23 March 2012

In which I ramble somewhat incoherently

What kind of effed-up world do we live in where people are telling us that we should be more scared of a kid in a hoodie than a maniac with a gun? Where "slut" is apparently a perfectly acceptable thing to call a woman who happens to enjoy sex, and people in long-term loving relationships are told they are what's wrong with America? Where people just go on shooting rampages because they are mentally or emotionally crippled from seeing their friends blown up or because they are indoctrinated by a certain worldview that says some people don't even count? Where if you don't agree with someone you don't ignore them them or sit down and listen to there side but instead call them every filthy thing you can think of because it's all anonymous on the internet? How did this happen?

I cannot stop thinking about the completely and utterly arsed-up state of the world and hoping that at least we are starting some kind of resistance and change by talking and protesting and making ourselves heard, which is easier than ever because hey, retweet, and I've done my part. But then I become paralyzed by my inability to comprehend and articulate how truly horrific it is that someone just shoots a child, here or in France or in Afghanistan, and I just want to protect my children from ever finding out about any of it; and then I think that if I do, I'm part of the problem because they need to grow up and be the people who make this sort of thing stop.

And if my kids are going to change the world they have to eventually become aware that not every child grows up happy and healthy with their only concerns about why we don't have their favorite Pop-tart flavor and how unfair it is that Alyssa got her ears pierced at NINE and why do I have to wait until I'm TWELVE. But how do I tell them that, and when?

Not right now, obviously. I'm not going to sit my kids down like that dumbass in the Kony video who is explaining, unprompted, to his 5-year-old about a crazed madman who kidnaps children and makes them kill other people, showing him pictures of "the bad guy," like, thanks, Dad, when I wake up screaming for weeks I hope you are there to reassure me that no one is going to come kidnap me out of my bed and make me shoot you. But I will always tell my kids the truth when they ask.

And maybe they won't want to change the world, but dammit, I hope that they do, even though I'm sorry that we've screwed it up enough that they need to change it. I hope that we are doing something right now, between the Occupy movement and marriage equality finally being a thing that can really happen and people sending knitted lady parts to their congresspersons and people speaking up, finally, about how shitty it is that we have so much and do so freaking little, but there will be so much more they will have to do.

There are things we can do but I am starting to think that the best thing we can do, in this generation and the one just behind us, is to try and raise fewer assholes, racists, misogynists, and xenophobes, and more people who speak up and speak out and are willing to listen, not just talk.

Don't pretend to your kid that skin color doesn't matter and we're all the same inside, because it's not true; don't let them think that civil rights and the feminist movement are just something in history class because if recent events prove anything, it's that it's not enough that our great-great-grandmothers got the vote; we have to keep protesting and talking and working to protect what they put themselves on the line for. It's not over.

I don't know the point of what I'm typing here, I'm just typing because the first line of this started out as a Facebook status, like "I'm so horrified about the state of the world right now that I just want to lock my children inside forever," but then I couldn't stop typing so I just kept going. It's Friday and I've had less than five hours of sleep for the last four nights in a row and that's probably a big part of the reason I can't actually formulate a constructive and supported argument or opinion, but am just typing until it seems like a good place to stop, but really, world, cut it out.

Stop being assholes to each other. I want my children to grow up and I want them to see the beautiful parts of the world and not have to deal with this shit. So stop it. Is that really so much to ask?


  1. Preach it, sister. I worry about all of these things too, and I can't actually have a conversation with my daughter yet.

  2. +1

    I went to an embassy school as a kid. That meant that occasionally my school friends' families were summoned home and never returned (because their families were on the wrong side of the civil war)

    All that taught me was that I was incredibly lucky to have been born to a perfectly average white British family, luck which I had had absolutely *nothing* to do.

    Every one of us who is lucky enough to be part of the ruling class - however that happens - should remember - and teach our kids that literally - that there but for the grace of god.

    I'm a middle aged white woman - no-one will ever shoot me 'cause I look threatening or because I conform to some kind of meme about scary people.

    And that makes me lucky, lucky through absolutely nothing I've done. I don't deserve that consideration, and therefore I owe it to everyone who doesn't get it to try and make sure they do.

  3. Part of the problem, I think, is that you know and like people who are neither "assholes, racists, misogynists, or xenophobes" -- my daughter comes to mind -- who nevertheless disagree with you on almost every REAL issue you're worried about. (Shooting kids "because they wear hoodies" is not the real issue.) Maybe we could all start by not calling "the other side", in the amorphous, unknown mass, pejorative names.

    1. Well, I do think, actually, that shooting kids is the real issue, at least the one am talking about here -- about how to talk to my children about kids who get shot because someone finds their clothes and skin color threatening, or kids who get shot because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, because of their religion or skin color or place of birth. That IS the issue. I'm not talking about "sides" here, and if it wasn't clear then I did not express myself well. I am not talking about Republicans and Democrats, and when I say assholes, I mean actual horrible people, not some amorphous group of people I disagree with ideologically but people who shoot children.

      Or, yes, Rush Limbaugh, who, frankly, is a racist misogynist asshole. People like him contribute to the vitriol that is the American dialogue these days, and I would like my children to grow up with fewer people like him in the world.