Burkini bans. Geert Wilders. Islamophobia. The world is battering at me with reasons to be anxious.
Saw a bit on The Daily Show at a Trump rally. They had an on the street interview with a woman who didn’t think women could ever be President because of our hormones. It’s hard to see a fellow female be so damned closed minded; never mind when MEN do it. I consider it akin to men voting for a candidate that favors cutting off all men’s balls. Maybe there’s one or two freaks out there who say yeah, let’s cut all our balls off, but most men wouldn’t think it was a good idea.
Got body checked this morning by an old guy riding a bike. Many things crossed my mind. I felt affronted that I was reduced to nothing but meat: he looked like he was trying to figure out if I looked good enough to gobble up. My negativity spoke up and said oh, god, do I look THAT bad?!? while another rebel part of me pointed out that some people would consider it a compliment to be able to pull at all at my age.
If the gurus and saints are right, nothing happens that isn’t perfect in our lives: perfectly timed, perfectly executed – everything happens for a reason, even when we can’t perceive that reason. This, too, crossed my mind as the moment the body-checking man passed me my iPod (on random shuffle) began to play ‘Rehumanize Yourself’ by The Police. And then it hit me: this man had passed me by and did not see my smile, my nod in greeting to him because his eyes were too busy devouring and degrading my body head to toe.
Rehumanize yourself, indeed!
Too often I hear ‘they’re nothing like us’ these days. Nothing could be further from the truth.
People want to be happy. Society faces a problem because some people get off on abusing others – and that is a serious issue. But saying someone from another culture is too different from yourself is just sticking you head in the sand. Everyone wakes up in the morning. Everyone has to pee and shit. Everyone worries about the future, and every single one of us is afraid of something. These are huge similarities, that supersede any differences in skin color or religious views. But humanity is being whipped to a frenzy right now. Politicians are hammering home narrow and dangerous ideas. An entire generation that ‘slipped through the cracks’ of the capitalistic bubble are now being heard. You didn’t invest in your schools when you had the chance, and THIS is your outcome: poorly educated people with little to no chance of advancement on the money train, so they end up lashing out at people who don’t deserve it.
It’s happening again. That’s all that’s running through my mind, and I wonder if I’m here to stand witness to the next great war.
This behavior begins at the smallest level. It begins with the man who body-checked me this morning. His dispassionate assessment of me as sex object rather than me as a person. It is a small disregard of my humanity. But as we allow these small disregards to stand without censure, they begin to add up to larger and larger societal problems. Burkini bans. The right to choose. Equal pay for equal work. Health care for all.
I do not want to prosecute the man who body checked me. That does not and will not help the situation. I want him to understand on his own why what he did was wrong. But the only way to do that is through education. And you gotta catch people young, when their minds are still open and flexible. Very few of us have mobile enough grey matter to make leaps of understand once we’re adults.
Back to current espoused policy. Geert Wilders came out with his platform for next year’s elections. In addition to several anti-Muslim measures, it includes more of the same: cuts to the elderly, cuts to the disabled, cuts to schools and art, cuts to public broadcasting. It is a frightening prospect. How his party managed to compact so much hate into such banal political wording I’ll never know.
This is a loop. A circle of compliance and fear. I see it happening around me. And yes, it scares the hell out me. I think what frightens me most is that so many people can’t see the bigger picture. Everyone says yes, yes, it’s horrible, they’re terrible to say/do these things and I, for one, don’t support them. Yet it’s happening. If the rest of us ignore right now the rise of these right wing extremists, WE will be the ones to answer for the next batch of atrocities.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand the drive of these people. The anger they feel. What I don’t get is why everyone turns this anger on each other rather than those that rule us. Because make no mistake about it: you are ruled, whether you live in a country with a king or president or prime minister. We have been taught to worship strips of paper. We have been told that “they” want everything we have and they’ll do anything to get it. I don’t give a damn if you insert Syria or Muslims or Putin into the “they” – we all hear it. And it’s ALL a lie. It’s a slight of hand, a flash of something shiny to distract you. Oldest trick in the book and it’s still used because it still works.
You’re being played.
If you’re hearing you don’t have a choice, you’re being lied to. If you’re hearing pat answers placing the blame on someone else, you’re being lied to. No one problem is simple to fix because it wasn’t simple to create.
Everything is connected.
Time to wake up.