liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,
liz_marcs
liz_marcs

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The Problem With Fish...

It's been a heart-breaking week on ElJay, hasn't it?

Or maybe I mean a heart-breaking month.

Screw it. It's been a heart-breaking few months.

I should be pissed, but I honestly think my outrage button is broken by this point.

So, now I'm just sad about the whole mess.

And even though I know that not all of the racist-bigoted-ignorant folks out there subjecting ethnic and religious minorities to some pretty hateful crap are U.S. citizens, most of them are.

And every time I read one more racist-bigoted-ignorant comment that seems to say in a nutshell "if you're offended, it's all your fault" or "everyone knows this cliché is true" or bypassing all of that to (anonymously of course) type out a racial or ethnic slur and leave it like a pile of shit on a pillow in someone's personal ElJay, I can't help but think of a cliché in response:

"Fish rots from the head down."

It's one of those sayings that every language on earth has, because it's a universal truth.

And when you've got the very people at the top of society (whether you think they deserve to be there or not) demonizing entire nations, nationalities, religions, political parties, and even political beliefs and few with any power or media pulpit calls them on it, all the rats are gonna come out to play.

And the rats aren't shy about what they want: for white, Christian men to be in total control. And not just any ol' white, Christian man either. They want a white, Christian man in charge who'll adhere only to the most odious version of that white, Christian man.

Forget it if you're a white, Christian man who thinks the above is just bullshit. You're the wrong white, Christian man and you should be branded a traitor along with teh ebil liberuls and punished accordingly.

Mexicans, of course, should be shot on sight. Never mind if they're citizens. Chances are, one of their ancestors illegally swam the Rio Grande, so that means they're not "real Americans."

Adherents to Islam should be be de facto treated as terrorists or wanna-be terrorists. And we all know what that means, don't we. Hello Guantanamo! If you're lucky. There's always extraordinary rendition if you're not. Innocence, by the way, does not seem to come into play here.

Blacks should be glad they were allowed to stay in the U.S. at all, rather than shipped en masse back to Africa after the Civil War, so they should keep their heads down and understand that leaving nooses around is just a light-hearted joke.

If you're Jewish, you get off light by comparison. You just need to be perfected, and everything will be cool.

Hell, there are some people out there that really believe that if you're not Christian, you shouldn't be a U.S. citizen.

Welcome to eliminationism, U.S.-style, a theory once laughed at, but is now being taken a whole lot more seriously by a people across a broad spectrum, especially now that the Dolchstoßlegende mythology is being trotted out on U.S. right-wing talk radio.

When you've got a significant number of religious and political leaders, not to mention those outrageous media darlings, talking like this maybe we shouldn't be shocked when the rats come out to play and start slinging around the shit. It's like they've been given permission to let loose the id and get it all over the rest of us.

It's all part of the same poisonous atmosphere, it's all part of the same continuum of thought. And if you go against it that continuum of thought, if you say, "Hey, waitaminute here..." you are the one with the problem, you are the one being oversensitive, you are the one who's wrapped their tin-hat too tightly.

Never mind if you're aware of history and just how flipping easy it is to create a faceless block of scapegoats to distract people from the cracks in the system. Never mind that you know the history behind every nasty insinuation and how it had been used against other faceless blocks of scapegoats before.

And history is always a hell of a lot closer than you think, especially if it's your history.

My mother knew people who survived Auschwitz. She's seen the tattooed numbers with her own eyes. And she knew these people as an adult, so we're talking within the last 40 years. Yes, the Holocaust is that close, so please excuse people for just being a tad jumpy when things get ugly.

I have a black friend who is trying to pull together her family genealogy. "Trying" is the operative word here. She got to 30 years before Civil War in a Mid-Atlantic State before the trail goes stone, dead cold. She'll be the first to tell you that hitting the 1830s and finding out that she had free-black ancestors in the U.S. that early is a major-league victory. But now she's left trying to run down rumors that somewhere there are copies of her family's slave papers on one of the family compounds. She's not having luck. Some family members swear they exist. Some family members refuse to talk about it. And so, whenever she tries to shake those documents loose, the elephant in the room wanders over and sits on her head. "Slavery." History come to life, indeed.

That's just two examples off the top of my head. One person's "a long time ago" is really fucking relevant to someone who's alive today, a whole hell of a lot more relevant that you can hope understand.

And while I'm not going to lay claim to someone else's personal problems when racism and religious bigotry smacks them in the most ugly way possible, any one who's evolved beyond the tribal monkey-brain should have figured out by now that this crap is just evil.

Yeah, I said it. Evil. Because that's exactly what it is. And maybe I can say it without being called "oversensitive" because I'm not one of the people this crap is being aimed at.

Here's what I do know, though, and history is completely on my side in this.

It's crap like this that gives people permission to think that another human being is worse than an animal based on some arbitrary standard of ethnicity, skin color, religious (or lack thereof) belief, or political stance.

When they start thinking it, they start acting on it.

The real hell of it is this: They always have. They always are. They always will.

And if in some point in time when it happens again, how sure are you that you won't be the one treated worse than an animal?

Better yet, what will you do when the rain fire right being thrown around right this very second starts including you?

So it seems to me that it's pretty much in everyone's self interest to put a stop to this kind of evil. Failure to do so seems to me to be the equivalent of begging history to turn around and bite you in the ass.

Funny thing about history. It tends to do just that, sooner or later.
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