If Americans, feminists in particular in this instance, cared so much about the conditions confronting Arab and African women and children, we wouldn’t be allowing our government and military to bomb and invade them. Because witnessing your child getting caught up in the crossfire isn’t exactly an improvement on living under patriarchal command. Neither is seeing your home and city be reduced to rubble. But we don’t care all that much apparently. Popular as it is to chat about the horrors of genital mutilation (god awful as that reality indeed is), for most folks living far removed from “those people” it’s more about philosophical and theoretical arguments, not actual human beings and not trying to get down deeper to the bottom of what’s happened to humanity. Because if we dig down deep, we come up with blood on our own hands too. We American women are not innocent, we’re not mere bystanders. We’re voters and tax-payers—in other words, we are enablers.
Breaking these chains requires placing the focus on oneself and recognizing the carnage we help perpetuate. In coming to terms with our own selfishness and greed, with our own fear and cowardice, our own lack of concern and our failures and shortcomings, we come to see how easy it is to be swept with the tide and to wake up one day in a world we do not recall co-creating. But we were there, standing idly by, entertaining ourselves with the latest fashions and bickering over the news of the day. We use the stories of distant people to bolster our arguments with one another, sheltered oceans away and content to remain blissfully ignorant of what all is being done in our names to them. Much better to keep the focus on the other guy, on some stranger we can stereotype and make light of, to distort distant people’s reality into an abstract exercise for our own amusement. Because if we really did care, we’d ask what it is we’re doing (or not doing) that is grievously harming others, and we’d take individual action to rectify these wrongs, by whatever means we are able. Right?
But no, it’s much easier to finger-point and to argue from comfortable perches.
We don’t care because we don’t know what it’s like, we can’t relate, our imaginations being so warped and narrow. For all the heinous shit we can imagine, it’s apparently too much of a stretch for us to see ourselves in the role of predator unto others, whether that be directly or indirectly, intentionally or inadvertently or due to a lack of curiosity on our parts to seek out the truth wherever it may lie. One such truth is that we each are working to pay taxes that fund our military machine that is directed by politicians (whom we also elect to power) who belong to parties that are bought and paid for by major monied interests who push to carry out agendas devoid of any regard for those unlike themselves, which is nearly all of us throughout the world. In this game, humans are treated like pawns, and we are rendered completely disposable and interchangeable. Yet we fund this scheme, unwittingly perhaps, believing there can be no other way and that it is outside of our control, as if we are barnyard animals caged in by electric fencing, awaiting our day to be led to slaughter.
Cowards, that’s what nearly the whole lot of us are. We’re accepting life lived on our knees, preferring to remain alive at all costs, even if that means selling our souls completely and watching hell on earth unfold all around us. We talk the big talk and we butt heads over this or that piece of legislation, but then tomorrow we’ll rise and shine and head to work so as to generate more money to feed the beast that’s killing in our names. We’ll bitch and bicker over how many cents on the dollar we’re earning compared to him or her while sipping our mochas and shopping online. We’ll gripe about common courtesies and hurl undue insults at one another, then return home to cook dinner and to snuggle up to our pets, flipping on the television and tuning out. The media doesn’t report on much of the mayhem done in our names anyway, and if it does there’s always CSI or Jersey Shore to retreat to.
And as we snuggle in at night under blankets sewn by serfs in China, we’ll take our Lunesta so as to bypass the dreams of how our time on this planet may be better spent.
Nevermind. Just roaming thoughts of a woman sitting in her Taiwan-manufactured computer chair, ruining her lungs with smoke, sipping water out of a plastic bottle, waiting for the clock to roll around to the time for my next job appointment. Hypocrisy-in-action?