(written last night after watching motercycle diaries)
Tonight I realized my worst enemy: Apathy.
See, that’s the problem. Apathy disguises itself as being acceptable. It’s okay to not care because at least you’re not doing whatever horrible thing someone else is doing. You are just living your life; No crime in that. Besides, how can you possibly be expected to think that the solution to impossible situations has something to do with you? You are one person. One person caring is equal to nobody caring. That is what I tell myself.
Come to think of it, I tell myself lots of things.
I tell myself that if I really researched the war in Iraq, and learned about the injustice of it all, it wouldn’t matter anyways because everybody knows one person can’t stop a speeding train.
I tell myself that if I stopped supporting companies like Walmart and Starbucks that are sending third world country’s villages into economic destitution while their corporate executives lean back contentedly in their leather office chairs, that won’t stop anybody else from shopping there. So I might as well take advantage of better-tasting coffee and cheaper electronics.
I tell myself that supporting a compassion child would be great if I had a steady income. It would be awesome to pay for a kid’s medical needs and education, but that would make it a little harder for me to go to the movies when I feel like it and keep my shoe collection going.
I tell myself that AIDS in Africa is a real shame. It’s terrible that so many people die everyday from a disease which they do not know how to contain and prevent. It’s a good thing Bono cares about it but he’s a celebrity so he can do something. More power to him.
I tell myself that it’s too bad there are elderly people who are suffering from our Medicare system in the US. Good thing I’m still young and don’t have to worry about that for a while.
I tell myself that, after all, racism has diminished in America. While I go on living blissfully ignorant of it in white suburbia.
I tell myself that it’s unfortunate when people are without homes and sleep in the streets, even during the winter. Even ten minutes away from my house. But then I tell myself that giving money to them will probably support some addiction and that if I can find a job, they should be able to. And I never think twice about the blessing of a roof over my head.
I am reminded of a haunting quote from the film “Hotel Rwanda”. In the midst of genocide, someone asks why America is not coming to the aid of Africa. Another replies, they’ll see it on the evening news, look up, and say, “How awful”. Then they’ll go back to eating their dinner.
Too often I have pointed the finger at “them”. “The Man”.
Living in a third world country is starting to make me reconsider.