Sunday, June 12, 2016

No, my life cannot become someone else's bargaining chip


I am in the middle of “restructuring” my websites and activities – with much more of it going to Wordpress – and I am pretty much self-driven.

I have to react for a moment to the reaction of everyone to horrific events around them, including two major tragedies in Orlando, FL this weekend, one of them at a Club (the Pulse) which I had visited last July.  I’ve covered that on the GLBT blog today.

I need to tell myself, and “to whom it may concern”, that it is never OK for anyone to think my own life should become a bargaining chip, whatever the cause or reason or emotional, familial, or political circumstances.  I had to deal with this during the last years before my own mother’s passing at 97 at the end of 2010 (of natural medical causes).  I’ve had to deal with it earlier in my life, with the whole business of the William and Mary expulsion (1961), NIH (1962), the draft and my military service (starting in 1968), and in various ways at other times as I have documented, in personal encounters that in a very few occurrences turned ugly.

I also need to finish my own homework, my own goals, in my own way, before I can really help others effectively, by belonging to "someone else's" effort.  Yes, I would like to “earn” the opportunity to work with an established news service, but that can only happen if I “do the work” first.  So I can’t become sidetracked by circumstances, hardships, threats, or anything else.  I can’t drop what I’m doing for other people’s emergencies.  There are so many pleas that I actually look at very few of them.

True, I seem insular and aloof.  If I fail, even if it is someone else’s “fault” or the result of forceful expropriation, I still fail; and “belonging” to a group on some emotional level isn’t going to save me.  It’s pretty much a right-or-wrong thing, not much part credit.  I can’t get involved in emotional ventures to make victims of anything “all right”, and I don’t expect others to do that for me.  This may sound like an alarming statement, but there is no honor in victimhood. No reward.  Socially, and politically, I think this has a lot to do with deep inequality (not just religion) to the point that western life seems meaningless to some people.   I do understand the Grace aspect of this in Christianity, and won’t get into it here (for, for that matter, comparable ideas in Judaism, Islam, or other faiths);  I have my own idea about the afterlife, which I am sure exists, but I can’t get into that right now.

That brings me to another idea I’ve mentioned before, personal “rightsizing” and its relation to social resilience.  That idea comes up in some volunteer contexts.  Colbert King mentioned it in conjunction with Donald Trump in a column Saturday here. She talks about Trump’s alleged pandering to ideas about keeping people “in their place” and that even includes gender roles, in some context of socialization.  It’s pretty alarming stuff.

Donald Trump’s own press release starts out right – we have to be strong and resilient – but then misses everything when he just categorizes migrants as “the other”.   It seems awfully shallow.

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