Sunday, September 12, 2010

Politics vs. Human Decency

I've been observing I find odd of late, and thinking about it for a while. And what I think I'm seeing is people mistaking two categories that intersect; those categories being “politics” and “human decency.” I say they intersect, because human decency is apparently lacking in some individuals for whatever reason, and it tends to take legislation to enact it. This, of course, goes far beyond the 14th Amendment.

Why would this bother me? Because I keep seeing magicians, who often seem to regard themselves as Agents of Liberty, saying crazy shit. So far this year I've seen magicians:

  • Justify the lack of health coverage for those that can't afford it on the basis of their taxes. (Seriously? You're afraid of losing some... money? Over someone's welfare?)

  • Discuss the horror of Islamic Fundamentalism while neglecting to mention the various factors that led that segment of the Islamic world to turn its eyes towards the United States. I suppose it's just too much to ask why someone might want you dead?

  • Justify torture in regards to terrorism. No, really. But to be fair: it was a magician who's pretty much a fascist. So I probably shouldn't be surprised.

I could go on, but I won't. And I'm not going to start taking screen-shots whenever I see something stupid on Facebook, because I'd end up with too many screen-shots, too quickly. My point is this: if you're doing it, stop.

If you're seeing things that make you uneasy, then don't divert from the topic. Don't bring up something equally atrocious, but off topic. Don't justify evil due to another evil act. That's childish. “He did it first!”

Human decency works like this: everyone has worth. This worth is not in dollar bills, and all human life has infinitely more worth than your wallet. The tendency to politicize human decency diverts us from the actual topic at hand. The fact that people exploit systems diverts us from the topic at hand. Human decency remains regardless of that, and regardless of any desire to stop that exploitation. Any and every system will be exploited. Its inevitable. The question is whether or not the system meets the demands of the populace; if it does not, it needs to be reformed on the basis of meeting those demands. Not to tighten the measure against exploitation, as that happens as a byproduct of the reform itself.

The “unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports in the last update as to our economic position in terms of employment statistics. The “number of unemployed persons is 14.9 million.”

I want you to take a moment to reflect on those statistics. They're relevant to our present as American citizens. We've got around 1 in 10 folks without a job. (No, I am not one of those. Though slow months feel like it.) Black or African Americans are sitting at 15.2% unemployed. Hispanics are looking at a 13% unemployment ratio.

Human decency means that your response to this had better not be “laziness.” They can't all be lazy, when you walk through your city's downtown area and see rows upon rows of empty windows; a small army of homeless individuals, and (living in Sacramento) an endless array of white people with brief-cases and white Nikes ignoring them. I'm pretty sure that a third of them are Lobbyists, too.

Human decency isn't political, and liberation isn't political. And excuses don't work if you claim that that's your end goal.


V.V.F. said...

You'd think that basic humanism would come naturally to most magicians. Right?

Lycan said...

Loved this post! Far too often decency is reserved for those who look, walk, talk, act and dress like us. It's a shame. This might be one of my favorite posts, and I vote that it appearson Gordon's What wizards taught me.

The Scribbler said...

When I pass homeless people on the street, I often repeat to myself, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." The borderline between being economically secure and in deep shit is all too thin to look down on those less fortunate. If you can't imagine the few random events that could pull the financial carpet out from under your feet, then don't have much imagination. Before WWII, lots of educated, middle-class white people in Germany never imagined they could be homeless and impoverished until the bombs started dropping. The winds of fate can change direction at a moment's notice.

I take nothing for granted, and thank the universe every day for everything I have.

petoskystone said...

people who proclaim that the homeless/jobless are lazy haven't tried finding enough work to keep a roof over their heads. it might help if people would look upon themselves as citizens of earth above all else.

Rose Weaver said...

This post should be an eye opener for everyone. As The Scribbler said, "The borderline between being economically secure and in deep shit is all too thin to look down on those less fortunate."

It is far too easy to believe, "It can't happen to me." However, it can. Through no fault of our own, we can end up in major financial crisis due to unexpected ill health, the loss of our high paying job, etc, and find ourselves in a situation where we are less than an inch away from living on the street and depending upon government services for health care and subsistence. The fact one may be a Sorcerer makes no difference. We can do what we can to avoid such things, but we cannot control the actions of others, nor can we always control all major health issues... and the list goes on.

We do the best we can with the hand we are dealt and move on. It has been my experience that your observation regarding Human Decency is right on target.

Gordon said...

You're awesome, Jack.

That is all.

Harold Roth said...

It was good to read this. Sometimes I get pretty fed up with the meanness of people who have enough towards those who don't. The area where I live has been devastated for a couple decades, since manufacturing up and left. The only ones wearing Nikes around here are the gangbangers who fly in from NYC to drop off their wares. I thank the gods every single day that I have my little business to support me. We live in tough times that will get tougher, IMO. I think we can expect to see more and more meanness, and that carried out into actions as well.