I am getting really sick of listening to spoiled, adult-aged children spewing their rich daddy’s narrow views of the world. There. I’ve gotten that off my chest. Phew.
My current contract gig, which thankfully ends Sunday, has my patience severely tested. Certain people I’m working with on this job make me want to choke some sense into them. There are times where I have to make an excuse and leave the room. And I can’t even fathom why it bothers me so much, beyond the wasted time and resources. Unless it’s their willful ignorance. There is no excuse for willful ignorance anymore in our society, especially for that age group and with their ready access to facts and figures on their numerous devices. But should the opinions of someone in their early 20s really enrage me to the point of finding a corner to jump up and down in and swear to myself? Should it get under my skin so much that I picture Lewis Black’s description of blood shooting out of my nose? The answer is no, of course.
I should view working with these youngish adults as an opportunity to gently change their worldviews. And, the few times I knew I would be able to control my tone and temper, I have chipped away. I was able to offer an alternative to the narrative of the welfare queen popping out kid after kid just to milk the system. I was able to suggest that realities are different for those living in poverty. My words were heard, but the depth of bubble wrap and cotton swaddling surrounding these people at their age is frightening, as is their certainty that they are right.
Was I so certain that my point of view was the only correct one ten years ago? I know I was loud and opinionated, but I think I had already come to the conclusion that the only time you can be certain you are wrong about something is if you think absolutely that you are 100% right about it and that your way is the only right opinion/belief. (As a side note: does the fact that I think this is right make it automatically wrong due to my statement? It is an interesting mental exercise to try to work out, and one I’ve thought often about over the years. Second side note: this Truth that I came to in my late teens is the main one that makes me extremely wary of any organized belief structure. I think it is dangerous any time you close yourself off from alternative viewpoints. Getting a BA in History helped me reach these conclusions because I was able to see the cycles and patterns of humanity and the societies it creates.)
Anyway, yesterday I walked away from a conversation about criminals and the prison system. The phrase “Do the crime, pay the time” came up, which is especially galling given the recent debacle in Texas and affluenza now being a legitimate diagnosis. Because yes, if someone is drugged and threatens you and steals your smartphone, they should be punished in some way, but where is the compassion and understanding for that person? And yes, if you do the crime, you pay the time, but not if you’re rich and white. Because if one of these young people had done the same thing, they would NOT do the time. Their parents wouldn’t allow it. We have two different rules of justice in our country. Different rules depending on your social status and neighborhood and color. Different experiences going through the legal system. Lawyers who work pro bono quietly stop getting assigned clients if they win too many cases because DAs count on those cases to show they are accomplishing what they are paid to do and because the prisons need more bodies to keep getting money coming in. Twelve white cops surrounding one Hispanic with his head on the curb and arms behind his back in downtown Long Beach, CA. I could go on about the injustice, but it would require chapters. But the inequity is blatant, if one only opens their eyes. And the fact that people in a creative field have their eyes squeezed shut to reality makes me angry.
Three more days on this contract. Three more to go. I can get by, and I can do it without losing my temper. I hope.