The Lame Game
Er, I think I meant to make that the BLAME Game but, well, maybe lame works better.
This is an odd time in America and we are going through a VERY awkward period. Taking out my monocle and playing pocket Sociologist I can’t wonder if we’re still suffering the growing pains of righting wrongs that we should have taken care of decades and longer ago. The nation is still coming to terms with blacks and women voting and having equal rights. We are just now trying to come to grips with homosexuality and are struggling.
We are undergoing a lot of change.
Yes, it’s been around fifty years since the main part of the Civil Rights movement and longer since Women’s Suffrage but let’s face it, these are changes to a system that was in place for hundreds of years. It’s crazy, it’s madness to think that people still have issue with women and minorities having equal rights but if we’re going to be honest some people DO have that issue and not all of them are old. Add to that the fact that we are finally dealing as a nation with the idea that gays should be able to marry. We are not a nation that likes change, as much as we may claim to, and none of this has been easy or peaceful.
We are a nation pulling itself apart to put itself together again in the hopes that when we’re done we’ll all finally be able to live the lives that we dream of living – pursuing love, work, family, fun, happiness, security, and more without being punished for our race, sex, or sexual orientation.
And take a moment to think about this…that we are in 2014 and that we are finally, ahem ALLOWING gays to marry. That’s crazy. It’s crazy because for a nation that once prided itself on the separation of church and state and believed itself to be a melting pot we consistently show our true, bigoted face. For some it’s a religious issue – again, separation of church and state here, you can be upset about it but you cannot tell someone they cannot marry the same sex legally because YOU are upset, your right doesn’t trump the right of another person, sorry – for others it’s an issue of ‘grossness’ – the ‘I just don’t want my kids to see that’ argument, which is always funny because despite the fact that homosexuality has ALWAYS existed and I can’t recall any anecdotal stories of mass gay sex being had in public – and then some people just hate. They have no real reason, no cause, they just hate.
And there’s the core of where this drill is going.
We are a nation that time and again is giving into its hate and not finding its empathy. Its compassion. We have become a nation of blamers, of grousers, and of malcontents.
We are a nation of bullies.
It isn’t just the human rights, it’s personal rights. It’s the need to be respected without earning that respect. It’s the need to be right and to prove how right you are. It’s the need to tell others they are wrong, but not just wrong but that they are stupid and wrong. We are a nation of cowards that hides behind personas and fake names as we comment on stories about people we’ll never know and never meet but who we somehow feel the right to judge. To damn.
I used to think that it was the THINGS of the world that was making us crazy – our guns, our technology, our internet – but it isn’t. It’s US. We are making ourselves crazy. We are suffering – because of our inability to adapt and use tech wisely – this soul crushing disconnection from one another and we are socially devolving.
We are regressing.
Technology has opened so many doors to knowledge and discovery and one another and we are not adapting. We are not evolving with tech. Some are, but not enough of us. Too many of us are falling into the drive toward fame, which the internet can provide, though, like the Monkey’s Paw, it comes at a price. You can be famous, you can find ‘adoration’, and you can get attention but it is RARELY for doing something ‘good’ or kind. The internet is that ‘easy’ way that our parents and adults warn us about so often but it’s hard to fault the allure. Never, NEVER in human history have we had instant access to the entire world at once. Never. And to think that you can make a video – of you being silly, of you singing, of you dancing, of you having sex – and can be instantly ‘famous’ is amazing. And now it’s gone to become fame for things we HAVEN’T done. We can film OTHER people being silly, being sexy, being obscene and illegal and can post it and gain fame from that.
And yet it isn’t fame.
It isn’t attention.
Sure, it IS, but it isn’t.
Not just those things.
Technology, as much as it brings us together it pushes us so much further apart. We are always on our phones but rarely saying anything. We are always posting things but how often do they matter? And ‘mattering’ is all gray area and little else. But how much of what we are doing connects us to people and ties us together and how much pushes us apart? How often do we post angry missives about our politics or religion or social beliefs and accompany them with articles to back us up and we all but dare someone to oppose us. We can be passionate without being divisive.
We can be different without being separate.
But we all seem so lonely.
We don’t talk to strangers. We don’t look at one another. We don’t know our neighbors. We don’t know each other’s phone numbers or important dates. Tech does that stuff for us. And tech can connect us, it can unite us and at times it does but anymore it unites us against one another. We worry over rape cultures, and cyber-bullying, and the left, and the right, and the kids, and the blacks, and the whites, and the gays, and them, and us, and those and we so rarely look past the anger, past the moment and into the issues.
We see blame.
Public violence is becoming so common place that we aren’t shocked and our outrages fades. We look for a scapegoat and fill the internet with missives against or for this or that but never look at the people and why they are broken. And these people ARE broken. When you focus so much energy on hatred it is because you are broken. Not that life is or should be all love but that there is an ebb and flow to the human condition and to live in one thing all the time twists the heart and mind and colors the world in ways that are untrue. I won’t try to explain away why people rape, and kill and abuse because the things that are broken in people cannot be explained or reasoned away and cannot be medicated away. And sadly there are some people that are beyond repair. It doesn’t mean we flush them or kill them but that we have to accept that some people cannot be a part of society.
But we are all broken, in our way. We all have issues. We all have hang ups. We all have problems. For some reason we refuse to see that though and pretend that fame and celebrity and wealth will take away our issues when all it would ever do is push them deeper into the darkness where they become dangerous. We are becoming desperately afraid of one another because we see in each other the awful things we see in ourselves – hate, prejudice, anger, bigotry, fear, loneliness, sorrow, lust – and we wonder if that person could harm us and draw in a little more as we try to transpose ourselves onto the internet where we are safe.
And we blame.
We blame the world for not being what we want it to be and for being dangerous when we know damn well that the blame lies with us. We are pushing each other away in a hundred different ways and aren’t seeing that the less we know about one another and the further apart we get the easier it is for someone to commit a crime or act of violence because to them you aren’t even a person, you’re just another human. The more we dehumanize one another, be it because of our differences or because of our personal hang ups, the more we take away our own humanity. Why don’t we blow each other up with bombs? Because deep down we know that the other side is just like us, even if we have our differences. Once we lose that understanding, that universality then we lose everything.
There are no easy answers. There are millions of them and each person is different as to which ones fit their needs and sadly, some people are just broken. Some of those folks will just lead miserable lives and do miserable things and others, well, others are secretly insane and are but powder kegs looking for the right thing to set them off. But for those of us that can see beyond our pettiness, for us we have to work even harder to unite, be it under a flag of religion, politics, friendship, or simple love we need to find more ways we are similar, we are united and stop finding the reasons we are so different. The more effort we expend on hating one another then the less there is left of us to actually love, it’s as simple as that.
If there was one wish I had it would be that all of us are struck with moments of deep self-realization throughout our lives. Moments where we see how small we all are and how much a part of this bigger world we inherently are. I wish that because I cannot help but pity the people who live forever in hates shadow. Who fear a world of gays, of blacks, of Hispanics, of women, of Arabs, of them-them-them. I cannot imagine how horrifying this world must be when the world is changing, despite how much we may fight it. We are just so disconnected now from ourselves and one another and it breaks my heart. None of us will live forever and all there is to us is the legacy of love and memories we leave behind…or the legacy of hate and brutality. We all want to be remembered in some way but we should be cautious how it is we move through life because these days are the needle with which we weave our legacies. And sure, some will want to go out in a blaze of rage and gunfire, wanting to hurt and harm the world for sins they perceive in it or for pain they have felt in it and some want to burn the world down until it is purified and better resembles what they look like and believe. Me, I just wanna be better than the worst parts of myself and want to work to find the balance that lets me be angry and upset at the world but not to hate it.
I can’t save the world, but I sure as heck don’t blame you for it.
I blame me.
And I need to work on that.