Don’t Look Away

In which RVA demands discomfort…

Weekly, I sit down to write a blog post.

Weekly, I try to think of something fun and engaging to say.  But it always turns into a struggle.  Life is pretty fully right now.  Lots of day-jobbing, lots of writing (and frustratingly little publishing), lots of life.  But outside of all of that, there’s also a metric ton of nightmare.  Shootings have become so frequent, we have more than there are days of the year.  Deportations, concentration camps, mass raids, so on.  And that isn’t even addressing that rampant disregard of climate change, which feels like playing Russian Roulette with five rounds.

I don’t have anything pithy to say.  I wish I did.  Some of my peers feel it is their responsibility is to distract from these horrors.  They feel that their obligation, their role, is to help give people a surcease.  This much horror takes its toll, on those living through it but also those forced to watch it.  Afterall, we might be able to call some elected officials or donate some money to a given cause, but unless we’re prepared to take up armed resistance, there really isn’t all that much ordinary citizens can do.

I understand their view but I don’t concur.  Horrors become normalized by not acknowledging the horror.  We pretend a monster isn’t a monster, just an ordinary thing.  We accept it as part and parcel of the day and move on.  We cease reacting to it.  That can’t be allowed.  We can’t look at government-implemented kidnappings and say ‘that stinks, so I’m going to turn away from it’.  We have to look at it.  We have to stare it down.  We have to focus on it and refuse to give attention anywhere else.

We must make these horrors centerpieces in discussions.  We have to keep the attention on them, so that those who have power to actually do something about them will in fact do something about them.  We have to create pressure and keep pressure on policy makers.  And that can only happen if we keep the ire and the fear and the disgust ever-present and fixed in our minds.  Yes, it takes a toll, but this is a fight.  A fight is ugly and it takes a toll.

This fight can take our energy to win, or it can take our soul if we give up.

I refuse for it to take our soul.

Author: Robert V Aldrich

Author. Speaker. Cancer Researcher. Martial Artist. Illustrator. Cat dad. Nerd.

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