I have noticed that I can walk much farther with the dog in the same amount of time on morning that are glorious, but somehow cannot get to work in a timely manner on those same days. I can’t help but putz in! You know people in Nashville are all the time complaining about Nashville drivers? Well, I swear, if you hear someone saying “And on nice days, some fools are always driving 30 miles an hour everywhere!” that’s me! Not complaining. Driving 30.
I swear, by the time I’m an old-lady driver, I will be driving backwards on days like today.
Here’s a thing I wrote for Pith. The discussion in the comments has focused on “parents today!” which I guess is a nice change from “kids today!” but still, what I’m talking about is something systemic. Yes, if parents can even get a glimpse of the enormous social forces aligned against them, then, yes, they damn well should do what they can to counteract them, to give their kids a fighting chance against those forces. But it’s like the sky, these issues, and I’m not sure we see it, really see it, very often, even though it’s always within sight.
I am worried that 10%-15% of our population is expendable and I am afraid that my brothers and my nephews and some of my cousins might be counted among the people who can be left behind. It fucking terrifies me.
I don’t know. This is such a nice day and here I sit mulling over depressing shit.
Blah. Don’t mind me.
I used to think that society considered those people expendable. After the last 5 days I am convinced I was wrong.
They consider those people a SACRIFICE.
There are large segments of people who actually are convinced under the paradigm of their worldview that God, being Just and Perfect, demands that some folks submit to the pain of hell. Or else, the argument seems to go, God is not Just.
So they wait with glee for that day when these disgusting people will finally meet their well-deserved beat-downs.
I don’t know which troubles me more–the fact that this thinking exists at all or the fact that they claim religious kinship with me.
Oh, and pardon me for hijacking your space to get this off my chest. My own blog, the truly appropriate place for such nuttylady ravings, is also a haunt for a few of these people and I am tired of telling them they’re acting wrongheaded.
Coble, I have long suspected this is the case. I’m not even sure it’s quite as well-thought-out as you’re describing in your third paragraph, because I think this is an ancient impulse wearing a Christian mask.
In other words, I’m not sure it would matter what religion (or lack of religion) folks had, because the impulse is there first, way down deep and old, and they try to match it to religious justifications after the fact.
But it is distressing on many levels–it justifies people turning their backs on the truly suffering in our society, and it means there are a lot of Christians willing to vocalize the belief that they think God is a liar–that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough, but that God wants more suffering and more pain.
I don’t know. This was why I was a bad Christian even when I was one, because I was a universalist from a very young age, without really knowing what it meant. I just thought it was obvious that I, for instance, could not experience Heaven as perfect if my jackass (and sometimes downright evil) Grandpa wasn’t there.
Did I want him to still be broken and hurt others? Of course not.
But I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea that God would force me to suffer with the absence of my Grandpa, when it was my Grandpa’s deeds that might keep him out of Heaven, not mine.
Now, some pastors told me that, in Heaven, I would somehow have peaceful forgetfulness. I wouldn’t notice that my Grandpa wasn’t there, so I wouldn’t suffer his absence. This seemed really disgusting to me, but also, I just love my Grandpa as much as a fucked up human can love another fucked up human she doesn’t like very much.
But God certainly must love my Grandpa much more than I am even remotely capable of. And God would create a home for Himself in which he had to suffer from the absence of my Grandpa?
I wasn’t buying that.
I thought it just seemed more plausible that we all end up the same place, with full awareness of the consequences of our lives and the good we have done and the suffering we have caused.
And, for some people, that’d really, really suck.
I don’t know. This is a long digression, but my point is that some people really have an idea of God as a kind of inexplicable monstrous bully for the side of Good.
My dad, bless his heart (though he is not a universalist, to my knowledge), pushed back hard against that understanding of God, which I am grateful for.
I left a long comment over at Pith that I won’t repeat here but I agree that our problem IS systemic. When all of our barometers and benchmarks for a healthy society are economic ones then of course certain groups of people — the poor, the sick, the elderly – will be seen as liabilities. We need to change how we look at the world.
And as I mentioned over at Pith, this problem is not uniquely American. It’s a global issue.
I appreciated the folks over at Pith who were trying (unsuccessfully, natch) to puncture continued application of Horatio Alger bootstrapping as the solution. And also SB’s welcome rebuttal to the “deserving/undeserving” poor dichotomy.
But I think what you’re getting at here is the dark heart of the Tea Party, and every other political movement that depends largely on fear of “the other.” The people who are the closest to the sacrifical altar are the ones baying the loudest for more throat slitting, of those more vulnerable than themselves. Because they are spit-scared and trying to keep the knife off of their own necks, whether they admit it or not.
Jess, I think that’s really insightful and I want to mull it over some. I do think people who are in very vulnerable groups are indeed the ones pointing at some other group in need of sacrificing. This is an added complexity that feels true to me.
That’s the thing. Not to pick on one group exclusively but since Jess brought it up AND I have the most experience with the Tea Party, I’ll use them as my example.
There are a lot of libertarians and conservative Republicans who like the general initial idea behind the Tea Party. I freely admit to being one of those. But as those ideas have been put into practice with the constant rallies one thing has become obvious.
The foundational idea–that government is too swollen and needs an overhaul–is a fine one.
But the rallies have become a gathering place for the older, the disabled, the undereducated. Exactly as Jess says…they are the ones who know they are on the chopping block.
As for the problem of handling this in Christianity, I’ll go back to discussing that in detail at another time. Because I’m still working through a lot of it and am in danger of saying things I should say to some folks’ faces first.