protests peaceful rebellion turning to riots violent in Baltimore (and associated media bullshit), and the earthquake in Nepal, it’s been a week of very, very bad news.
Here I sit, safely in my sanctuary of a home in a good upper-middle-class neighborhood thinking how I just don’t know what to do with this world.
I can sign all the petitions, collect for charity to donate to something like Doctors Without Borders to help with Nepal, and maybe… maybe… find some way to help with the huge problem of racism, classism, police violence, and grossly biased narratives in my home country that place the value of a stolen carton of cigarettes or a smashed window over the lives of countless black citizens… but none of it will ever be enough.
This sense of powerlessness, of hopelessness is two things:
On the one hand, it’s my depression overwhelming me again, as it does. “When something is wrong, fix it. When everything is wrong, fix yourself.” That’s biochemistry, and a disability, and a way in which I am disadvantaged that means I have to pick my battles, sure.
On the gripping hand, it’s also my privilege to have lived in a context where power was something I fully expected to have in the first place, where it’s ever news to me that these things are happening, that people are in desperate, dire straits all over the world, that there is still, and always has been violent, fatal levels of oppression not just “somewhere”, but right here.
The thing is, it’s NOT news.
Now, I’m honestly not sure there IS a reliable way to win this fight, to improve this world in lasting ways. At least not a way within my reach alone. But I realize that in thinking no solution is worth implementing unless it achieves that, what I’m really saying is, no solution is worth implementing unless it restores my privilege to ignore the larger problem.
When I see that in others, I can’t help but think they don’t really want to implement a solution. But I realize when I see it in myself, it’s not that at all. It’s that I’m daunted by the fact that I don’t see any solutions that seem good enough, and I’m already exhausted before I ever begin. But that, again, is my depression talking, and depression lies.
The point is to do what I can do, to encourage others to do what they can do, to not let anyone sit down and do less, and most of all, to figure out what we can do together that is beyond the power of any of us separately.
I admit, today I have no idea what that actually is. But it’s my responsibility to keep looking until I figure it out.