The fun post I wrote about video games will be up next week. It would have felt weird to go through with my usual goofy schtick after the events of this weekend.
I am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but consider myself very supportive. I believe in tolerance and open-mindedness and it truly hurts to see events like this happen that make me question the whole notion of progress.
I am not here to relay what happened - I'm sure you already know - I am not here to present a call to action - plenty of other great people with more knowledge on these very important subjects can speak more eloquently on this than I can.
But I want to cohere some of my scattered thoughts together and this seems like a good platform for that.
Here we go
I will admit that I feel apprehensive about writing any more than I already have. I am a straight white man; the worst persecutions I've had in my life were for being a nerdy kid and that is absolutely nothing compared to what millions - billions probably - have to face day to day.
But fuck it. This is my blog - if there's anywhere I can talk, it's here and by god, I am going to talk.
There is so much unnecessary hate and violence in this world; in 2016 there are many parts of the globe where being a woman who has the gall to have an opinion can be a death sentence, and here in America we like to think we're better than that. And then some rapist gets sentenced to six-months in prison because he has a chance at being an Olympic swimmer, or some self-righteous bigot with a gun and no ability to understand that the human race is a beautiful and diverse spectrum where people find happiness in ways unique from anyone else goes out and crucifies an entire limb of the body of humanity because that happiness infringes on values they hold so dear that it is worth killing for and it makes me want to throw things.
I have so much hope for people, but I really question if it is misplaced. I want to believe that love is the strongest force and that hate may burn and rage in the short term but it will always peter out and let love reign. But the history of humanity is littered with wretched, hate-fueled tragedies and it makes me wonder...
The human population is so unbelievably large - I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the number "Seven Billion," 7,000,000,000, a seven followed by nine zeros, 7x10^9, seven billion seconds is equivalent to over 220 years, a billion less than the GDP of India... no matter how I slice it, my monkey-derived brain just sits and drools in attempting to understand how large this number is. Dunbar's number is around 150 - the number of people the average person can maintain meaningful relationships with. Through the internet, television, radio and other forms of media we can come into contact with that number manifold. But humans have a tendency towards confirmation bias, meaning that the oodles more people we can be potentially exposed to tends to be the oodles that we generally agree with. But the number of people we are ever directly exposed to in any meaningful way is a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of seven billion.
All that spouting is build-up for me saying - it is very likely that there are substantial communities in the world you have never interacted with and probably never will. You may hear about these communities from members of your like-minded community, but you may never actually meet many people outside of it, and if you do it is probably a skewed idea of what that community is actually like. This man - I don't even know his name, I've been avoiding it - clearly had a skewed view of the LGBTQ+ community, and if the tweets of some high-profile politicians are anything to go by, so do they.
So do way too fucking many people. I am sick and tired of seeing headlines about the trans people of color body count, the people who bring guns into bathrooms to defend themselves from said transgender people, and the stupid fucking mental health and terrorist rhetoric that is brought up every goddamn time a mass shooting happens that avoids the real issue of how guns are way too easy to get a hold of in this country and even a man who was on an FBI watchlist could get one.
The sad fact is is that the way human social structures work does not lend itself well to understanding those who are perceived to be different. It is this lack of ability to understand that leads to systemic oppression, genocide, war, slavery and so on and so forth. Humans are not wired to understand "the other;" there is very good evidence that Homo Sapiens committed ethnic cleansing towards other ancient human species; the Neanderthals didn't evolve into us, they were already there, living their hunter-gatherer lives in Northern Europe when Homo Sapiens rolled in with their bigger brains and killed them all. Ancient humans didn't live in harmony with nature; they broke the species of plant and animal they found in each new region until they conformed to their needs.
I want to believe that the internet is a game-changer, but again, humans aren't built to understand "the other." Various communities and identities on the internet are for all intents and purposes separate and isolated from each other because of our human tendency towards only really interacting with those who think and believe similar things to ourselves. The only chance of something new breaking through is generally limited to a few distant Facebook friends, and even then, when you see something that challenges a notion you hold - regardless of whether it is entirely off-base of completely valid - how often do you click that link? If you're like me, not very often. If you do - do you do it because you already know it's going to make you mad and you have already decided you are going to look for holes to poke in whatever argument is being made? I do that too; way more times than I would like. We are built to pre-judge and fighting that instinct not easy.
And yet, in spite of all that, I still believe in the power of people to open their minds to new ways of thinking and to new perspectives. On the macro level, everything looks fucked up and like constant warfare, but on the micro human-to-human level...
I've seen people change. I've seen people express beliefs I never would have dreamed them to express just years before. I have seen people grow from closed-off, scared people who barely knew themselves into power-houses that are open and finally know who they are.
I have changed. Between now and when I started college, I have - I would like to think - become a more understanding human being. I have learned to listen and withhold judgment (let's just ignore the fact that I'm doing a long, wordy, ranty op-edy thing for a second :D). I have changed opinions I once held deeply. I have learned that I am not my opinions, that my opinions are disposable tools that should be thrown out for better ones as I am proven wrong.
I have seen friendships and love maintained across all sorts of boundaries of belief and identity.
The news may be bad; and this weekend it was very bad; but there is hope. I've seen it unfold in front of my eyes over and over again.
Your regularly scheduled programming of Silly Drew will be back next week. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.