I wasn’t aware that it was possible to feel weary and frantic at the same time. Like a bowl full of eggs that has been whisked and poured into a skillet to become an omelette – resigned to that fate – and then suddenly a spatula pokes in and folds and turns and scrambles.
I am weary of the continued news of Anthony Weiner’s sexting antics and his wife’s attempts to rescue his public image. I don’t care. I get frantic when I read about corporate interests taking over politics, conservatives using their angry voices to manipulate voting districts and women’s rights, all the while touting their own gun rights and rights to free speech as gospel. I am weary of news items that tout the FDA’s new plan to define ‘gluten free’ for food labels because I don’t trust that agency as far as I could throw them. This is the agency that recently increased “acceptable” levels of poisonous pesticides in our foods at the behest of Ag-giant Monsanto. This is the agency that refuses to address the levels of arsenic in chicken feed or antibiotics given to farm animals when they aren’t sick. This is the agency that moves at the speed of snail when it comes to responding to anything in the public interest, and at the speed of light when money is involved.
More than anything, I am sad. I have, in my Facebook feed, several organizations that I have ‘liked’ because I think their values align with mine*. And then I read solicitations for comments like this on one (shall remain unnamed) organization’s page:
“Once the stuff of tabloid headlines (there was general “tsking” when paparazzi captured Suri Cruise in silver peep-toe heels), wedges and heels for tots and tweens have gone mainstream, turning up in schoolyards and on playgrounds far from Hollywood or Madison Avenue. Industry observers say the trend is part of a bigger, so-called “mini-me” craze in the children’s wear market, linking fashions for children’s clothing and accessories with the latest from mom and dad’s runway, no matter how impractical it may be for a child’s rough-and-tumble lifestyle.” – The New York Times
What are your thoughts on children wearing heels?
It prompted a storm of mother-shaming from readers who lambasted Katie Holmes for dressing her daughter in heels and all I could think was, ‘Aren’t we supposed to be building community? Helping each other stand taller? Why are we picking on each other like this?’
In my circle of friends and acquaintances, there are many people who I believe are motivated by love and compassion for others. I hold on to that like a lifeline. And I am shocked and saddened when I hear others say precisely the opposite. On the radio today were two guests talking about the ‘sharing economy’ (things like Air BnB and Lyft car where strangers rent out things they own to perfect strangers). One guest was thrilled with the advent of these organizations and talked about how they are creating efficiencies in creative ways. The other guest said he thought it was crazy – that “people can’t be trusted to act in their own best interest, much less the best interest of others, and these kinds of things need to be heavily regulated.” When pressed, he admitted that he believed that people are basically bad unless motivated by some outside influence (including religion and/or punishment) to do good. The other guest had to respectfully disagree. I was astonished. Are there people, well-respected, published author, NPR guest-like people out there who honestly believe this? That people are bad unless bribed?
I can only hope there are more of the other kind of guests out there.
*If you want to go deeper down the cynicism rabbit hole, check out this article in the Guardian.