Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Support In Lieu of Judgement
I read an article yesterday that made me cringe. In it, the writer expressed his thoughts on Japan's recent tragedies. From a pros vs. cons perspective, he told of both the positive and negative aspects of the natural disasters and their aftermath. When stating his positive point, he compared Japan's disaster to that of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. Here is a quote directly from the writer himself:
"...you do not see any of the Japanese people looting, stealing televisions, or getting mad at the lack of help. I think the people of New Orleans should be forced to study this disaster and the people of Japan. I am sure that they could learn something from this disaster and how the people of Japan have behaved during this tragedy."
One of his readers commented, "I was humiliated to be a resident of the coast after Katrina and the fact that New Orleans and it's broken levees got national news with it's lazy fat welfare thieving people got coverage...and no one deserves help, it is a gift." She said a few other things that I would deem hateful, but then I've given her too much attention as it is.
I will not tell you where I read this article or provide a link to it because I don't want anyone to storm to his website, hopping mad, and start a racial war. We have enough of those already and furthermore, that is not the point of this post. In fact, this writer is someone that I have come to enjoy and respect. Just because I enjoy reading his work, however, doesn't mean that I agree with everything he says/writes. This particular article being one of them.
The actual point of my post is that it's easy to judge a situation when you're on the outside looking in. When you can turn down your nose and rant about how wrong "those people" are, it's easy to forget that you are, in fact, one of those people. Americans, in this case.
I have never personally experienced a natural disaster and judging solely from the writer's lack of personal disaster references to strengthen his argument, neither has he. We both watched in awe and disbelief as these tragedies unfolded...on TV. We saw what the media wanted us to see. Everyone who has ever dared to watch the news for longer than ten seconds knows that they choose the stories and opinions of stories that will get them the most ratings. In this country, those things happen to be the ugly side of things. We pretend that we want to hear and read about human interest stories. We pay lip service to how negative and skewed the media is, but if you pit a life-saving three-year-old against a crime spree, the three-year-old would get lost in the mire of darkness.
I'll go one better. If the Japanese tragedies had happened on the same day as Hurricane Katrina, which aftermath do you think would get the most press?
We love darkness. We feed on negativity.
I know this to be true personally. Everyone knows that I have two blogs. Big whoop, I know. A Bitch Called Mom, which I call my "bad girl" blog gets way more followers, comments, and reads than this, my "feel good" blog. I have readers who will go all the way back to July 2010, the beginning of the bitchfest, just to read every bitchy word I've written over there. Of course, it makes me feel good that someone wants to read every word I write (if only one of them were an agent!), but I have to wonder why I don't get the same response over here. I'm still the same person on both blogs. The difference is here I'm trying to help us all live happy lives and there I tend to bitch about the things that make life unhappy.
I understand that misery loves company. I understand that connections are fostered by things we have in common. But while we're building those connections, can't we show some compassion and understanding for others at the same time? Must we connect over our mutual judgement of others?
I could further pick apart the above referenced article and its subsequent comments, but again, that's not the point. Instead, I submit that when tragedy strikes anywhere in the world, we look beyond what the media tells us, and offer our support to the human beings being affected by said tragedy.
That's who they are, you know. Human beings. Just like you, just like me. Not the unknown "they" that we wish them to be so that we can go on judging them and feeling superior.
To the citizens of Japan, I offer my prayers. I offer them my love and positive thoughts. I offer them what money I can spare from my family's budget. I offer them my support.
Until next week,
Feed on love, subsist on peace.