I just don't know how to care anymore.
Before 11 September, I cared. I was involved in the Green Party, I was working with social justice related groups on campus, I cared about all the popular issues. I had been to the protests of the inauguration of President Bush, I was planning to attend the World Bank and International Monetary Fund protests at the end of September, I was going to attend the SOA protest in the middle of November.
I was not just interested for the fun of the protest. I cared about the issues. I talked with people. I gathered petitions, put up flyers, raised awareness - I did what I could without interfering with my schoolwork too much. And it all felt so noble.
Then 11 September came and went. If anything, it made me more focused on the issues. I saw how the world was reacting to the United States' foreign policy, and I knew that something had to change. (1) Working harder on the issues I cared about seemed to be the right thing at the time. At least it was better than sitting around and being depressed.
Since then, it has been harder and harder to get people to care about anything except the killing of the terrorists. At first, I was vocal in my opposition to the war (2) and the killing of civillians in Afghanistan. I questioned why we were only opposed to acts of terrorism commited on American soil, while we trained terrorists from Central and South America. I questioned a lot of the United States policy. I questioned how we were able to support Israel.(3) I questioned the embargo on Iraq. I questioned a lot, in an non-confrontational manner. I asked questions, tried to get people to listen, tried to get them to understand that kiling people is bad, even if they live outside the US, and even if their deaths are but indirect results of the actions of the country.
I just don't know how do deal with it anymore. After being called a traitor so many times, it gets to you. After being told that you deserved to die at the World Trade Center, or in Afghanistan, it starts to get to you. After hearing (and I have heard this more than anything else) that you are as bad as the terrorists because you feel sympathy for the civillians starving in Afghanistan, you start to wonder why you even try. You wonder why you even bother to talk to anyone.
People tell me, if I am so disgusted by these things, that I should leave the country. And I consider that, briefly, and realize the reason why I have not done that yet is because I care so much about this country. I love my country - this is why I care so much, why I put so much energy into doing things that I believe will make this a better place. I believe that so much is possible - with work it is possible.
It seems that questioning anything related to government policy these days is seen by many as unAmerican. I care about so many issues, but what can I do when it seems that calling attention to an issue makes the perception of the issue worse? What can I do when people think less of everything that is not pro-war? What can I do?
Then, this morning, an airplane crashes in New York City. How can anyone deal with things like this anymore? I cry when I am reminded of mass deaths anywhere, as a result of the actions of others or our own government. I just don't know how to deal with it all.
How can we care only about dead Americans? How can we all but ignore crash of a Russian airplane over the Black Sea? How can we ignore the 5000+ civillians dying each month as a result of the embargo on Iraq? Why does it only matter when Americans die?
It is just too much work to be vocal about anything anymore. I feel extreme sympathy for the families of everyone who died this morning, and for the families of everyone who has died everwhere. I just don't have the energy to be vocal about it anymore. The pain of the death of others hurts too much - can't deal with the pain inflicted by others.
People die outside the United States. Perhaps, in the future, Americans will be able to accept and deal with this.
1. I am no longer sure that this is a result of US foreign policy - I am relatively sure that it is motivated by other things. However, I still have major issues with much of our policy.
2. I am a pacifist - my opposition is not specific to this war, but to war in general.
3. To clarify: I do not support Palestine, nor do I support Israel - I belive both "states" are behaving in a disgusting, irresponsible manner, each in it's own ways, and I cannot support either. My problem with Israel, and my reason for mentioning it, is that the United States provides support in it's conflict with Palestine. I would feel the same way if the roles were reversed.