Friday, July 31, 2015

The Accessibility of Outrage Instead of Relating; Animal Rights Over Civil Rights?

I think it is easier for people to feel outrage about harm to 'defenseless'-without-obvious-'voice'-without-actual-rights animals then it is to relate to that also being true about violence to fellow human beings, as evidenced by the outpouring of outrage over the killing of a lion by some no name Minnesota doctor recently.

One, we make stuffed animals to engender positivity and compassion toward animals. Second, our human society has learned to objectify and see each other as alien and different from one another. This increases the divide and lack of empathy we feel for our shared common humanity.

Outrage can be compounded by social media and the 24/7 cable news wash cycle. Pictures of dead animals, bellicose language about the Middle East, wars against Christmas and other religions flood the screens whenever possible. The endless parade of celebrity gossip, political scandal and relentless spitting of opinion and conjecture clouds all sense of objective judgment. 

In reality, animals actually have no rights unless we choose to grant those benefits to those animals. It's only the animals that are deemed personable enough that outrage ensues when a human commits a violent act upon those animals. Another reality is that we need to eat, and animals are a source of food. Many vegetarians forget that vegetables and fruits are living things, too. Books are byproducts of trees. Nothing that we utilize is brought to us from space. I know I'm not a herbivore; I love to read books; I cherish and enjoy eating. 

Atrocities and violence against human beings are acts people often don't witness firsthand. And, when a person does witness or directly experience these acts, it's traumatizing and difficult to express to others in a way that actually relates that trauma effectively to those who have no relatable experience. 

People who have never experienced a negative encounter with the police rarely can relate to that reality, especially if you have relatives or friends who have served as an officer.

People who have never accessed social services or welfare can relate to the chaos and the difficulty involved with government bureaucracy, nor in maintaing those services or transitioning off of those services.

People who have never been in a fight or fought in a war have no understanding how it is to be surrounded by others who have never been in either, or seem unable to stand up for themselves or anyone else.

People who aren't chronically ill or aren't disabled have little concept of how it is to live a day to day life making the most of every day and every joy that life can bring.

People who work hard and pay their bills find it difficult to relate to those who don't work and to those who do work and can't pay their bills.

People who have worked for years and years and have never had a raise cannot understand why anyone would want to raise the minimum wage to higher than they have been making for years and years. 

That's what makes all of these intense social issues so difficult. Everyone is screaming at each other instead of relating to one another. Maybe, it's not even possible anymore.

I haven't given up on relating to others. That's why I continue to reach out, even when it seems there's  no one reaching back. 

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