Saturday, October 27, 2018

This Taco Costume is Just a Distraction

We should get one thing straight before we proceed. At my core, I am a total Debbie Downer. There is a place for lightness and fun even in the worst of times, but in the best of times I don't stop thinking about things that have gone wrong and how we might change things to be better, kinder, less...deadly.

So I tried on a taco costume, and it was funny. I bought a lot of flavors of M&M's (try the mint and pretzel together, I urge you). I went to Target and Trader Joe's multiple times.

And pipe bombs were put in the mail.

And two people were shot dead at a Kroger just because they are Black.

And children continue to starve in Yemen.

And a man shot up a synagogue during a baby naming ceremony.

I cannot forget these things, no matter how many costumes I try on or M&M's I stuff into my gaping maw of a mouth. I never stop caring that these things are happening, and while I do not think it is wrong to experience joy in these silly, simple things, I always return to thinking about what I can do to help.

I know I cannot change all these things, but it is terribly important to me to do my bit to make things better. I believe in preserving the dignity of each human being, and I believe we have power in our hands to effect change. These times can feel hopeless, as if there's nothing we can do. But that's not true. There is something - more than one something.

Many of us can vote, and we can choose to vote not in our own interests, but in service of the greatest amount of good for the most people. Let's stop thinking about how policies will affect us personally, but instead how they will affect those most in need of help. November 6 is approaching quickly, US friends. Make your vote count for those who are hurting, who are marginalized, who are watching their children die in the name of faulty alliances.

We can help others directly. If someone needs something they cannot obtain themselves, we can give it to them. There are so many people who are unable to feed themselves and their families - we can give food, but we can also give money. Many people say not to give money to homeless people, but I think that it's ok sometimes. I think it is demeaning and dehumanising to assume that the money is going to feed an addiction. Use your discretion, and make the kindest possible choice. If in doubt, ask people what they want and need.

We can use our voices to speak the truth kindly but plainly. We can remind others - and in the process remind ourselves - of the importance of choosing the preservation of others' lives and wellbeing above the preservation of our own comfort. This is what I am doing now, obviously. Because even though I think of these things most of the time, I need the reminder too.

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