Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My Two Stages of Outrage

Oh, that's where the fire went. Thanks for succeeding, Amendment One! Now I have all kinds of things to write about. Last night's disappointing (but hardly surprising) victory for homophobes left my head full of disturbing thoughts.

The most disturbing revelation (more of a reminder, actually) is that politics makes me angry. I mean, it makes me very angry. Unreasonably angry. It causes abject and absolute hatred of those who hold opposition views. Those people could even be (and often are) family members. It doesn't matter. I am deliriously furious and have known myself to type things that I will soon regret. I don't feel that way about any other subject. If you don't like the Strokes or Indian food, I don't challenge your position. If you insist that The Walking Dead is just the best show ever, I will point out how you are wrong, but it won't damage our relationship. Even some policy issues (economics, taxes, etc) can bear some discussion. But if we disagree about civil rights or church/state separation issues (often the same thing) and I will suddenly have no use for you at all.

It isn't as though I can't handle my position to be challenged; it's because I already know what you are going to say and you're wrong. That's the problem. The problem is that there's no secular reason for opposition to marriage equality. There's no secular reason to oppose contraception. And that's what makes me so angry - there's no possible way to even have a discussion. If you oppose same sex marriage, it's only because your religious text tells you to. And I can't argue with that, because you're right: the Bible/Koran/Torah does oppose homosexuality in no uncertain terms. When I get the question about why I care what religious people think, what the harm could possibly be, I point to things like this.

To be sure, I always have to bundle statements like this in layers and layers of disclaimers about how 'not all religious people are like this and how only the fringe elements of society are dangerous and most religious people are perfectly nice etc etc etc.' I get tired of making those disclaimers. It may be true that most religious people are nice and reasonable, but it is an absolute fact that more religious people voted to strip rights away from other citizens based on nothing but ignorance and fealty to a god that doesn't exist and, if he did, would certainly agree with them. There's no other way to approach the results of the 30 states who have voted to explicitly ban same sex marriage.

So please forgive me for my stream of ad hominem attacks. I feel trapped when there's no room for rational argument. But give me time and I will calm down. I have, in fact, calmed down. I'm no longer murderously angry. I'm tired. Those are my two stages of outrage: rage, then paralyzed apathy. I look at current conservative/religious policy as a mountain that's in the wrong place. It's obviously not right, but it's impossible to move (like 'faith that can move mountains,' faith creates a mountain resistant to any amount of contradictory facts).

The more this happens, the sooner I get tired, the more paralyzed I become. What do I have to lose? I'm realistically halfway (give or take) through my life. I don't have children. The issues that I care desperately about (animal rights, the environment, civil rights) are largely ignored by society. It is clear that my bursts of outrage will accomplish nothing. I see the efforts of activists brushed off like obnoxious insects by established bodies. At the end of the day, I feel like I have more to lose by caring than by doing anything.

So fuck all of you. Feel free to shit all over this world. I'm going to play on my XBox.


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