I am a blunderer. Translating meaning into understanding confounds me. Intention transmitted to human receptors through language seems subject to endless distorting filtration. I cannot predict all the synapses and pathways in place for a given human, built through trial and error, experience and patterns, joy and pain, that might distort, filter or pollute one wrong word before the transmission even reaches central processing. I'm meant to convey reassurance without condescension, support without pressure, expression without overwhelming, response without reaction, understanding without judgement, love without expectation, all through external words, tone, and body appearance. I cannot know the map my words will follow once they enter the brain through the auditory nerves, yet I will be judged by the way in which my message is received, not just how I deliver it. No wonder these creatures cannot live together in peace. They already struggle to overcome evolutionary fight or flight programming, and they lack even the basic telepathic abilities that might support common understanding and empathy. Which is why story remains so important.
Humanity is a story-based species that has chosen social and economic paths to deny its own story, deny its members their stories, and treat story as inferior to a limited understanding of "fact." Story has been relegated to low priority, entertainment or "spare time." Humans punish themselves by denying legitimacy to what they most love. Children love comics and hate lines, yet they teach children with lines. Adults love play and hate work, and yet they structure their society to maximize work. So sad.
Humans have forgotten that the only truth is story, and story captures our collective truth. People are drawn to story because it provided the means by which they learned to live together in the first place, the means by which they became the dominant species on this planet. Story creates a collective telepathy to compensate for the lost sense of oneness, the way a blind animal's hearing might improve.
Can humans develop their sense of oneness without the mess religion has made of it? I still think so. Or at least, I haven't stopped hoping. And blundering my way through.
I am biting back tears of frustration. My heart-rate has sped up. I'm flailing my arms in impotent rage.
A woman gave birth in her jail cell. Doesn't sound so bad? How about this. She screamed in agony for nine hours with a breech birth that should have been a C-Section while guards moved her to seclusion so they wouldn't need to listen, and a nurse told her she had indigestion. She wasn't examined, her dilation wasn't observed, no doctor was called, and she was left to suffer. Her son's feet were coming out of her before anyone decided to call an ambulance. The only reason we are even hearing about it is that the woman in question happens to have a mother who still gives a sh*t, which many prisoners would not have, and the Elizabeth Fry Society stepped in to help with a complaint.
I've given birth, twice, in "ideal" conditions. My births were "easy." And I remember the overwhelmingness of the pain, the desperation I felt near the end. What this woman suffered is torture, no better than waterboarding or attaching electrodes to testicles - worse, actually, since they put her life and an innocent life at significant risk in addition to inflicting unnecessary pain and hardship on an already difficult medical issue. The people responsible were not only irresponsible, but deliberately, willfully neglectful. One might even say cruel, pending investigation.
The problem is prison. It dehumanizes caretakers and victims (aka prisoners) alike. We need a comprehensive mental health system to support those who cannot, for whatever reasons, live within the laws of civil society. Prisons don't work. They don't correct, rehabilitate or support. They make people LESS likely to become law-abiding citizens, and they destroy the humanity of people who work as guards, nurses and other roles within them. They create dependent, resentful humans out of people who were already struggling to participate in society. And they create conditions under which abuse is not only possible, but highly likely.
This is one example. Just one of thousands. People are not treated as people. We allow this, every day, and support it through our tax dollars. Stephen Harper is entrenching us even further into this world of incarceration that does not support the goals of rehabilitation. It makes me crazy, mad enough to spit, until I collapse into resignation that HUMANS SUCK and this species will never rise above its nastiest nature. Because most people won't care at all.
And the government response? An investigation, yes, but the statement I heard on CBC was basically, "we're sorry, of course, but these things happen." They don't just happen. They are the result of an entire system of injustice at the tail end of our "justice" system, one that makes nurses deaf to cries, makes guards insensitive to human needs, and reduces humans to mere vessels into which punishment can be poured.
I'm sorry you had a lousy debate. That totally sucks.
You have done more in ten years than most of us could do in ten lifetimes. The thing about people is, no matter how much you do, they will expect more. People expect you to be amazing, all the time, and they will suck everything good right out of you. That's their nature. You had to know that going in, so hopefully you let it slide by now.
Maybe you want to take a minute to remember the big picture. You are a creature of light inhabiting a body, and in this mattering you have become the crux of a decision the Human Species is making about how we want to live together on this planet. You carry the torch of those who stood before and said that every person has an equal share in both responsibility and bounty; that the economic system is meant to support families, not the other way around. You stand for the children and not-yet-arrived who want to live together in a someday-world where no one suffers poverty or discrimination. You are the focal point for this thinking, even when you don't uphold it, even when you twist it to suit what you see as necessary, even when you let your humanity overcome your divinity. Because there is only one alternative, the alternative that says we are entitled to nothing, not even to sovereignty over our own bodies, while Power consolidates at the top of the economic spectrum.
When you allow the debate to be minimized to immediate details, the real debate becomes obscured, trees masking forest. You lose the chance to establish the most important conversation, the one that tries to answer two questions: what is the minimum we owe each other, and what is the maximum anyone should control? There are no easy answers, as you know better than any other human alive on the planet today. That's why we need a real debate. You have another chance. You can be the hero who comes out swinging and wins the day by reminding everyone what really matters.
You have taken on a giant responsibility and more still is asked of you. It must be tempting to look at Bill Clinton and Al Gore, and wish you were gallivanting around spouting big ideas instead of fighting in the mud pit for the right to keep the weight you hold for all of us. I hope you meditate. I hope you do yoga. I hope you have a hardwired connection to the divine that lights and sustains you. I hope you sleep well. I hope you laugh with your wife and daughters. I love you.
You carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. What a life!