When Turning Off the News Is Not Enough

“I am glad that Bill Cosby got jail time,” I state, seated across from my husband at lunch.  “I hope justice doesn’t stop there.”

My husband shifts uncomfortably in his chair.  He thought that Cosby should have house arrest.  He doesn’t say it now – he’s too sensitive for that – but he has said it before, when I wasn’t feeling so volatile.

I’ve just been to see my psychologist, and the topic of conversation has been the rage that I have been feeling over this recent fiasco in the States.

“Many women are feeling it,” she says.  “It felt like we came so far, and now we’re pulled back under.”

“I don’t know how we change it,” I carry on as Ric focuses on his food.  “As long we live in a patriarchal society, seems women are devalued.”

“Patriarchal?  How is our society patriarchal?  Women hold positions of power too.”

I understand then that he is taking this personally.

“Honey, this is not about women vs men.  This is about a culture that oppresses and has done for centuries.  The ‘old boys club’ mentality that overlooks crimes against humanity in favour of power.  Religious teachings that denigrate and incite hate – not just towards women.  Hell, there are women on the Senate who are turning their backs against the abuse and voting to support the likes of Kavanaugh.”

I am too emotional to make a clear argument right now, and he knows it, so we let it drop.

“Maybe it’s better if we just don’t watch the news for a bit.”

Even that suggestion makes me mad, although I know he’s probably right.  I have no control over what is happening.

“It’s the powerlessness that fans the rage,” my therapist had said.  “There is healthy rage – that which promotes change – and then there is destructive rage.  Protect yourself in these times.”

So much of what is tolerated in society in based on unwritten laws.  On a crowded sidewalk, we move to the right.  In a bottleneck, cars from incoming lanes alternate.
When someone falls, we stop to make sure they are alright.  We are conditioned to be polite, so; when the situation crosses into lines that make us uncomfortable, we walk away.

I think it’s time to raise the bar.   We live in an age of information and the potential for enlightenment is riper than it has ever been.  Let’s set a higher standard for ourselves, people.

I am inspired today by the writings of Scarlet Virago, whose blog post, Lava, addresses the rage I have been feeling.  Please give her a read and a like.

We have a lot to talk about.  Love to hear your thoughts.

(I’ve added my poem:  Meaningful Toil to this post as I think it fits.)

 

 

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

11 thoughts on “When Turning Off the News Is Not Enough

  1. It’s fear and rage and not being heard. I had to turn off the TV and the news on Thursday. And on Friday. I peaked at it yesterday. I am a news junkie, but went into overwhelm I guess. Too many years of this…powerlessness (I agree with your therapist). The elevator scene with Kavanaugh and the 2 women & their pain so raw… Oh. My. It keeps on, doesn’t it.
    Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, V.J. I am struggling to make my rage constructive. That’s why I’m focusing on my next novel–which focuses on the effect of hate/racism/ on 2 families in the 1940’s. The parallels to the present age are astonishing. I’m hoping that readers see how we faced these problems before and provide insights on how we can deal with them now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The bar has been way low for all my life, unquestioned publicly until well past my prime. Disruption now, the visible and contagious rage – this is how the bar is lifted – this is the beginning. Cultures do not change overnight, and we may not live to see the true fruits of what’s making us miserable now. But we are witnessing the onset of cultural evolution. Scarlet’s lava flow metaphor is spot-on.

    Liked by 2 people

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