I love my country. And I am sickened by my country.
Reports of a group of 5 or 6 senior boys gang-raping a sophomore girl here in Austin pushed me over an edge I thought I was already over. I keep thinking things can't get any crazier, but they do. Over and over and over.
We treat women like chattel. Like unwanted pests to be controlled and abused and discarded. We blame them for being raped, condemn them for being sexual, and insist that they can't possibly know enough to make decisions about their own bodies.
We spend an outrageous amount of time, energy, and money battling issues that have absolutely no effect on our lives. We are so fearful of gays and lesbians and bisexuals that we try to change the constitution to prevent them from simply and safely living their lives. The idea of accepting transgender people as equal - even as legitimate human beings - is enough to send us into a murderous rage.
We treat black people like menaces, unworthy of dignity. We ignore the painful examples of blatant racism filling our Facebook feeds every day. We refuse to even consider the fact that we have set up a society that systematically keeps white people on top and black people fighting just to have a voice, and dying for speaking out.
We imagine Middle East refugees fleeing for their lives to be indistinguishable from the terrorists they’re escaping. We are incapable of seeing them as human beings with lives and loves, as fellow humans with families and dreams and passions just like us.
We see our brothers and sisters south of our border as nothing more than vermin out to rape and kill to get their hands on our jobs and our money.
We pretend our homegrown terrorists are nothing like the terrorists from abroad. They are lone wolves, mentally ill, killing for some unknown reason that has nothing to do with religion or race or gender. We can't even contemplate the idea that we are no different from the people we fear and hate. That we ARE the people we fear and hate. We hide behind greed and guns and gods to preserve a way of life that, tragically, looks nothing like what our founders set out to build.
We put our children and our friends and our planet at risk by disregarding science, choosing instead to trust uneducated, uninformed pundits who think genuine experts are in on some giant hoax, only interested in the piles of money we imagine they get in return. We justify our judgement and hatred and indifference by arrogantly claiming to know the mind of an ostensibly omnipotent god.
We glorify ignorance, and castigate reason. And despite the tragic results, we want to go even further down that path.
And I am sickened by it all.