I posted an inflammatory screed several years ago -- one which is still out there, and one which I stand behind -- the gist of which is, if you support those who commit acts of evil, you yourself are evil. I have made it explicit that I'm going after those in leadership positions, because by and large they're the ones putting this shit out there.
But there comes a point when, as individuals, we have to put on the brakes for ourselves.
Everyone always talks about how people are in this or that part of the country. Y'know, from going to cons, I've been to a substantial part of the country... and the people everywhere are just great. Heck, the only actual hassles I've had are from amused Columbus people when they hear I'm from Ann Arbor.
We are all one people, and the absolute first step to healing this country is acting like it. Am I asking for hand-holding and Kumbaya? No. Just taking a moment to consider that EVERY DAMN ONE OF US is starting from the same point... and, if our paths have diverged, maybe it's not a bad idea to see why, and possibly look down or even travel another path to see what's going on over there.
There is no "Them" except those who would divide us. And even THEY are part of The Tribe, The Nation, The People... they just don't know it.