Talking with a number of people around the blog, I’ve discovered a lot of us are having a hard time right now. It’s probably gotten worse since we’ve been bombarded with (and even indirectly blamed for) the slaughter of the children in Connecticut. But for many of us, the times (and our moods) were already rough. Maybe the election triggered it. Maybe the incessant war-mongering of the last 11 years. Maybe the latest “blessing” from the Department of Homeland (Achtung!) Security. Maybe Christmas or the dark skies. But if angst and depression are contagious, they’re definitely going around.
One grown man I know cried today because there were just too many sorrows — and too many a**holes rushing to build agendas on them.
He also said something that I suspect is key to what ails a lot of us: these are hard days for people who are both rational and empathetic.
I’d never thought of it that way. But he’s right.
Rational empaths. That’s what many of us are. Not all, but a good portion of us. And it’s a damned hard thing to be in a world where rational is judged to be unfeeling and empathy is fashionably divorced from all reason.
We care as much as anyone about the trust and safety of children. But when we show that disarming their protectors puts them in worse danger, we’re called “cold” and “hard hearted.”
We’re used to this, actually. We get this every day. If we point out the very human benefits of ending the drug war, people often scream that we want crazed meth heads roaming the streets, families destroyed, 10-year-olds hooked on heroin. We must be monsters to prize freedom, if that’s the cost. When we try to explain that crazed meth heads (and bursting prisons, and broken families, etc.) are more a product of the drug war than of actual drugs, most likely we just get yelled at louder because we “don’t care” about how much people suffer.
Even in the best of times, this can be hard to take. And these aren’t the best of times, it goes without saying.
The only answer I have for this is a three-parter.
1. This, too, shall pass.
2. We are a marginalized minority, which is always a hard thing to be (but which can be liberating, too).
3. And it’s people on the fringes who create the world anew every day. We are a creative force, looking beyond what is to what could be. That’s not always an easy thing. But it is a worthwhile thing.
Oh, and there’s a fourth part: We have each other. Thanks largely to the ‘Net, we have that.
And the tighter they grasp, the more slips through their fingers. Never forget that.
Slight change of plans. Instead of becoming a beach bum (and the economics of that were just not working out, in any case), from now until New Year I’m going to post only positive things.
Oh, I don’t mean the usual sort of “good news” things. You won’t be subjected to tales of guardian angels bringing cute kittens to adorable cancer-striken tots, I promise you.
(Well, at least I won’t do any such subjecting. I can’t be responsible for glurge you may pick up (like a social disease) elsewhere.)
But starting tomorrow and continuing for the next two weeks (barring the scheduled end of the world or some unforseen development that simply has to be dealt with), everything I post will be something worthwhile in a good way.
Might be funny. Useful. Encouraging. Entertaining. Could be that even a few smidges of uplifting-ness and mildly heartwarm-ery will sneak their way onto the blog, even though I normally oppose such things on general curmudgeonly principle.
But — for this little while — let’s step out of the sewage stream of the badness.
People often send me news links — often of appalling nature — and I’ve got a bunch I’ve intended to post. But I’m not going to. So if you’ve sent me news about the crocodile tears of hired killers or the latest development in high-tech torture or even the latest worry for people too foolish to quit using Internet Explorer, I’m not going to post it. Not for now. (Thanks, anyhow, J, M, and H.)
To heck with it. It’s Christmas. Hannukah. Yule. Solstice. New Year. Time for dark to yield to light. Out with the old and bad. Let’s take a couple of weeks break to celebrate what’s good and build on what we can make even better in our own lives.
It’s been rough. It’ll get rough again. But let’s not forget to laugh at the bastards and create our own lives in our own spirit — and for that, we need our best spirits.