So, I just finished reading this article on Theroot.com, by Jason Johnson.
The Root 2020 Presidential Black Power Rankings, Week 15
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I read some of the comments in response to the article, as I typically do. I came across an exchange that culminated in two responses from people I’d classify as a pragmatist and a very young idealist, respectively. The ultimate response from the Pragmatist was:
And the ultimate response from the Idealist:
Ah, to be young, and relatively un-ground-down — so eager to embrace an as-yet untarnished future waiting JUST FOR YOU.
However. . . .
I responded to the latter, to the Idealist, but really, to them both. For, while I laud idealism — especially in older folks — there’s a reason idealism generally doesn’t survive one’s mid-twenties. Or even teens, in some cases. Mine actually DID survive my twenties — and would’ve made it to my forties, possibly (I’ll be the big 4–0 in February of 2020), battered and scuffed, but mostly unbroken. If not for the Trump presidency and Charlottesville, and LIFE since those two events.
My response to these seeming polar opposites (they aren’t REALLY. The opposite of someone who cares enough to vote and strategize, no matter what that strategy, would be someone who did not care enough to vote or strategize at all. The opposite of passion and purpose is their utter lack, not variations in the focus of the passion and purpose) is as follows:
Agreed (in theory, anyway), but wait until you’ve weathered twenty-two years of this shit. Or thirty-two. Or forty-two. Sticking to ideals of “should” is often a (very) young-person’s game. Check back in with your current energy, optimism, and determination in about fifteen years. No shade thrown, here. It’s simply that, after a certain point, prioritizing then compromising is all a lot of people have the energy for, BECAUSE the system has ground them, their family and friends, and everyone’s hopes and dreams to a fine powder. Or burnt it to ash. It sets people up to be crushed, so that in time, they stop trying at all.
This system has been VERY successful, especially in the US. DECADES of effort and caring and voting, then bullshit and disappointment and the same-ol’, can wear ANYONE down and so very frequently has.
Honestly, I think ALL political ideologies and systems are doomed to fail — not because the ideologies are awful (and some genuinely are), but because humanity is. As a species, we are predatory and AWFUL (no one gets to the top of ANY food chain by being the nicest, the most enlightened, and the fairest). And the larger the group or mob of humans, the deeper that awfulness-nadir goes. I present every large organization, nation, dominant ethnicity, and culture, as evidence. Everyone’s got blood on their hands, the difference being degree.
Ha, reminds me of K’s quote in the original MIB film: “A PERSON is smart. PEOPLE are dumb, panicky animals, and you know it.”
That’s always stuck with me and the simple truth of it explains why politicking of any kind and any form of “State” is borked. Because human beings are the ones running it and trapped in it. We will near-literally cannibalize ourselves, if given a long enough lead.
Humanity didn’t get to the top by being the nicest, the most enlightened, or the fairest.
And the moral of that true-fact Cautionary Wail?
Hope, faith, belief, optimism — basically, blanketed under “idealism,” is a (VERY) young-person’s game. My personal fight against injustice isn’t one of hope, most days. It’s often duty, rote, eh-might-as-well-why-not?, or just plain SPITE. Whatever gets my head in the game and gives me fuel so that I keep going.
And, plainly, SPITE gets me out of bed more days than hope, optimism, or even having to take a massive piss does. Probably because — and say it with me:
To any forty-year-old idealists out there, still fighting the good fight with stars in their undimmed eyes and fire in their un-ulcerated bellies . . . good on ya. You’re a rare and special breed. Me? I’m only human — and not even a mostly good one (nor mostly bad, either . . . like most humans, I’m firmly “in the middle,” my mediocrity leavened by only slight leanings toward “good” or “bad” that depend on the day, mood, and circumstance).
Mostly, I just do what I can, when I can — or at least more often than I don’t. I try to not hurt people, and mostly succeed, on most days. I try to be ACTIVELY/PROACTIVELY, not to mention CONSISTENTLY ethical in thought, word, and deed. On this, I’m no good at judging my success-rate, so at least I won’t be resting on laurels reaped, anytime soon. I may not aim for perfect, but I ALWAYS try for BETTER.
But sometimes, when I see injustice perpetrated on someone who can’t fight back or do so effectively, what spurs me to rush-in and save the day — ha! — is far more frequently and largely: “Fuck that asshole-bully, I’m gonna FUCK their fucking day in its ear-hole and LAUGH while I do it!”
It’s much less likely to mostly be: “Oh, no, that poor, besieged soul — let me save them from the brigands, the communists, and the night!”
The results of those thoughts/impulses might be very similar . . . but the difference between the thoughts/impulses, themselves, is huge — about twenty years, I’d say. Give or take a few months.
END NOTE: The Idealist responded to my reply! The permalink for the whole thread is here. I responded to said reply and, well, should it continue, that permalink will take you there.
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