There is a saying I would like to impart to the future generations:
Understanding does not equal acceptance.
I came to this nuance not long after I completely lost my ability to blindly believe in the supernatural. For years I had been, as I called myself, an “honest agnostic,” that is, I believed in a God of my own blasphemous invention having created everything because the possibility that nothing gave a crap about the universe was depressing. I don’t think I have to tell you that the moment I stopped pandering to my own potential misery was a rather joyous day. It was the moment I stopped caring about myself enough to actually take a look outside of my own ass and see what was going on.
I didn’t like what I saw.
Across the globe, I cast feelers of consciousness wherever the light of Journalistic Truth(tm) was allowed to shine and usually where this light guided my scrutinizing eye it beheld evils both plain and universal. I pointed some of these out to my fellow news hounds and was at first puzzled, and then dismayed when the slack-eyed glaze of shrugging acceptance met my own newly stoked fervor.
“Why are they doing this?” I asked them.
“It’s their culture,” they responded.
“But isn’t this wrong?” I countered.
“Don’t be a bigot,” they flailed.
“I’m not a bigot, they’re causing lasting harm to minds and bodies.” I narrowed my eyes.
“Who are we to say what’s right?” Another flailing attempt to deflect.
“You mean: Who am I to know what causes pain?” And then I smacked at least one of them over the back of the head as an example.
“You’re a bully,” and then they walked away while women and children were raped, mutilated, ignored, malnourished, starved, disenfranchised, uneducated, and largely abused by men I felt to be ideologically, technologically, economically, and physically inferior to my tribe. In every way, my people, the American people, were superior to everywhere the light was showing me, and I could not just turn away and rejoin the sole society on the planet that seemed on the cusp of actually treating people decently. It was infuriating.
I shouldn’t have turned the light inward.
Grinning charlatans hawking tap water as a medical cure-all. Soul-questing vultures harassing women at the worst moments of their lives outside of abortion clinics. Snarling jackals nipping at the flanks of social progress, slowing the pace at which we are treating people decently. Screeching, cackling, laughing demons in bleach-blond wigs, lonely harpies calling their fellow Americans traitors and scum. Grinning, earnest buffoons besmirching the name of noble warriors both military and legislative. And always, always, the pounding drum beat of the corporate, the greedy, grasping entities existing in shadow free to lash out as they will against Americans like me… and get away with it.
“What is this?” I asked, recoiling as I came into political awareness on the cusp of America’s greatest weakening.
“They are the other side of the debate,” they told me without a hint of the horror I felt.
“There is no debate. How are they allowed to be like that?” I asked, feeling the anger well up again as I realized I was going to know the answer.
“Because it’s their culture. How they grew up.”
“But they’re wrong. They’re lying. They’re plainly lying; it’s killing our bravest.”
“It’s their right to lie.”
“But where are the other voices? Where is the debate?”
“What do you mean, other voices? It’s always been this way. This is debate.”
When I shone the light behind me, I found out it wasn’t, and I quietly raged. At least, I used to. Now I blog and I Twitter. I take solace in the succor offered by other sane individuals on the Internet and most importantly in the living world, but perhaps most importantly I understand but I do not accept. I can stare the evil in the face, and I can know how to hurt it. I don’t just look at it, shrug my shoulders after the first glance and then turn away, because I never could.
Some may call me a bully, but at least I’m willing to be honest about it.