PaM's OWN 1. On GUILT
Everytown USA sent me a survey to fill out, which was a very thinly disguised appeal for money and time to fight the f@&#ing NRA, which I even started to fill out until I realized that by sending it in, even without money or a commitment I would be kicked on to an even more exclusive list of the fishables and would be hounded, ever so politely but firmly and endlessly with appeals to you, my guilty conscience.
Instead, I threw it out, and sat down to write this note to you, to remind you that I firmly believe, even more than I believe in the inherent, necessary goodness of Planned Parenthood; the pressing need to counteract the devastation of human activities that create climate change; the urgency of the call for resources to help survivors of domestic abuse and to rescue and rehabilitate the victims of the scourge of human trafficking; the right of every companion animal to find its loving forever family; the exigency of donating to Hillary or Bernie to ward off the Reign of Terror that will result should the RWNJs control all three branches of government, which will end, no doubt a la Dr. Strangelove, with Donald Trump waving his toupee instead of a cowboy hat, as he himself rides the bomb that will destroy whatever country made fun of his illusion of being a statesman instead of a blowhard simpleton, who thinks money and bluster buys the respect of people who will never in a million years respect you no matter how many billions you claim to own; the wonder of HONY, and its crowd sourcing miracles that raise millions in hours for people who are SO GOOD; the imperative that I accept that my good life is a result of white privilege even as I battle the misogyny that I should refuse to accept as part of living, which even as a white CIS woman, I face even though it’s nothing compared to the suffering of poor women, white and of color, LBGTQ/Trans folk anywhere on the continuum; yes, even as much as I believe in all these, I believe even more firmly, that acting out of guilt never did much good in the long run.
I don’t believe in guilt. I don’t believe anyone deserves anything good, or bad. Maybe there is karma, maybe we’re just telling the story backward, though, trying to explain stuff that just can’t be explained, like why for example, one person has a cough for three years, and finally gets an xray and is told it’s probably acid reflux and another person has a cough for two weeks, gets an xray and is told it’s stage 4 lung cancer that’s already shown up in brain cells. So no, despite being raised in a pre Vatican 2 Sicilian American family, and living for most of my adult life in the liberal bastions of the Ivory Tower, which actually produce guilt by the METRIC tonne (why can’t we be more like the good parts of Europe, I ask you? ) I don’t believe in guilt, and therefore I don’t believe in you.
Or do I? I am writing this letter after all, so there’s that. Ok, I get a nagging feeling sometime- oh I don’t believe in nagging either, but that’s another letter- that I should do more than cultivate my garden Merci, Francois Marie pour cette pensee Yes I read Candide, part of my privileged upbringing that put me in contact with schools and libraries, although I have to admit until just this minute I thought Voltaire was his last name, and it took Wikipedia to inform me that that it was Arouet , and Voltaire was a pen name, maybe I didn’t take as much advantage of my education as I should have, so what? in any case, that I should do more than make myself happy and try not to make things around me worse, whatever that might be but I really don’t know how to do that without guilt and its attendants, resentment and self-righteousness, and I don’t feel inclined at this stage of my life to even try.
So back off, I don’t need the aggravation. I threw out that damn, but worthwhile and really necessary survey and that’s that. I forgive myself and I’m moving on. If I can do something with an open heart I will but that’s all I’ll commit to. The world is pretty messed up, but there’s nice things, too. I suggest you focus on those more.
PS, I also realize that who knows what’s around the bend and all personal hell could break lose in a heartbeat, but then I can at least say I was a grateful recipient of the gifts I had while I had them. No thanks to you BTW