January 8, 2013

Why The World Might Actually End

End of the world prophesies and predictions are everywhere these days and each one passes as if nothing changed. And that's because nothing has changed. But I'm beginning to think it's not really that far off.

Our ethics and morals the world over are fucked. This might not come as news for a lot of people, but the part that scares me the most is that we know our ethics and morals are fucked, but we're doing absolutely nothing about it.

We think saving the planet is weak.
Possibly the most important thing for us as a species to be concerned about is the planet we live on because, despite what movies predict, we won't be inhabiting the moon or mars or the space station or anything other than this one planet we have. I mean, maybe in a few thousand years. But not before then, if ever. So it would make sense to recognize that we don't really have a choice but to be good stewards of the planet. It would also be awesome to not be so goddamn self centered and think about what those future generations are going to deal with, but I do realize that's asking a lot. For whatever reason.

Thing is, though, we're not just protecting the planet for our great grandchildren, or our grandchildren, or even our children. We're not getting out of our very own lives without some serious consequences. Not just if we don't start protecting it now. It's already too late. It's very, very likely I'll never see a wild elephant. In a few years they'll be extinct in the wild, and while elephants can be reintroduced into the wild eventually, too much has to change for that to be a viable option. War has ravaged their habitat for decades - that's not just going to stop because elephants need to be reintroduced. The demand for ivory has only been growing (which infuriates me to no end - there truly are no words to describe my anger at a whole generation of people whose frivolous purchases fuel murders and extinctions), and as soon as elephants are back on the market they'll be poached before they can reproduce. We'll also lose the Arctic circle, which means bye-bye polar bears. Because the planet is warming every year the ice will never return, which means reintroduction of anything in that area is impossible.

We blame unpopular victims.
It seems like the whole world has adopted a boys will be boys attitude about how we treat our fellow people. I don't know if I've just been paying more attention the last couple years, but it seems like more and more high profile people are raping and getting away with it. Raping students, raping children, raping and taking pictures. And it's ok, cause no one calls them out. No one punishes them. It's no big deal. 

And you know what we do then? We blame the victim. Woman out at a bar gets raped? Shouldn't have worn whatever it was that she wore. Woman walking home alone gets raped? Shouldn't have been out alone. Woman with her friend on a bus? Shouldn't have had a vagina. Seriously, that's all it is. It should not matter how much the girl was "asking for it" with her clothes or actions or existence. When did simply having a vagina come to mean you are a receptacle for everyone else's whims? Why on earth does it matter what a woman wore to a club on the night she was raped? Why does it matter that she had sex with someone else the night before? Why does it matter that she consented before that one time? Why do we argue whether or not it was rape if she was passed out? Or too drunk to stand? Or she agreed at the bar but changed her mind at home? How desperate do boys have to be to think that all of those situations equal legitimate sex? Are they afraid of rejection? Do they feel entitled because they got her a cab? Do they really believe we ask for it? I used to love wearing overalls when I was a kid (and in high school... shut up, it was cool). But I was told to be careful when wearing them because the back strap was easy to cut with scissors and all a rapist would have to do is yank them down, and it'd be just like I was wearing a skirt. I was literally told I could be raped for wearing overalls.

We tax the poor.
At least in America we argue over who should be taxed and how much everyone should pay. I'm not willing (or able) to get into the details of the tax exemptions that expired at the beginning of the year or how that will affect me and the rest of the country (partially because I haven't seen an effect yet), but I do know that the vast majority of Americans will take home less money right when many of us were thinking we were home free. It's been a true struggle for years for all of us and most people are starting to climb out of the hole we found ourselves in a few years ago. But to now see less of our paychecks? I do know that our economy is not all better just yet - taking more money out of the hands of people who do the buying can't be the best idea. Then again I'm not a politician, so I don't know the nuances of why that's an arguing point. 

But it disturbs me to see our politicians arguing over how to spend the money we do have. Congress argued over relief money for Hurricane Sandy. Excuse me, super storm Sandy. It got downgraded from hurricane to super storm, depriving homeowners from their insurance money. Because they were only insured for hurricane damage, not super storm damage. So the insurance companies are bullshit, and Congress trying to decide whether or not to be good goddamn people and put aside a little extra for a natural disaster is extreme bullshit. I honestly do not understand why, whenever we're talking about the budget and where we're allowed to allocate money, why why why schools and Planned Parenthood and disaster relief and infrastructure are the first things on the chopping block when Congress makes fucking good money for the measly amount of work they do. While their constituents, who they talk about all the goddamn time, work 40 hours a week at at least one job (many work more than that at multiple jobs) to make rent and feed ourselves and our kids, congress members get whole months off and spend their work days bickering and arguing over which of the poor gets money, meanwhile enjoying perks like government cars and phones, and some have even better perks. I don't see why Congress deserves the pay they get. They should receive the same pay as cops and firefighters or at the absolute minimum have penalties that affect their pay whenever they put off doing their jobs.

We argue over the wrong things.
Gun laws have been talked about more than ever since 20 kids were murdered last month. Gun enthusiasts refuse to admit that guns kill people, despite studies and records every year that say otherwise. Guns are more likely to kill someone the owner had no intention of killing than they are of being used for their intended purpose, yet people still want to have them around. In their homes, with their children, cocked and loaded. In fact, politicians are making it easier for those with mental health issues to obtain guns legally and want to make it illegal for physicians and psychiatrists to caution against gun safety

And we're also still arguing whether gays should be allowed to marry. Whether two grown adults who love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives together be allowed to wed gets just as much debate as whether or not mentally unstable people should be allowed to have military style, automatic weapons that cause mass murder. This is utterly ridiculous and says more about our morals and ethics than anything else. 

The world has to be coming to an end. It's 2013 and it feels 200 years earlier.

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