This will go right over their heads, of course.
If the victims of Mr Obama’s drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human. The people who operate the drones, Rolling Stone magazine reports, describe their casualties as “bug splats”…
Newtown victims? Tragedy. Drone victims in Pakistan? Meh, whatever.
What makes this a good thing for America, and really, the rest of the world, is that once conservatives are fully engulfed in the bubble of right-wing ideology, something remarkable happens: They forget. They forget they’re in a bubble. They forget to hide their hatred of blacks. They forget to hide their disgust for strong, independent women. They forget to pretend they’re against abortion when really they want women to suffer for having sex. Basically, they forget to act like decent human beings.
I’m sorry, but this is not conservatism. This is just atavistic fuckwittery.
Once you grasp the concept of privileged distress, you’ll see it everywhere: the rich feel “punished” by taxes; whites believe they are the real victims of racism; employers’ religious freedom is threatened when they can’t deny contraception to their employees; English-speakers resent bilingualism — it goes on and on.
And what is the Tea Party movement other than a counter-revolution? It comes cloaked in religion and fiscal responsibility, but scratch the surface and you’ll find privileged distress: Change has taken something from us and we want it back.
Confronting this distress is tricky, because neither acceptance nor rejection is quite right. The distress is usually very real, so rejecting it outright just marks you as closed-minded and unsympathetic. It never works to ask others for empathy without offering it back to them.
At the same time, my straight-white-male sunburn can’t be allowed to compete on equal terms with your heart attack. To me, it may seem fair to flip a coin for the first available ambulance, but it really isn’t. Don’t try to tell me my burn doesn’t hurt, but don’t consent to the coin-flip.
The Owldolatrous approach — acknowledging the distress while continuing to point out the difference in scale — is as good as I’ve seen. Ultimately, the privileged need to be won over. Their sense of justice needs to be engaged rather than beaten down. The ones who still want to be good people need to be offered hope that such an outcome is possible in this new world.
As the author points out, a tricky balance, but really, the only tenable response. The fact that we’ll all fall short from time to time just makes re-commitment that much more important.
While doing surveillance on selected First Nations, the RCMP unit also assessed the “unique opportunities for civil disobedience” in 2010. According to the report, the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Paralympics and torch relays, and the G20 summit in Toronto could be “leveraged by Aboriginal communities and groups who support Aboriginal issues to draw attention to outstanding issues and grievances” and to “garner national and international attention.
No shit, Sherlock. They might use a high-profile international event to try and draw attention to their concerns? Colour me gobsmacked.
You just can’t buy insights like that. And here we were thinking they’re not much good for anything beyond tasering immigrants to death at airports.