I promised to write something more lighthearted than last week, and then I spent half the weekend crying over the shooting in Orlando, and I just don’t have any laughs in me at the moment.
Reading the news has been bad enough. I am steadfastly avoiding the whirlpool of racism and homophobia of online comment sections because that way lies despair over whether this country will ever even remotely overcome those attitudes. We rotate out our hate targets generationally, so maybe there’s hope for the LGBT and American Muslim communities in the future, but who comes after them?
And I’m scared to raise children in this environment.
But at the same time, we need more good people in the world to resist the scads of small-minded assholes, so maybe trying to raise children with compassion is in itself an act of resistance?
Grief for the world as-is isn’t enough to change anything. Being good to the people immediately around you is a start, but not enough to change anything. “Thoughts and prayers” are well-intentioned (?) but sure as hell aren’t going to change anything.
But local elections make a difference. The midterm elections make a difference. Everyone hyper-focuses on the presidential race every 4 years like we’re choosing a seasonal dictator who can mend or destroy anything they want unimpeded, when it’s Congress and state and local government voting on civil rights and gun access and all the rest of the laws that affect our daily lives.
I keep reminding myself that these violent events are a flailing, desperate pushback from an angry but (one hopes) dwindling segment of the population. You know. People who were raised to believe they deserved a dominant position in society, and then grew up and realized it was a lie, because actually they’ve got to share the country with the rest of us and even (gasp) afford other people basic dignity and respect. Gay marriage! Non-discrimination policies! Rape education! Non-white movie leads! Women in video games! WHAT A NIGHTMARE. IT’S NOT WHAT WE WERE PROMISED.
But that also means it’s going to get worse before it gets better. We haven’t seen the last “women won’t date me” manifesto, or the last attempt to start a race war, or the last shooting or bombing or good old-fashioned outpouring of social media death threats.
So, hugs to everyone I love and everyone I haven’t met and I hope we can get through this, because right now there is a political firestorm in politics purposefully riling up that angry population and telling them they are justified, they are still relevant, and they have any chance in hell of making their lives “great” again.
But sucks for you, because those are all lies. And sucks for the rest of us, because we’re going to have to deal with the increasingly dangerous temper tantrums you throw when you realize that.
6-14-16 ETA: The more that comes out, the sadder this particular incident gets (they are all saddening–you know what I mean). It sounds like the shooter was a frequenter of the gay club he attacked, though he espoused anti-LGBT views to his family. Homophobia breeds self-hate. I lay this even more at the feet of a society and a political atmosphere fostering a hostile environment for the LGBT community–so hostile that men are driven toward extreme ideologies in order to prove something to themselves and others. See also the scads of closeted Christians who devote their careers to evangelizing or legislating anti-LGBT sentiment–until they are publicly outed.
Anyway. A lot of sadness right now. And more will come out in the ensuing weeks to clarify and reshape this narrative, though I’m sure a lot of people will cling to whichever facet most underscores their own agenda.