Monday, April 23, 2007

In Which I Take Notice Of The Larger World Around Me

I am learning some things about myself these days, and one of the things I am learning is that I have a large Inner Bitch. Now, I don't let that IB out very often, because in addition to having the Inner Bitch, I am also a Professional Good Girl. I am a Compromiser who always Tries To See The Other Person's Viewpoint. Pathetically, I am so good at seeing that other viewpoint that I fail to see my own.

Today, though, I am seeing some point to my Inner Bitch--and it's a good one. Because when I listen to my Inner Bitch, I can process those feeling and then move on to something that is better and more noble and I can feel proud of myself, rather than simply being worried that the muzzle on the Inner Bitch might snap.

So, I happened to see some of the Today show today, and they were airing footage from Virginia Tech. Today was the first day of classes after the terrible shootings of last week. Because television is primarily a visual medium, we were treated to several lingering moments of college girls sobbing. And the Inner Bitch let out a howl.

IB: Because, you know, 32 people dead at a school in America is a national tragedy that we spend a week obsessing over and wringing our hands over and we need to know all the names of all the victims and when all their viewings and funerals are because IT'S NOT LIKE WE ARE IN A WAR AND KILLING 3 TO 4 TIMES THAT MANY PEOPLE EVERY DAY IN IRAQ!

Good Girl wades in to calm the situation: Now, be fair. Just because they are showing this doesn't mean that they aren't also covering the war. This is important too.

IB: You mean that American lives are more important to the viewers than Iraqi lives, don't you?

GG: No, I don't. I just think that. . .

IB: Because Americans are dying in Iraq too. And we DON'T see a week's worth of responses to their deaths, with the information about their viewings and funerals. Because if we reacted to their deaths the same way, we'd be responsible for doing something to end this war. . .

IB and GG: . . .which is really the reason I am so crabby about this. Not that the VT situation is being overly dramatized, but because the war is NOT. And those deaths are just as sudden and just as tragic and just as important. . .and there are MORE of them with no end in sight. The Virginia Tech shooter took his own life and ended the killing. What about Iraq?

And that's the real question, for me. If I don't listen to the Inner Bitch, I am left with a cynical, jaded and basically snotting feeling of contempt and superiority that I try to squelch. Somewhere in my head a voice is saying "Why are those kids crying--they should just suck it up because their loss is nothing compared to war losses in Iraq." And there I sit, judging those poor sad and scared kids harshly, and feeling like a shit about it.

But, when I let my guard down and listen to the whole of what my Inner Bitch is trying to say, I hear that my anger sparks against those kids, but is really directed toward the larger injustice, and that raises my compassion for humanity all the way around.

Except toward the architects of the war in Iraq.

Maybe the theory needs more work.

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