During my self-imposed sabbatical from my blog, I don't wish to deprive others of my daily verbal fodder (like I did yesterday, so sorry). So, I'm re-running one of my old favorites. Following is a post that I wrote on November 23, 2007, shortly after I started writing this blog. It still sings.
Indifference is a disease that kills. It kills the spirit; it kills marriages; it kills people; it kills Mother Nature; it kills the critical thinker that I try to believe dwells somewhere in all of us; it will take us down as a society faster than (*ahem*) Weapons of Mass Destruction. Indifference is a cancer that begins as a small, dull ache, and ignored, works its way through to destroy the entire body. Indifference fostered the Holocaust. Indifference pollutes the air we breathe, and turns babbling streams into wasteland. It's a big, bad, evil, "muthah" of a disease, and we all have it to some extent.
There is nothing harder than the softness of indifference.
~Clare Boothe Luce
Fortunately, there is a cure for indifference. It's a nifty new drug called Righteous Indignation. That's right... anger. While anger is normally seen as a bad emotion, or even as a useless emotion, when processed and used in an informed and constructive manner, it's often the only tool that works. It shakes up apathy; it's causal to reaction; it can't be ignored. Think about it: you're drinking your morning bean, perusing the sports section, mind wandering to mundane daily tasks, when suddenly you hear a loud, angry voice complaining that there's too much foam on their latte. Whether you agree with that person's anger or cause, they've got your attention - they've pulled you from your safe little newsprint world, at least for a moment.
Lately, I've been looking into the hollow eyes of people I meet, people who are only concerned with the next work day, the next bill to pay, the next meal, the next little league game, the next thing to come on TV. I've talked to people who shrug and say, "Ah, what can ya do? Oh well." I want to grab them by the nostrils, bowling ball style, and drag them kicking and screaming (because kicking and screaming would be better than that apathetic pallor, y'know?) into the sunlight. I want to do like Bud did to Lindsey in The Abyss - smack them hard across the face, and shout, "Fight! Right now! Do it! Fight goddammit! Fight!"
Recently, I had a friend let loose in an email rant about the shitty circumstances that are currently reigning o'er his life, and then apologize to me for ranting. I had to go alpha on him for apologizing. People - stop apologizing for feeling what you feel! We're all so caught up in our politically correct cocoons that we're afraid to say anything for fear of offending someone. I mean, are you kidding?! Even if it's directed right at me, I'd much rather hear someone screaming and cursing than to hear desultory resignation in their voice. For fuck's sake - yes, yes, yes! Thrash in the waves, don't just drown! While at first the thrashing might seem futile and fruitless, eventually, maybe, you thrash just the right way and learn to swim. Regardless, what's there to lose? Die trying.
Please, don't be indifferent about the events in your life, about the people in your life, about the crises of the world, about the dying of the land. Get indignant. Be a righteous dude (or dudette). Hey, I understand fully the feeling of, "who am I and what could I possibly do to change anything? After all, I can barely decide which socks to wear." Begin from within. Move your self, your perceptions, your reactions. Helen Keller said, “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
Exact Change Only. I challenge you.