Pretending To Care 1/21/2019

Have you ever shaken your head, filled with pity, reflecting for a moment about how awful the world can be?  Then you shrug your shoulders with a laugh, moving on with your day without another thought for those suffering from tragedy?  We try to care, wonder how we might deal with, say, government enforced unemployment, or a hurricane washing your whole town away.  We shudder, shake our heads again, and maybe throw a dollar into the charity bin at a local convenience store.  Sometimes we even talk about it, with a similar awed inflection to a dramatic overtime play that won the game for your favorite team.  “Did you see what happened to those poor people?”  “Awful, just awful.”  You have an awkward moment of silence, unsure if you should change the subject so soon until, “Hey, do you want to get lunch at . . .”


Remember when Melania Trump wore that jacket with a graffiti style scar of words, spelling out, “I Really Don’t Care Do U?”  She was on her way to check out the child detention centers in Texas, where small children had been separated from their parents.  The speculation on the meaning of this message ranged from confusion, to a direct attack on her husband, the President of the United States.


It is important to remember that this was the most heated moments of the Stormy Daniels affair, a tabloid headline about Donald Trump’s infidelity that came across more like a repeat of his life in the 1980s, with a little bit of the Clinton scandal thrown in.  This was a decidedly sleazy embarrassment, Daniels being a modesty successful pornography actress.  She made a point to describe his cock–mushroom shaped, she said, implying that it is unnaturally small, a head on a tiny stalk.


Of course Trump’s supporters denied this allegation, considered it yet another conspiratorial attempt to undermine their president, but I doubt that too many people think that he did not cheated on his wife.  This is something definitely in his character, both in the past and, it seems, perhaps even more now, awash with power, attracting the sort of women even his billions of dollars could not interest before.


Melania certainly seemed to believe it.  Remember her slapping her husband’s hand away?  Do we consider the fact that she is so infrequently by his side?  The subtle little digs she has made from time to time, standing up against internet bullying, while Donald Trump seems to be the most malicious of all trolls.  She is clearly a spiteful women who has no real problem humiliating people for their sins.


But consider the timing of her decision to wear this message.  This was, and remains, one of the major issues of the Trump presidency–immigration, illegal and otherwise.  Children shoved into cages like particularly distasteful inmates.  This is, of course, not to say the all (or even most) of the federal agents responsible for those children are unsympathetic, nor do not try to make this terrifying moment slightly less horrible for them.  But that could never do any good.  Picture it for yourself: you are eight years old.  You are running away with your mother from some terrifying reality and, blindly attempting to find safety in a new land, border security agents grab your mother and then you, separate you, and lock you into sullen outposts with other frightened and desperate people.  If you are older, or know something about world history, how could you not consider the treatment of the Jews during World War II?  And even though there are no gas chambers, no real slave labor (that might be a question more for those that make it into the nation), it is still a hopelessly uncertain time.


Do we really care?  Sure, some of us certainly do.  Some politicians are sincere in trying to affect the issue, on either side.  But most of them simply stir the pot, pulling up both tragic and hideous examples, depending on their party’s inclination.  You can have a sick little boy dying, or a mother kept from seeing her child over the final days of their life.  Or you might have some thug, a character trying to literally be Tony Montana from Scarface (which, recall, is about an immigrant who is deported from his homeland of Cuba during the Reagan administration, when battling Communism was far more of an issue than allowing anti-Communists from all over the world into the nation)–a monstrous human being who literally goes on a raping spree, or murders people, or kidnaps children to sell into sexual slavery.  Both sides are very convincing, and both sides are exploiting the matter when most of the people in question are merely hopeful, seeing The United States of America as the Land of Opportunity it once upon a time promoted itself as.  They only see a new life.  Many will fail.  Perhaps a handful will make the world a slightly better place.


But do we care?  For all the expressed sympathy, let us admit, nearly all of us do nothing about it.  We might post some derisive opinion about the side we disagree with, and experience a moment or two of self-righteous indignation, but all that is more divisive chatter, heating people up to shout more and more and more.  And both sides of the issue do nothing–nothing!


I care about the issue, I really do, but also do nothing.  I vote a certain way.  I talk a certain way.  I even, sometimes, hope and predict certain things that support my point of view.  But that’s about it.  I do not travel there, or offer food, or even give money other than the handful of change stuffed into a tin box.  Most of my charity, frankly, goes to save the animals organizations, from homeless elderly dogs, to the near extinction of some the black rhino.  And this makes me feel like I am doing something, although I have no way of knowing if this is actually true.  When the next black rhino dies, did I simply waste my money?


We really don’t care, not really.  We can talk and talk and rant and rave and scream into the bilious cloud of anger and rage surrounding all of our issues, and come to realize that all these genuine feelings dissipate in the distraction of what the other side keeps saying and presumably think.  It shows us to be pretty shallow people.  And so I wonder: if “I Don’t Care, Do U?”

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