Identity vs. Division

There’s a lot of uproar in our country right now.  Lines are blurred as everyone tries to stick with the status quo: choose one label for yourself, and go at it hard. Choose my label, so that our team will win ; there's strength in numbers! Sorry, guys, our bodies and our psyches don’t work like that.

I am several things: female, white, not white, human, writer, artist, introvert, pacifist, arrogant, heterosexual…I make a damn fine Venn diagram.

Someone named Joe Manion once said, “We give up something when a choice is made.” Write this down somewhere, because he deserves credit for his words and his observation is solid.

How, then, do you choose one label for yourself? If you choose human, do you give up your gender? If you choose pacifist, do you give up your right to defend equality? Very few people on this planet are comprised of a singular race or cultural genetic makeup; more people spit in the tube every day and are surprised by their DNA results.  Even sexual orientation is not guaranteed to have hard and fast boundaries like we were once allowed to believe.

Everything is not football (and here I mean either the Euro version or American HandeggToss; take your pick.) There is not a stand-alone winning team. If any of our number fall, we all lose. Groups like Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, Pink Lives Matter are not asking you to pick them to win.  They are asking you to acknowledge their existence. Acknowledge that they have the same rights you do. Acknowledge that they are part of our team, because they are. All of us. Expect them all to stand behind the good of our society.

America was built on the belief that all men are created equal, but some people are inherently better than others.  This is an insidious foundation to capitalism as well: some people just don’t deserve to “succeed.” They will probably make poor life choices, so why offer them any good ones?  Capitalism blurs the line between amassing the surplus for the benefit of the community and amassing the surplus for the benefit of one shrewd individual. What is the shrewd individual giving up in making this choice? He’s giving up society in general. The whole thing. That which he needs to amass surplus. And he doesn’t care, because he’s a narcissist. 

(Please stop enabling narcissists. I don’t care what color they are; I don’t care if the government said they owe you child support. I don’t care.  Stoppit.)

Your identity is your inalienable right. You don’t cede it when you choose to support one group or another, but there is always a sacrifice. Remind yourself every time you are making a decision: what are you giving up?


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