On Learning Not to Look Away

Bat For Lashes – Prescilla

I thought he was cute until he opened his mouth. Spurting out slick opinions on the merits of capitalism, the ridiculousness of socialism. He makes me feel stupid even as I point out the fallacies in his argument, his wide generalizations and stunted vision. Maybe I am an idealist, after all. Maybe I believe a world can exist that doesn’t focus its priorities on profit over people. Maybe I don’t believe in a hierarchy of worth that applies to human bodies.

I sit in the staff room on my lunch break surrounded by older white women. Dick Cheney comes on the T.V. attempting to undermine the presidency. I feel anger rising in my throat with every lie the dick throws out nonchalantly at his audience. Guantanamo Bay. I can’t pretend to know it all, the details, but I know enough to be enraged. Around me, the women do what we all do best and look away. They pick up their conversation about dog-training and supermarkets, again.

Why can’t we find the courage to look our horrors in the eye and acknowledge what we’ve done? What we have allowed to occur? Why is it so damn difficult to change? How can we live these perfectly average lives and willingly blind ourselves to the suffering surrounding us?

I don’t have the answers, so I just write:

They say we must take the good

with the bad

as if the good comes prepackaged

that way, the joy,

stitched & stuffed & branded

by pregnant teenagers in another world

who give birth under their

sewing machines

accidentally wiping the bad on

the edges of our commercialized


unable on eighty-five cents an hour

to afford it themselves.


4 thoughts on “On Learning Not to Look Away”

    1. Let me know when you think of it, I would be curious to find out.

      And thanks, really, you think so? I always have attacks of nerves before I post something decidedly new to my blog.

  1. I find that most people have very low expectations of the world so that they can manage to fit the concept inside their brain, make rational, ‘objective’ opinions about it. So that being confronted to such a huge concept, they can place themselves somewhere and not be asked to do difficult things. Hope for difficult things.

    Sometimes I wonder if I don’t like living in Paris because I can’t understand people perfectly (working on that french thing, ha) and so I am not disappointed. Don’t ever stop being an idealist; for me, it’s more about the idea half of the word. I think resigning yourself to things is a fast way to become numb to both ends of a continuum.

    (the u.s is especially funny in dealing with morality- there is a definite openness about some things to the point of caricature, but it’s more MAKE NOISE than make change, you know? everything becomes normalized…even ‘disapproval’, or the norm of never approving of anything absolutely. I got scared by the attitude in the states when I lived there, in the bush days. Lots of running, doing, action ACTION action but no thought, and it felt like being surrounded by chickens with their heads cut off, still trying to go, but hitting, hitting that wall, only cognizant of the act of DOING and not what.)

  2. I can’t speak for most people, but as a relatively informed American, I appreciate that we have the right to voice our opinions, but I also recognize that as a civilian, I don’t necessarily have the authority to speak on most issues. I’m not sure that’s properly articulated, as obviously ‘we the people’ are the foundation of democracy, but I also think that we must recognize that (even despite the move toward transparency) the public does not have security clearance and probably doesn’t know all that we wish to.

    Just saying–Devil’s advocate is my middle name. šŸ™‚

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