There’s an internet talk show that I listen to a lot. Their topics are wacky and off-the-wall and I really enjoy the diversion. There’s something that’s bothering me, though, and I’m not sure if I should write the guys or just stop listening.
As an example, on a recent show they were talking about heroin addicts and specifically, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s death. One of the guys related an experience of having to go to the emergency room for some kind of painful condition I can’t remember and they gave him dilaudid. He said he could totally understand, just by that one dose, how people could get locked into the dragon chase and give up everything for it. They briefly discussed Hoffman’s celebrity status, etc. and commented on how some very well-standing people had been captured by these kinds of addictions.
And then one of the guys said, “Yeah, it’s not like we’re talking about some scumbag lying on the sidewalk.”
Within this one verbal interaction between these two guys, both of whom seem like they’d be very okay kinds of people if one met them, is contained two of the most disgusting aspects of the general mentality of this country, Amurica.
Number one…the assumption that because Phillip Seymour Hoffman was obviously wealthy, and a celebrity…that this awful thing just kind of happened to him. He was just a normal everyday Joe who accidentally stepped into the pothole of heroin addiction and got stuck. Poor guy. It made them sad, they said.
Number two…the assumption that that scumbag lying on the sidewalk is in ANY WAY different than Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
In fact, they are both just human beings who had/have something, some kind of hunger, inside them that cannot be satisfied. It’s never about the drug. Take it from someone who knows.
This language, this conditioned way of speaking about our brothers and sisters on this planet is just repulsive to me. The way we speak and the words and phrases we choose to use do matter. While in some other, much less fortunate countries, the people are obliged to help those less fortunate, in this country, most people actually want legislation to imprison them. It has only been a year or so since I aggressively ended a ‘friendship’ with a very financially stable woman who’d never worked a day in her life (her husband has a very lucrative job and her parents are very wealthy) was alcoholic and addicted to muscle relaxers and Fox News, who told me flat out she didn’t want to give what was hers to freeloaders.
This is not a loving country. This is not, despite what right-wingers love to tell themselves, a ‘godly’ country. This country’s values, more and more, seem to me more what they’d call ‘demonic’ and soulless with every year that goes by. Even the Bible, in the Old Testament, it states that food should be left in the field for the poor and the owners were prohibited from collecting that part. In the New Testament, Yeshua himself tells people if they want to do what is ultimately right, they will sell everything they own and give it to the poor. How many right-wing people who call themselves christians can we imagine doing that today? The sad fact is that most christians today have never even read that book that they imply is the foundation of their beliefs. And for those of us who truly want to help our brothers and sisters, who want this to be a loving and welcoming and caregiving country, this is maddening.
This country and its purported ideals are nothing more than hypocritical propaganda of the most nefarious sort.
So what do I do about the two guys who just obviously have no clue about the true nature of their off hand remarks?
I don’t have an answer. I wish I did.