A Rant. (Or, Why I Wish I Could Bury My Head in the Sand Sometimes.)

January 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm | Posted in rants, Stuff Outta My Head | 6 Comments

I, frankly, don’t give a shit if Lance Armstrong doped during any of his Tour de France wins. I don’t care that people feel “betrayed” by a guy who was too vehement, really, to believe that he was clean.

He’s human.

I ALSO don’t give a shit that someone from Notre Dame either made up a story about his girlfriend dying or someone made it up ABOUT him.

He’s human.

A month ago, 20 first graders and 6 adults trying to protect them were gunned down by someone who decided to inflict carnage before taking his own life. 20 parents lost their children in the most violent and unimaginable scenario possible.

And now, the parents and teachers and people who HELPED the surviving children are being harrassed by self-proclaimed “truthers:” conspiracy theorists, who somehow figure that the government STAGED the whole thing in order to take away people’s rights.

These grieving parents, husbands, wives, siblings are being HARASSED. In the midst of the nightmare that is the aftermath of losing their children. They wake up every morning and remember: their son, their daughter, is dead.

And then they get calls, and emails, and people telling them THEY MADE IT UP. They’re paid actors.

No. They’re HUMAN.

And I really just don’t understand.

Where the hell did our humanity GO?

Look, I understand that people believe lots of different things. I personally, believe in stricter gun laws. I disagree with the fact that athletes have “hero” status in our society. I believe that two people who love each other should be able to get married without obstacle. I believe a woman should have the choice to start – or not start – a family whenever she wants to, without interference.

But I also understand that there are people who feel differently than I do.

What I don’t understand is how AGGRESSIVE we are about it. And maybe it’s the prevalence of social media, but I see it everywhere: people trying to FORCE their beliefs on others. About religion. About politics. About parenting, and healthy eating, and gun control. About abortion rights. About gay marriage.

About anything and everything they believe.

And when there’s a disagreement? It’s PERSONAL.

When did it become OKAY to harrass people? When did it become okay to call someone who is planning vote for Mitt Romney an idiot on Facebook*?

How is it even okay to actually CALL someone who just lost a child in an unprecedented act of violence a FAKER?

Where did our compassion go? Our gentleness? Our patience?

We’ve turned into a society of haters and screamers.

And sometimes I feel like Rodney King in the midst of the fires of a riot, wondering aloud, Can’t we all just get along?

We’re all human. We love, we sleep, we eat, we cry, we feel pain. We live, we die.

I wish I felt like we all remembered that.

*I’m not kidding, either: the night of the election, a Facebook “friend” of mine posted that as her status update. Not that I planned on voting for Mitt Romney at the time, but I also don’t believe that people who voted for him were idiots.

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6 Comments »

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  1. Along the same lines, lately I’ve seen people saying it’s not only OK to “shame” people about their choices, but we SHOULD shame people for making choices we disagree with. I mean? We want to live in a world where it’s encouraged to shame people for thinking differently than someone else, because shame is an effective way to change thinking/behavior?

    I think facebook, especially brings out the crazy in people and gives you a lot of insight into your “friends” … and how maybe they aren’t people we want in our lives after all.

  2. I buy most of this serenity, but not about lance armstrong. He not only systematically lied about what he was doing, he sued journalists who tried to report it, harassed and physically threatened those who tried to resist the drugs or expose what he was doing. I understand the pressure he put himself under, but I do not feel it is inappropriate to feel no patience or real empathy for the man. This doesn’t mean I don’t think he is human, but I do think he lost the right to my tolerance a long time ago – and the ‘confession’ this week has not rectified that as he is still lying about the most egregious elements of the scam.

    On the other things I think you are right, we feel we know people that we don’t, and that gives us a false sense of emotional entitlement.

    re the parents who are being harassed I find it appalling. My guess is that the people who are harassing them have always existed and 20 years ago would have probably written them some awful letters, but they wouldn’t have had anything like as much impact or credence as they would have simply disappeared. Everything is now so much more public, so much more polarised, it raises the emotions and leaves them no where to go.

  3. Thank you for posting this. It’s like you took what I was thinking and put it into words this week. (Particularly yesterday, as I got into a discussion with someone on Facebook about infertility/adoption, and it ended with them telling me off and making me feel awful. All because I was trying to shed light on another point of view.) I don’t know when or why people became so angry and asshole-ish, but I don’t like it. It seems like no one has patience or compassion for anyone anymore.

  4. Social Fixer, baby. I use it to block any posts or shares with the words “Obama” or “guns” or “Second Amendment” from a good number of my relatives and certain friends, and also to hide some of my own likes and posts from them. I don’t know how well it works. I’m bound to hear crickets either way.

    Plenty of journalists and commentators have observed the aggression you’ve mentioned. It’s been cultivated for more than 2 decades, and now we’re seeing the full effects in the most horrifying ways.

    Maybe I will give up FB for Lent. It would probably do me some good, and at least then my mom wouldn’t call and ask what such-and-such link was REALLY about…!

  5. Amen (says the athiest liberal). It has been nagging at me all week..all the things you said. It esp is annoying to me that we, a country which is supposedly good at compromise, cannot even discuss issues moderately.

  6. Amen sister!


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