When I started this blog, John suggested I should avoid “Getting political”. For the most part, I will take that advice. However, in our current world, everything seems to have become political. I am a white pretty much straight lady. I have privilege and there comes a point when staying silent begins to say things about who I am as a person. I’d rather alienate a few people who don’t want to hear about politics than let the people I love feel abandoned by me. So, yeah. Lets talk about this tweet. This motherfucking tweet that made me wish I could get my hands on a few of those infinity stones Thanos is so fond of. I haven’t been able to think of much else since I saw it so lets talk about it.
One million people have died in this pandemic. More than 200,000 people are dead in the richest country in the world. This man, who has access to the best medical care in the country in his own home was air lifted to the hospital where an entire team of doctors worked to make sure he was comfortable and well taken care of. He was given access to medications that haven’t been approved for use in the rest of the country meaning that even if your average joe wanted to give it a try, his insurance would refuse to cover it.
So, the most powerful man in the world, after spending millions of tax payer dollars for the best medical care then takes to twitter to assure all of his followers that this disease, which again has killed ONE MILLION fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, partners, and yes, children is really no big deal at all. His experience has become the only one that counts in his mind, and he can’t step outside himself enough to imagine what the same experience would have been like for any number of global citizens who have gone through this.
Empathy. That is what this world is missing.
This week Supreme court justices Thomas and Alito attacked the previous decision of the court to legalize gay marriage. The statement basically boils down to the idea that the rights of people who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman are being infringed by allowing a same sex couple to marry and have the rights of married people. You see, in treating homosexuals as people, we became less tolerant of homophobes. Thomas and Alito are genuinely suggesting that being called a bigot is just as bad as being denied basic human rights.
Now, I want you to take a moment to imagine a different life for yourself. Story time.
When you are a young woman you fall in love. Your Love is your whole world. She is your best friend, your support system, and the reason you get out of bed in the morning. You decide to build a life together but the decision costs your Love her family. They believe that being gay is a choice- a sin. They tell your Love she is never allowed to go home again. Time passes. You work to make each other happy. You are happy. Then, something terrible happens. One day, your Love doesn’t come home. Eventually by making phone calls you discover that she has been in a car accident and you rush to the hospital. Only, her family is already there. In the eyes of the hospital your relationship means nothing. Your Love’s family haven’t seen her in years but they are the ones making decisions. You beg the family to see your Love, but they don’t allow it. Your Love passes away surrounded by people who refused to accept her. You are not allowed to say goodbye. You are not allowed at the funeral. Time passes. Gay marriage becomes legal. You celebrate with your friends. You visit the grave of your Love to tell her the news. You imagine what life would have been like if you had been legally able to make her your family.
Then, a miracle happens. You fall in love again. You make your New Love your wife. You begin a family together. She carries the babies, but you raise them together. The looks of distaste that happened almost daily with your first Love still happen, but not as often. You and your New Love begin to feel as though you have a place in the world.
One day, as you balance a baby on your hip while making your New Love breakfast, you see online that at least 2 supreme court justices want to remove the right to gay marriage. They want to undo the rights of your family to exist along side other traditional families. Why do they want to do this? Because they feel that your right to marriage has crushed the rights of others to hate you without meeting you. Think of how scary it would be to imagine losing your new family as quickly and brutally as you lost your first Love. Put yourself in those shoes. Imagine it, then decide what kind of person you want to be.
With Trumps tweet, he attempted to erase the lived experience of millions of people. He tried to pretend that the deaths and the lives forever changed do not matter as much as his experience no matter how unlikely it would be for anyone else to have the same experience he had. With their statement, Thomas and Alito attempted to erase the lived experience of LGBTQ+ who have been told that their love is invalid by the religious right.
The attempts at erasure have been constant. Sexual abuse victims were forced to relive their trauma during the Kavanaugh hearings and then were told that their pain was from too long ago to count. People are living in cages for not taking the time to deal with red tape while their lives were in danger. The media insists on reporting on every sin of every black person who is murdered by the police. The right then stands over the body and praises the police for bypassing the justice system.
A lack of empathy has led to the attempt at erasure of the lives of anyone who is not white and wealthy. We call America the land of the Free, and the home of the Brave. The loss of empathy has turned it to the land of disparity and the home of the bigot. I just hope we have time to reverse course.