Usually I’m fairly optimistic. I generally believe the world is full of good people who want to help each other. I know that’s naïve and more than likely to be incorrect, but I think it is generally a helpful attitude. Yet today there are so many reasons to be sad.
I’m working from home a lot, so over lunch I turned on the television for a mental break from the site analysis I am writing. Daytime television generally sucks so I ended up on CNN. Today of all days, I remember why I don’t watch the news. Listening to it on NPR is bad enough.
They displayed a picture of a billboard on some Christian community center in some anonymous town which said Obama is a Muslim and it is a sin against God to have elected him to the presidency. It ends with “Ex. 20:3” which I can only assume refers to the scripture Exodus, Chapter 20, Line 3 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” They should have read a little further, down to line 16 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” I think it’s rather misplaced in a country which enshrines freedom of religion. But if they think electing someone of another religion is a sin, that’s an opinion they are entitled to, I suppose. I’m just not understanding the lie.
CNN was also reporting on a man who is pregnant for the second time. Yes, you’re probably thinking what I was thinking. (Because I was also thinking “Wow! I didn’t think we’d actually figured out how to do that with an entirely biological man!” Although, I think we will sooner or later, which will be super cool.) Thomas is a transgender man who was born a woman and is now legally male. I like the way he put it though, in the article he wrote in The Advocate on April 8, 2008: “I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.” So when his wife had to have a hysterectomy, he went off his testosterone injections in order to carry their daughter and is now pregnant with their second child. I think that’s fabulous! But reading of the struggles they had in getting medical care, the snide comments of their own family, and reading some of the comments on the website to the story, made me very sad.
One commenter wrote that the world was not ready for this kind of thing. Huh? I wasn’t ready when my eldest cousin got married. I distinctly remember thinking that: “He can’t get married. I’m not ready yet!” My cousin is only two years older than I am. I don't know why us being ready should stop them. Others wrote that it was wrong, evil, and harmful for the child whom they obviously did not love because she would clearly be screwed up and need massive therapy to get over the fact that her daddy loved her enough to carry her when her mommy couldn’t. Huh? That, on top of Proposition 8 passing in California and similar ballot initiatives around the country banning gay marriage, makes me very sad.
Then in Afghanistan, the Taliban are throwing acid at girls on their way to school. They don’t think women should be educated. Sometimes it’s mindboggling, the contradictory nature of gender prejudice. If women are so much stupider than men, then what is the harm of educating them? The guys will still be able to outsmart them right? If men are so much stronger than women, why is the sight of a woman’s bare face enough to drive them into passionate, violent madness? Aren’t women supposed to, at the very least, be protected?
All this unnecessary clinging. All this unnecessary hate. It causes so much suffering. It must hurt so very much. Not just to the victims of the hate, but to the hater. Can you imagine all that energy churning inside you, burning up your mind, strangling your heart, living in such constant anger, such abject fear? I want to ask those people, if you actually do manage to destroy the object of your hate, will it go away? If the person you hate is dead, will you stop hating them? Will that give you any relief?
What if it actually could? What if the hate disappeared with the object of the hate? What if a person could find away to take all the attention of hate, all the anger and violence and pain and viciousness of hate and turn it on themselves? What if a person could hypnotize the world so that all the people who hated those of another race, another religion, another gender, another sexual orientation, or for any other reason, so that all those people were convinced that that single person was the one and only member of that group, the singular object of their hate? What if that one person then killed themself? Would the world finally be at peace? If that was possible, if I could be that one person, I know I would do it.
It makes me very sad to know that it doesn’t work that way. Hate is so much stronger, so much more insidious. Hate is not about the object of the hate. It’s about the person doing the hating. And I’m not much of a hypnotist. It makes me so sad to think of the people at that church who put up that sign and the Muslims who have to look at it. To think of Thomas, his wife, their children, all those freaked out doctors and nurses, and the people who read that article. Not to mention Thomas’s (and his wife’s) family who were so unsupportive and have chosen to lose their own sibling rather than have a brother instead of a sister. It makes me sad to think of those girls in Afghanistan in pain and afraid to go to school and those Taliban men who must be so much more afraid of those little girls in order to go to such lengths.
It’s just so damned sad.