Dirty Words – Part 1 of “All these isms”

The propaganda of times past painted socialism in the grimmest colors. We were told it was the antithesis of free will and independence. We were told it was a tool of control over the masses to make them all the same and subjugate them to the will of an ominous and oppressive government. This dim light it has been seen in by Western eyes plays tricks on their fragile minds. The emotional appeal to drive fear and stir panic run deep and have lasted longer than the wars that spawned it. The worst part of it all is this fundamental lack of knowledge about it.

Mechanisms of control are abundant in all forms of government because corruption is not from any school of thought. It strikes anyone and everyone who gets to enjoy power for long enough. It has nothing to do with philosophy or mindset, and everything to do with the individual’s greed and selfishness. It presents itself readily in Capitalism no less than in Socialism. Corruption cannot be blamed on the style or type of ogranization. It’s an entirely human shortcoming that stems from deep-seated fear or resentment.

As with any other form of cooperative living situation, Socialism fills a need for governmental organization. At some point it would be ridiculously cumbersome for each of us to be truly independent. Creating our own roads and schools might seem fun, but it sure would be hard to maintain. There are some things that most people agree should be handled by a central agency. Emergency services, infrastructure and foreign policy are just a few examples of industries best left to experienced professionals.

In that most basic sense, Westerners have Socialist tendencies – because it turns out it’s nice to be able to rely on clean water and consistent energy. Managing the larger and more complex social issues requires a body to tackle things in search of solutions. As great as it is to have a competitive market, it leaves much to be desired in meeting ongoing biological necessities. We all need certain minimums met to survive, and those needs should never be subject to the volatility of the free market if we can help it.

A funny part about it is that Socialism may be a more truly representative form of government than the republic Westerners love to hang their hats on. It’s a broad term to use, as are so many words, but for the sake of this argument we’ll narrow it to mean the widely known idea of “Democratic Socialism”. Shared ownership of the production of the necessities of life does not preclude anyone from participation in their dreams. It acknowledges humanity’s mutual destiny of living together forever. Westerners often don’t realize that they agree with a lot of it, but Socialism just calls for collaborative achievement.

Politics and culture intertwine, they can be difficult to distinguish, and they are quite strongly connected. Leaving a Capitalist mindset is frightening for those who have known nothing different, but that system comes with cultural values that are damaging to humans and the planet. The excessive abundance that Westerners crave is a comfort for those living in a world subject to change without notice. For whatever reason, it doesn’t occur to them that the entirety of the purpose of Socialism is to meet everyone’s basic needs, virtually eliminating that unpredictability factor. The emotional security that comes with market stability can significantly reduce unfulfilling, wasteful excess.

When they are told that commodities could be regulated, they fear heartless mechanization (funny coming from Capitalists, living that way each day right now). They expect to see every label on just a white field, with bold black typeface, plainly unformatted. They are told that if the group controls distribution that it means they have to wait in line for a handout. What people don’t see is a greater possibility that more likely, what it means is a wide seasonal variety. Instead of drab uniforms given out on a regular basis, it’s getting bespoke clothes that have been tailored just for each us (but maybe buttons wouldn’t cost so much).

People coming together to make decisions that benefit the total populace helps balance the inconsistencies we all experience, especially when those people are knowledgable. When we collectively organize by committee to manage industries, it means those in the know help control the flow of wholesale ingredients and materials. A certain amount of public control would be in place in terms of critical functions – like clean water and safe roadways. It enforces the application of skilled or experienced professionals in decision making processes that affect everyone. As admirable as it is for privatized versions to do their best to keep up, certain basic functions need to be consistent more than new and different. Letting everyone reinvent the wheel may honor their independence, but it does no honor to the rest of us who still have basic necessities.

The instability and volatility of modern markets is fine for many traded products. But it is deeply irresponsible to subject society to fragility in availability of necessary basics. People can continue to exercise freedom in a majority of industries. But focusing on infrastructure, human health and wellbeing should be considered vital to everyone. Let’s come together to gain agreements on our prioritites as a society in terms of universal similarities. When we have steady sources of life’s necessities it’s easier to spend time on frivolities.

Aside from assuring stability and security, there’s other reasons to change our minds about how we run things. The Capitalist cultural value of unending economic growth turns out to be in an immense burden on the proletariat, and is completely unsustainable in the long term. The cultural shift needed to accompany a Socialist governmental change is to one of respectfully caring for ourselves and our belongings. When we get to a place where we make things well the first time, and we’re willing to repair items before we replace them, we can move away from frantic overproduction. Convenience, planned obsolescence, and fad buying lead to constant depletion of the little resources people manage to obtain.

They don’t see that they’ve been run into the ground because Capitalist culture tells them that they are only temporarily embarrassed millionaires. The point that’s missed by the whole worldview there is that if we aren’t running away from the specter of poverty then it wouldn’t be so important to hoard every penny in fear for our lives. Instead of wishing and dreaming of being rich so we’re not poor, Socialism dreams of a world without poverty, so we don’t have to fear that worst case scenario. Instead of dangling the carrot of ascension to fortune at others’ expense, it dangles the carrot of relief from oppression at the expense of the perpetrator.

We all know it’s the right thing to do, to ensure that if people want access to society’s benefits, that they contribute their fair share too. It’s distinctly more fair and equal for all since society carries the poor, be the burden divided proportionately or not. Inevitably when I get to this part of the argument, a Capitalist must jump up and shout, “but the world wasn’t fair to begin with!” and I’ll tell you the same thing I told my mother when she wanted to placate me with cliches that explain away the world’s inadequacies. I looked at her, less than 12 years old, and said, “but the pursuit of justice is a worthy cause.”

Meeting you in the Middle

I am trying to meet you in the middle, but the problem is that you didn’t know there was a middle because you didn’t think I was far from you at all. You just automatically assumed a whole host of similarities and shared values between us that simply don’t exist.

When people meet someone new, many of them automatically start spewing their values, priorities, and worldviews, looking for similarities to latch on to. In the beginning when I affirm certain shared values the expectation begins to grow that all of our inner feelings match up, which is just not the case.

Every culture has their version of the golden rule, and similarly values charity, hard work etc. However, core values quickly diverge, especially depending on their foundations. Not everyone believes the same things, nor do they place value on the same things in the same way. Most people in the world prefer to build relationships with those of like mind, and separate themselves from those who aren’t.

I was endowed with a strong sense of my identity, and by extension my core values are just as strong. I’m secure enough to share those values, and they’re strong enough to withstand scrutiny as they are.

I’m happy to meet you in the middle, as long as you’re willing to re-assess where that is. When you think the middle is right by your side, it’s time to take a look at how small your world really is. You’re living between 1 and 4 on a scale of 1-10. Thinking 2 is in the middle is the product of a sheltered upbringing, or a refusal to acknowledge where you stand.

Sometimes it’s comical to me how narrow people’s focus can be. I’m not just talking about how I like more taxes, or how I want to apply them to churches. I’m talking about how my preference would be to ban all forms of plastic (except medical needs), cease new land development and regulate urban density. I believe in controlled breeding programs; licensing and certification for childbearing. I’d like to see widespread government subsidized housing and mandatory voting. I want a heavily controlled commodities market, and a complete end to corporate welfare.

When I say I’m meeting you in the middle, it can be pretty far away after all. It’s not that I don’t see where you’re coming from, it’s that there’s still a long way to go.

 

Two letter two-step

When people look at me and say “I feel bad for how the whites screwed the Native Americans” it’s that little “ed” that I have to take issue with. It is the ending used to indicate the past tense that really gets me. Absolutely we all use generalizations and turns of phrase, or have slips of the tongue. We all do know in context what others mean, most of the time.

With that said, the view expressed by those two little letters shows that many people consider Native Americans and treatment of them to be in the past. They believe it happened, and that it is now over. When these people are reminded that Natives live in modern times, it becomes obvious that they think of modern Natives as somehow different than the ones in history, and think that they are no longer mistreated. Aside from my distaste for trivializing history, I need to take this time and space to say yes, Natives have always been and still are alive, continually dealing with oppression. They are children growing up, then having children of their own, and grandchildren, then growing old and dying, living generation after generation. They’re not separate, not gone, nor shadows of the past, but actually living – thriving in cities as much as backwoods, in courtrooms and classrooms and waiting rooms and coffee shops and beaches and everywhere.

Many misconceptions have been learned and spread and it’s not out of particular malice. It’s in how people have been taught. Everything is presented to them in historical terms, which makes it seem like it is done and gone; school curricula generally don’t focus much (if any) time on modern Native American culture. Thus, knowledge of modern Native culture is not just limited, but rife with misinformation and spread through community channels which enjoy strong trust from the learner regardless of accuracy.

People often romanticize the past; even, or especially, uncomfortable facts. It makes it easier to deal with when we see it as just a story – even if we use it as a learning tool. History is often reduced to basics and people from the past are painted as simpler, less refined or less capable. Putting things in the past helps people compartmentalize their knowledge and experiences in general. It also fosters emotional distance and learning is best done after the fact and with a clear perspective. As a result, many people do feel bad for what they see as a past tragedy, but they make no connection between that and anything in current events.

Problems begin when visions of future are colored by the past and the present is injected with assumptions, stereotypes, and generalizations, ostensibly just opinions, pity, or humor. These colors and shades throw shadows on faces. There is duality, paradox in the image of Natives and the space they occupy in history and contemporary culture. Thousands of tribes across a continent are handily wrapped up in one name, assigned one past and one demise, one resurrection and yet another downfall. In one little sentence with one little ending an entirety of countless people are reduced to an anecdote. That anecdote dictates the identity they are assigned and by extension their personal worth.

The romanticized martyr sits atop its pedestal looking down in the muck for the demonized delinquent. Just as the wind-blown innocent earth child unwittingly fell to progress, the homeless, drunk, and lazy welfare Indian is also a well-known trope. This is a one-dimensional view of the decimation of a continent of inhabitants that has managed to turn history into a Western movie, just a sob story, or soft poetry set to slow drumming. Past and present have been divorced, future relegated to a haze. In the narrow space in this narrative there’s no place for multi-faceted, dynamic characters.

But it’s not just that Natives themselves are seen as dead and gone, or just caricatures. It’s the deeply damaging view that mistreatment is a thing of the past that keeps Native oppressed today. It’s romanticized visions, and yes the strength to survive and overcome that manages to keep the truth from being told as it is. Today, right now, in 2017, Native people experience the same levels (and sometimes higher) of systemic inequality – like harsher prison sentences, mental illnesses, chronic health concerns, drug addiction, all forms of violence, and extreme poverty, as black people in this country. The difference is almost no one thinks it’s happening. They think it’s over, and that bad as it was, that was back then, or that we just have to clean up an old mess.

The problem with seeing these things as only past is that it means no one thinks they need to do anything here and now. They don’t realize that Native peoples are currently being mistreated by their teachers in school, prospective employers, bosses at work, landlords, judges, strangers at sporting events, and health care workers. Native elders are being mistreated in facilities and Native children are taken away from parents and put into the broken foster care system. Right now Native women are beaten, raped, stolen, and killed at alarming rates that outstrip other races by far. The faces dripping with pity and remorse do not seem to see that it isn’t done yet. It’s not time to cry for days gone by when we’re still living them out.

Like any group, many talented Native figures have come to the forefront of progress – we are not all broken pieces on the floor. Artisans and musicians, writers and activists are bringing us into the future. Native business professionals invest, develop, and compete in the marketplace. Native entrepeneurs start businesses, tribal casinos have become popular, and we have a presence in the media. It’s funny to me when someone says that Natives should get over the past. Natives are the ones who have moved up and on while they are still painted as historical relics or rejects.

The more we are known as complex individuals, the more we can begin to gain true respect. The more people know that we’re people too, the sooner they can treat us as such. Beyond power struggles and differences in values, Natives struggle to be treated as real. Not some construct of history, legend or mystery, Natives are as human as the rest. They put their pants on one leg at a time, wear jeans and old comfy t-shirts. Natives drink coffee, go to work, and pick up their kids from day care.  When they go home they cook on a stove, lock the door at night and wear bunny slippers. They read stories to their kids, tuck them in, and watch streaming movies on their tablets afterwards. Yes, many Natives hold on to their culture, practice and even share it. That doesn’t mean they don’t use a bathroom or wash up after they’re finished.

Knowing more about each other helps people realize that we are all the same in some ways.  When people can relate with one another, they can begin to see the human experience for what it is, and hopefully share it. Ever changing and growing, we learn by living. Each of us is born, takes in nourishment and seeks out love here and there. We dream of how we want to better ourselves or the world around us in some way. No more or less than anyone else we all came from somewhere, we all live our lives and go our own way.

When more folks realize we are truly alive today, we’ll be able to start turning the tides. When people realize we’re not just talking about yesterday they might be willing to reconcile with deeply complex realities. Natives are still getting screwed on the regular, in various and sundry ways. When we can get folks to open their eyes, we can get them to realize they marginalize people who did not just survive, but who are living each day one at a time.

Women and children live in the bad part of town

Let me be clear, I do not resent your affluence. I am not jealous or spiteful of what you have. I don’t want what you have because what you have is not what I need. And even if you had it I wouldn’t care, because I already have what I need anyway.  

I admit I do resent something about you, and I am sorry to say it so,  but I do. What I resent is that you know about your complicity in things you know to be wrong, while making excuses, reasons, and justifications for why you haven’t done more. You know the truths that others deny and yet put none of your efforts to action. You say many things and tell me you agree. You live in a society that tells you that you decide your level of participation. But despite knowing full well, you still allow yourself to be manipulated. 

What I resent is that you think what I want is your things, showing yet again your shallow upbringing. I resent that you don’t see all I want is for you and me too actually be free.  Money buys nothing but greed.

But let’s say I was actually resentful that you have more than I? What would that mean? Does it matter, does it hurt you, or doesn’t it mostly hurt me?

Globalism

I used to somehow think that globalism was something that could possibly not happen… but that was built on some misunderstandings about what it means, what is happening, and its inevitability. Global communications have brought about an age where the first world has come to agreements on international law and commerce, ensuring globalism’s establishment.

We are all part of one earth, and there was never any way we weren’t connected to each other as denizens of the earth. The latest developments have simply afforded an awareness of our nature – we’ve always been one species on a globe living together amongst the rest of the species. I grew up as a world citizen and have always felt connected to my fellow humans – I’m a humanist. I am loyal to all humans to some degree, since I feel a connection in being of the same species, and I work toward human collaboration and cooperation for mutual benefit.

Since time immemorial, military power has reigned supreme as the mechanism with which power groups gain and maintain control over resources and populations. The only comparable mechanism has been religion – which still has been backed by punishment and military strength until very recently. Religion works so well because of its emotional appeal. It lost strength when education began to openly discredit it as not founded in verifiable fact. Despite its vestiges being widely honored, it does not hold the power it once did, and continues to suffer in reputation and strength as corruption is exposed. If religion had not hung its hat on occupying the moral high ground, then it would probably have retained more power for longer. Religious participation dwindles now, and the institution is steadily losing power in politics, economics and social circles.

As the global marketplace has grown, so has its power to persuade. Marketing has become so lucrative that the best and brightest new talent is moving into that industry, growing it further.  Modern marketing takes the emotional appeal to new heights – and is not any more based in fact than religion. But it does not profess to be wholly truthful nor morally sound. As a result, it does not have to live up to ethical standards, and in fact is widely relieved from that responsibility in the public eye.

Economic might has come to usurp the position enjoyed by military might for so long. Now, the elite around the world have come to recognize that control over resources and populations is more easily done and more profitable when achieved through emotional manipulation and social engineering (marketing) than in physical force (military power) or obligation (religious power). Economic power can be wielded despite or within legal forces as well.

The interpretation of Fiduciary Duty being solely financial as the prime directive behind today’s businesses has forced them to become career criminals. If a fine or fee levied from a regulatory body is less than the profit derived from the business decision, that decision must be made in order to comply with fiduciary responsibility – that responsbility supersedes all else as the sole directive of the business. As such, a company is essentially not allowed to comply with legal requirements in those circumstances. This directive is carried out throughout the world’s businesses and can even drive a business to change its country of origin, like maritime flags of convenience. Modern companies have no loyalty to any state – and in fact, cannot honor that loyalty if it flouts fiduciary responsibility.

Modern economics is the new warfare. Military warfare is expensive in losses and logistics, with little return on investment. Economic warfare is a viable way for power groups to gain power while retaining resources and potential participants. Economic strength is the new way to achieve security and control. The marketplace is a forum for groups to compete and win in which the loser is still able to participate, leaving more resources in the pool to be won. The power inherent in the marketplace is its malleability, its adaptability. Evolution in economics is what allowed it to overcome military strength as a powerhouse for social manipulation. Impoverishing enemies results in their subjugation just as the same as besting them in battle – yet it retains their production levels while lowering the producer’s value. Economics is a powerful tool of control.

Marketing has grown from meeting demand to shaping it. This industry now heavily relies on research in behavior and biology, in social dynamics and power structures. Today’s companies shape what people want and how they want it through highly tailored messages embedded in emotionally charged imagery, excited tone and so much more. Having control over demand is the key to aggressive market tactics. Demand is the only thing that truly drives sales, so demand is what must be manipulated to achieve success in the marketplace. Winning hearts and minds is easier done when they are paid for their services – and this professor has done the research to prove the lengths that the marketing industry is willing to go to in order to realize profits.

Economic strength itself is a neutral entity that can be wielded like any tool. As much as this tool has been used for domination and exploitation, it doesn’t have to be that way. Economic activity is a perfect way to engage other nations and groups that may have opposing views, yet agree on the mutual benefit of the global marketplace. The human rights and civil rights violations abundant within some groups can be diminished or eliminated when the group is engaged in a healthy global marketplace – this is potential we have not fully realized on a global scale, but it does exist.

Dominating another group with military strength would never convince them to honor personal rights. If powerful parties choose to punish, ostracize or isolate those who oppress others, the oppresors will continue unchecked within their own domain. Encouraging cooperation through engagement has better chances for success. Focusing on ethical economics by investing and buying responsibly can produce the kind of marketplace that would not exploit the weaknesses of an impoverished proletariat. It will build strength within the worker in recognition of the increased earning and spending potential that each individual can possess when they are not oppressed. In short, if there are limits set to prevent abuses, everyone could be making more money and be happier doing it.

As much as globalism seems like nothing but an opportunity for further inequity, it does not have to be. It’s an opportunity to build a broader community support network than ever before. The global marketplace has fostered intercommunication between groups that would otherwise never be connected, or certainly not as strongly. Evolution in media and communications around the globe have encouraged worldwide expansion in education and broader awareness of global concerns. Globalism has begun to shine a light in the darknesses where injustice breeds. Transparency is a key strategy to improve working conditions and compensation, as well as decrease corruption and excessive waste. Accountability is a powerful tool to ensure the end of exploitation and oppression in the workplace.

Encouraging cooperation results in better outcomes than punishing dissent, and sets the example of appropriate behavior. We all have free will; it’s up to each of us to use it respectfully. Globalism is our chance to prove that if we are part of the same market, the same species, the same globe – then we can have a world united in cooperation and eliminate the use of force and coercion so that all of us can earn a fair living.

 

Too many cooks in the kitchen, not enough dishwashers

We hear and learn of people with things to say, and we see how many people they sway. Their words are so meaningful, powerful, moving, that we have been swayed too. Many of us want to sway others like that; we want to be inspirational too.

Even years after they are spoken, those words ring true in our hearts and those leaders inspired millions of great acts by ordinary people and although those who followed may have only done a small part, or disagreed sometimes, they had something different from today’s unhappy protesters…

they worked together.

It was not reviewing or discussing or commenting or responding,

and that work was not summarizing or highlighting inspirational words, nor quoting them,

not necessarily even sharing them (in part or in all).

When someone like MLK Jr spoke, people actively listened, and followed. They did not interject, clamor to be seen and heard too, shouting from the rooftops his self-same message in half a million variations. They didn’t pick apart his message and distribute their opinions on the minutiae of every detail believing that it was a tangible contribution to the cause. They didn’t run out to write overly critical articles about how he wasn’t revolutionary enough and then sit back feeling accomplished because of it. They did not constantly question each other’s commitment or sincerity or critique others’ level of participation.

People still thought for themselves and did not just follow blindly either – they decided when and how to provide each other the support needed to orhcestrate a united front with solutions in hand to the specific issues that were problems in their lives. They held meetings and came to agreements about what to focus on and how to approach challenges together.

 

Those people were inspired and with that inspiration they built systems together to replace the ones that did not not serve them:

when hiring was not fair, protests where specific
– striking picket lines had signs reading “Don’t eat where they won’t hire you”

when bus segregation kept the front for whites only, protests were collaborative
-months of rideshares and carpools coordinated despite stress and strong adversity

when schools where divided, protests were leading by example
-parents registered their children and sent them to school even with a police escort

when people were openly mistreating other people, protests were non-violent
-others stood with the victims in solidarity and took the same treatment without resorting to retribution

when business reinforced discrimination, protests were unified
-organized boycotts denied business significant income and reputation

 

These actions drove monumental change, up to Amendments to the Constitution.

Rallies, songs, marches, and demonstrations get a lot of attention. Awareness alone is not enough.

Each of us is the one to take action – we can’t all call each other to action and then wonder why no one is acting.

Turning our own attention into action that drives meaningful change is our challenge. Take the next step, and the one after that.

 

Who me? Elite?

Liberals or the left wing (using them interchangeably in this post-apologies if you are bothered) have come to act as though we somehow own intellectualism, or elitism for that matter. It is absurd to behave as though one must be educated to be liberal, considering liberalism’s basic tenets. It is confusing to me that intellectual lefties could even have trouble recognizing that fact. Liberalism calls for social services and support for the uneducated. Liberalism calls for inclusivity, shared responsibility and mutual respect regardless of background, or at least that’s how I have always known it.

Somewhere along the way, conservativism became associated with a lack of education too, which is just as absurd.

The uneducated and disenfranchised proletariat should be squarely in line with left-wing ideology, but that population has been simultaneously courted by the right-wing and shunned by the left. It has been turned from its own interests to self destruction through emotional manipulation. It is not just unfortunate” as this is not a case of fortune frowning on these proceedings alone, but rather it is unconscionable that the left has essentially turned its back on the very members it claims to protect, leaving them to the devices of the predatory right-wing.

When intellectuals dominate the left-wing culture and punish the uneducated for their lack of knowledge, they should expect those people to run to the right, where they are validated and reassured that they don’t need it and that education is for elitists. Intellectuals are behaving elitist more these days – have become completely insufferable, derisive and judgmental. With know-it-all attitude and superiority, intellectuals are making the left-wing not just inhospitable, but downright deplorable.

If left wing intellectuals want more people to get educated and become liberal, they’re going to have to find a way to actually allow other people to learn about new things without chastising them for not having already known everything, or for believing something that they were told by a source they trust. Intellectuals cannot expect rave reviews for angrily demanding that others suddenly and completely agree with them, wether or not they are right by any means.

If the goal is to push people on the fence as far away as possible, well done intellectual lefties. You’ve ensured that anyone who might be unsure decidedly falls on the right side of the fence. If you want them to climb over, you’re going to have to make it a whole lot more enticing than you are now, and if you don’t want them to come over and play, then stop spending your time trying to convince them. Attacking, antagonizing, patronizing and instigating will never win over hearts and minds – and is not an attempt to convince them; it’s all overt punishment.

It is despicable, unethical, and a waste of resources to punish the uneducated for not having achieved education yet, and it will never get their votes either.

Time for Action

It is time to join together in meaningful action.

When we say stand up and fight in the struggle, the fighting we mean is not arguing with opponents.

Arguments feed no one.

It is up to each of us to do the right thing.

The right thing is to Coordinate, Advocate, and Participate in real change!

Let’s mobilize support to

meet basic necessities by gathering what we can and distributing freely to those who need it

care for the elderly through home care visits and offering support in communities and facilities

assist the ill and injured that need compassion and support to heal – like rideshares and meal trains

help parents who need child care by coordinating co-ops and volunteers

advocate for legal support to help those who need the second chance so many others get

solicit assitance from organizations and entities to fund programs that enrich our communities

organize mutually beneficial knowledge sharing and skill development

build communication networks and get community groups working with each other

grow schools and shared gardens and community events

connect those in need with vital services

We can come together to get people the help they need to be able to live healthy, happy and productive lives.

No more waiting! Get out there and put your hands where your mouth is.

Nevermore

Sometimes this modern world just asks the wrong questions, says things the wrong way, but it makes a difference in how we interpret and what we say…

i cannot ask you not to sell unethically, i must ask you to buy responsibly
i cannot ask you not to speak, i must ask you to listen
i cannot ask you to change others, i can only ask you to change yourself

i cannot ask you not to take, i must ask you to give
i cannot ask you not to tell lies, i must ask you not to believe them

i cannot ask you not to be selfish, i must ask you to give
i cannot ask you not to win, i must ask you not to rub it in

i cannot ask you not to be a predator, i must ask you not to fall prey
i cannot ask you not to hurt others, i must ask you to forgive them
i cannot ask you not to distract, i must ask you to focus

we can be distraught that others will not give us what we need, when they have more than enough

or we can recognize that discussions of their lack of courtesy solves no problems

we will build what we need when we realize it’s up to those who would, not those who should

 

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Our Hearts Bleed for Justice

Yes we are bleeding heart liberals, and our feelings are hurt all the time. It’s because we know that an injury to one is an injury to all.

But we must learn that insisting on forcing the perpetrator to acknowledge our suffering at their hands is distracting from the truth that our pain is due to a legitimate issue that bears addressing – that there is action that can specifically prevent future suffering.

When we focus on our pain we undermine the legitimacy of our objections. We must move beyond demanding that our abuser help us heal and move on to stopping the abuse. Healing can only truly happen after we have ended the abuse anyway. The abuse is the issue, not the abuser’s acknowledgment or punishment or even resitution.

We need to focus on the fact that the objection is rooted in logic or ethics or agreed upon terms of condition.

We can’t be sidetracked by the offender’s attempts to deflect from their own choices by indicating that suffering itself is not a legitimate basis for an objection. We need to show how the pain is not the objection, but that the action itself is wrong or bad. If we are the ones with an objection the burden is on us to elucidate how the objection is not semantic or emotional appeal only, but rather genuinely cause to evaluate, judge and mitigate the actions in question.

Modern America is abusive, but we don’t have to enable that abuse, or stay in the situation. We can break free from the chains of victim blaming. Part of that is not *exclusively* acting out the victim part, without seeking any resolution. When we bring to light a real problem, we must be looking to form real solutions, even when we feel that the problem is external of self.

It is up to us to first attempt to reduce or eliminate our own suffering even it’s when caused by others. Addressing what remains is looking at the real problem. Standing back, arms folded, repeating that we have been wronged and demanding for the perpetrator to resolve it may seem entirely justified, and emotionally that is so. However, it does not acknowledge the reality behind our own free will in this existence. To refuse to participate in improving our own experience because it has been affected by others is to dis-empower ourselves by placing our wellbeing in the hands of the perpetrators against us. We are capable. There is no need for and no benefit to waiting for an external source to complete us.

It may be upsetting to set aside feelings that we believe should be acknowledged, but we must focus on making the perpetrator accountable and responsible for specific actions, and engage the rules in specificity – the perpetrator is not obligated to ackowledge or mitigate emotional suffering, but they are obligated to take responsibility for their actions and mitigate resulting losses. We can work on our feelings of suffering with our individual support networks, where those involved care about us and want to support us.

Loss of rights, property, housing, employment, or services due to the victim’s social status is unacceptable. The issue is not that the victim has been hurt emotionally, the issue is that they have lost something of value – most likely that thing is tied to their personal wellbeing – and that is a legitimate cause for action.

Let us not believe the victim blamers who would say that hurt feelings are our issue. We may have hurt feelings, but the reasons our feelings are hurt are absolutely actionable items that should not be ignored regardless of the delivery of the complaint.

Let us empower ourselves by casting off as much damage as we can, mitigating the rest, and addressing the heart of the problem with those who are responsible, and those who will engage viable solutions.