zird is the word (lizardek) wrote,
zird is the word
lizardek

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LEARNING TO USE A SLINGSHOT

I have to concentrate on the good things in my daily life, in order to combat all the awful things in the world that I can't do anything about. Or at least not anything substantial. Recycling and donating to humanitarian causes seems to pale in the face of all the misery and hardship out there. I have only skimmed the news for years now, reading headlines and limiting my exposure, because I buckle under the weight of it and I'm PRIVILEGED. I live a cushy, easy life. I live in the first of first world countries. I can't, in any meaningful way, really help women in Afghanistan, children in immigration detention, patients in ICU COVID units, natural disaster victims in Haiti, oppressed people in so many places.

I do my small part: voting, educating myself, limiting single-use plastics, limiting my consumption of red meat, speaking up. We put up solar panels. We're getting an electric car. But that's nothing. Nothing in comparison to the need out there; which is overwhelming to hear about, to read about, to know about. How do you reconcile the two?

Anders and I just watched 13th, an excellent documentary about the prison system in the United States and the nation's history of racial inequality. Almost all of it was about things I have seen before, watched on television, read about. The fact that so little changes, so slowly, for so many, is heartbreaking and rage-inducing. And I'M PRIVILEGED. I have the choices so very many people lack.

Every nature documentary we watch (and we watch a lot) hammers home the devastating effects of climate change and the brink we are teetering on, and the tiny, little, things we do in the face of it make me cringe sometimes with their futility. I know that every little bit helps, that changing our behavior, in even small ways, helps, but faced against the huge need for massive systemic change, it seems like such tiny drops that make no real difference in the ocean of catastrophe that seemingly looms.

I don't talk much here about my political views, my stances on hot-button big issues; there are plenty of people out there doing a much better job of that, of articulating my side, for me. I tell people if they ask, what I think. I tell them sometimes even if they don't, if I think they need to hear it. But I often feel I am preaching to the choir. There are so many things to fix, in so many places, so many ways that humans make our own work so much harder. It's depressing. It's frustrating. It's hard to take.

But it doesn't mean I'm off the hook. My privilege is exactly the place from which I must speak. Exactly the place where I stand, and where I hold. If no one speaks up, what then? We let the awful things win. And that's simply not acceptable. So I look for the daily good things. I do my small part. I educate myself and speak up. I hope you do, too.

We might all be little Davids, kicking dust at Goliath's feet, but enough of us, kicking hard enough, doing what needs to be done...we'll prevail. Won't we? We don't have time to fix everything. Maybe we just have time to learn to use a slingshot.
Tags: littlemisssunshine, puttingwordstogether
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