I keep telling myself that it will all be OK. In fact, it’s a phrase that’s repeating in my head as a mantra. It’s going to be OK. But I know that’s a lie I’m telling myself, and it’s a very self-serving one. Things are not OK. They have never been OK.
The US is the same as it’s always been. It’s just all out in the open now.
I’m white and affluent. Those privileges count for a great deal, especially in the rural South where I live. My family is locally prominent (actually this is the reason my blog is anonymous). There’s so much that I’ve never had to deal with, and so much I’m probably not going to have to deal with, compared to my friends.
I’m perfectly safe where I am, but I don’t feel that I can in good conscience remain “where I am” for the next few years. My friends are not safe, and I’m scared shitless for them. It’s not OK.
My status as LGBTQ+, autistic, nonbinary, and disabled has made me keenly aware that society has a “default” and it doesn’t look like me, even though my whiteness and class privilege makes it far easier to bend things into something resembling a shape I can use.
I’m going to start this post with a little family history: both my grandfathers were veterans of WWII. My mother’s father served in the airforce; he fought in North Africa and Europe. My father’s father was in the Navy and Marines. He was stationed in the American territories where he tended the sick and wounded.
My maternal grandfather’s main “war story” was of gaining his future college tuition by cleaning out the doctors in a North African hospital at blackjack. He had a photographic memory and was capable of “counting cards” as it is called today.
My paternal grandfather was fluent in German, and after the War was over, he helped process refugees by serving as their chaperone and guide in New York City.
I am a pacifist, and also very passive by disposition. I am also Buddhist, and I hold to the value of ahimsa. Yet warriors are I believe the most human of us, because they have seen humanity at its worst, and also its best. I almost said “I could never be a warrior” but I know that is a bald-faced lie. Everyone has it in them to fight, to kill even.
What I say next is not going to be popular: we should not place our veterans, our soldiers, our warriors, on a pedestal. The current valorization and glorification of the military in US society erases the humanity of…human beings. And in many cases they are human beings who need help and support.
Yellow ribbons and bumper stickers, black flags and parades mean nothing, ultimately. Say “support our troops” all you want. That means nothing. None of it can feed the hungry, house the homeless, comfort the grieving. You want to support the troops? Don’t support war.
I don’t care if someone sacrifices an animal. I *do* care if someone has no clean water, nothing to eat, or can’t find a safe place to sleep. India has a 61% literacy rate. Think about that while you rail against Hindus practicing animal sacrifice. What’s more important to you – goats or people?
– Saraswati, on animal sacrifice.