I know that this is going to put me off working on my story for the rest of the day, you know, the one about how I almost saved Christmas and all. But it grates on me enough that I need to say it now and move on.
I am so absolutely pissed off at everyone right now.
It is true. Horrible things happen every danged day. Why? Because you people can’t manage to be nice to each other.
A lot of people died in France on Friday. A lot of people died in Beirut too, less than could have though because one man sacrificed himself and his young child to tackle a bomber. A lot of people died all over the world that we won’t ever even hear about. Not because they don’t matter, but because their deaths simply did not make a splash in the news. Because we never knew them, and we did not hear about their passing.
Every single bloody life matters. Stop and think about it for a minute. If you dropped dead right now, which is a distinct possibility, you would probably want people to think you mattered, right? You would want someone to miss you when you were gone. It is the same for every single human being on the entire planet. Life matters. The people we touch by living, and the things we do while we are here, it all matters. You all friggen matter. Even the people you will never meet. That is a given.
What is also a given is that there is only so much grief, so much chaos, and even so much stimulation the human mind can process at one time. We have to live, we can’t just sit around and gibber at the enormity of the terror and despair that our simple existence will encounter. We have to cope, to process our shock and our grief, and eventually, we have to move on. This too is part of the reality of life.
Then we have social media…
Really, I wonder if the world would be a better place if the danged thing had never been invented. Would we all be happier without instant access to the so-called news? Without immediate feedback from friends? Without the mind suck that is Candy Crush? I think so, but that is not the reality. We are stuck with it, for better of for worse.
But here is the deal. People on the internet are idiots. You are, I am, everyone is. It is the nature of the beast
So, some people change their profile picture to a French flag in a sign of support in response to the attacks from Friday. It isn’t monetary support, it isn’t first aid support, it might not even actually be emotional or psychological support. But I figure if even one person in France (or anywhere) logs in to facebook and sees a bunch of French flags flying and it lets them know that a whole lot of other people are out there, thinking about them, caring about their grief, and connecting with their loss as human beings – THEN IT IS A GOOD THING.
But here is the other deal. People on the internet are assholes. You might not be. But I certainly am, and we are stacked against you.
People come out of their holes, people who are normally good, rational, loving people. The same people I talked about above who exist beside you in the human condition and want to be remembered when they are gone. Maybe these are super-empathetic people. Maybe they just are jerks. I don’t know. They aren’t always the same people, but they always say the same thing: “But what about…”
“But what about Beirut? But what about the Kenyans? What about the police officers? What about the Coptic Christians?” Which is fine, actually. Drawing attention to the plights of others is a good and honorable thing. It shows compassion. But then they ruin it with, “How can you show support for France and ignore these other people?”
How can you show support for X?
Hmmmn. Lets see. Maybe because you are human and you feel some danged sympathy. Maybe because it is the situation you are aware of. Maybe it is because you have friends or loved ones or simply can find the damn country on a map. Maybe it is because you cant cram the entire world in your facebook picture. (Though, nice one, Wheeler!) Maybe it is because if you break down and focus on feeling sorry for everyone in the whole damn world you won’t ever get up out of bed in the morning. Maybe it isn’t even about France. Maybe this is what you need to do to cope and move on with your life.
Yes, the Lebanese, and the Syrians, and the Kenyans, and the Mexicans, and the Black People, and the Police Officers, and the Crack Babies, and the Poor, and the Sick, and everyone who is suffering, anywhere, ever is worthy of attention and sympathy and knowing that their lives matter! But how dare anyone, I don’t care who they are, belittle someone for showing support and empathy by questioning why they aren’t supporting X, Y, and Z as well.
Get over your damn selves. You aren’t helping. You are just being an asshole.
People showing support, people expressing sympathy, solidarity, whatever is not something that should be mocked. It is not something that should be belittled. It is something that should be applauded. Instead of saying “I won’t change my picture to France because X!” try this instead, “I understand why people are sympathetic with France. Well done. Nice to see we still have compassion for folks we don’t know. Have you heard about what happened in Beirut as well?”
Don’t detract from another’s well meaning sympathy just because they aren’t also showing sympathy to the thing you want.
Still don’t get it? Still don’t see how you are being a total ass? Lets change the words here then.
“How dare you get upset because your dog died? Unwanted dogs die in the pound every day. Maybe rescue one of those instead of crying about yours.”
“I am not showing my support for people with cancer, because heart disease is the number one killer of Americans? How can you not see that?”
“I can’t believe you want to save the whales! Panda lives matter too!”
Get it now? You are an asshole. A big hearted, empathetic, asshole who also matters, you just don’t know when to keep your damn mouth shut. You too are alive, and scared, and struggling to cope with the horrors of modern times. It isn’t even your fault. You could just turn off social media and walk away…
Actualy, yes. Do that.
The next time you get upset and want to rail against another human being hiding behind a screen with, “But what about…?” You should do that. Walk away. Turn it off. Go find something to do that actually helps the cause you are concerned about. Don’t be a jerk and attack others for showing support, even if it is just changing their face to a flag.
And dammit, stop killing each other already. Heart disease has got that one covered…