Unfuck the World

I saw this shirt posted by Pitchfork from  Angel Olsen (a musician I’ve never listened to, but I know comes highly recommended). This paired with the recent news from London–the bombing, the vehicular homicide (among SO MANY other things, obviously)–brought a totaling body count to mind. Flesh heaped on flesh, red digits racking up, no time for a breath, blink and gone.

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Image via elevation.supply

Why is the world so fucked up? I mean, it’s not new. People have suffered at the hands of each other for centuries. Our whole history is made up of who won a war against who, who is memorialized for dying in it, and the nameless millions and billions and more who no one will ever know. Pride and greed top the obvious list for why our world is fucked up. Wherever there’s selfishness, there will be souls in its wake. It’s easy to point this out at a distance: Wall Street fiends, celebrity hacks, politicians and preachers–all often one in the same. We seethe at home, thinking that if they’d just WAKE UP or GET LOST, we’d all be better off. But it’s always boggled me how we wish for peace at large, yet within our own communities, we still foster discontent. In my mental wingback chair, I sigh and suppose… it’s because our primary needs of sorrow and neglect are erased by protective shields and barriers like anger and vindictiveness, which cause divide.

I’m not above any of this. I’m envious, I’m spiteful; I get sad, I get tired. And that’s part of being human. It’s impossible to eradicate all of it all of the time. There will always be something that gets under your skin, offends, pains, discourages. I don’t think the point is how to avoid reacting to any of that, I think what splits the difference is teasing forward that other part of yourself that says,”I want to try again,” or “let me understand,” not “fuck you” or “oh well.” Those are easy tropes. They can be funny while they are erase responsibility. But where is the emphasis on compassion?* Our collective culture doesn’t actively lift up language for healing. And I don’t mean that in altruistic ignorance. I mean the language that seeds what can happen when you choose to regenerate like a green plant instead of blistering under heated pride.

Pride isn’t the only cause for trouble in our world, but from where I can see in my little corner, and what I’ve had to deal with and encounter, a lot of the gratuitous fuck yous and self righteousness that feel good in the moment just perpetuate stand-offishness and aloofness could have been salved with the generosity of spirit. That thing that rings in the back of your mind and says, “We all bleed. This isn’t the hurt olympics. Help me.” Call me an idealist at heart (please do), but I do think that with each small step we take in our own lives to honestly account for our actions and feelings, the closer we will come to that embrace we all seek: hope.

*I read something somewhere once that was like, “The three hardest things to say in life are, ‘I love you. I’m sorry. Help me.’” I try not to waste my time wondering why it’s hard to say these things. I’m more interested in trying to open my mouth and say them.

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Abortion.

A great interview with Dr. Willie Parker just went up on Jezebel.com. I encourage you all to read it. He gets at the core of a lot of the abortion and female rights debate by addressing human need. He is also a Christian, which adds an intersectional element most people want to ignore or say isn’t valid in this age. His thoughts are introspective and researched. I applaud him!

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Image via Salon.com.

Here are some pull quotes:

In your book, you write about how the religious right has hijacked moral authority over the abortion debate and that the left has failed to come up with a similar moral argument. What moral argument should the left present?

The left has failed to come up with an argument because the left has conceded on the basis of, what I think, is an intellectual arrogance. They think that the facts will speak for themselves and they think that religion is so antiquated—some people even think that we live in a post-religious world; that nobody really believes in God or prayer. That has opened a space that the people who are opposed to abortion have been more than willing to fill with misinformation and encroachment of other peoples’ ability to make their decisions.

The argument that I have, with regard to abortion being a moral issue (and not necessarily a religious one) is that I believe that men and women are equal in their agency. If women have moral agency and autonomy, that means that all processes that occur in their body should be governed only by that woman’s decision-making. So what that means is that people should not be able to have laws that will allow them to be preoccupied with the well-being of a fetus that a woman’s carrying than they are with the woman. You can’t care more about the fetus that a woman’s carrying than you do about the woman who’s carrying it.

Continue reading “Abortion.”

Global perspective.

This is part 1 in a little peek into being Muslim in the United States. The interviewee is my friend, Ali, 28, who studied electrical engineering at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is married and has two children, aged 3 and a newborn.

I thought this would be interesting given the current climate around immigrants, and also being people of color. Our discussion went for almost 3 hours, and there’s plenty more where this came from, which will be added throughout the coming week. Not sure what kind of section to put it all in yet, but I’m sure it will come to me!

Stay tuned!


Amara:
Overall, how does it feel being a Muslim in the U.S. right now? Is it different from when you first came, or is it about the same?

Ali:
Well, I haven’t been to a lot of states since I got here in 2009, but mostly the people from Minnesota have been really nice and peaceful. I would say 1-2% have acted unkind when my wife is walking with me, and they see she’s wearing hijab. Like, they don’t want to serve me or help me.

Do you have a specific example?

Yeah! The Apple store! I’m still a little mad about it. I asked a man working customer service for help. He said, “I’m helping another customer right now, but when I’m done, I’ll help you.” So, he was done, and I was next in line. Then he saw my wife approach me, and he looked over with strange eyes. I immediately assume it was because of the hijab.

He kept talking to the customer before me, even when that customer was trying to leave. The customer would say, “Ok, thanks for your help,” but the guy kept talking to him with other conversation. I waited almost 20 minutes. He kept doing the same thing, over and over. Finally, when he was finished with that customer, he comes to me and says, “I forgot, there’s another customer in line.” I’m like, “…where?” You know? Where is he? I’ve been here 20 minutes. But I didn’t want to start an argument, so I just said “thank you” and left.

Continue reading “Global perspective.”