What are we supposed to do?

This is about more than just us.

Governments all over the world refuse to acknowledge that women are humans, citizens, people. In China they’re forcing abortions, in other countries they restricting and denying abortions (and punish women who manage to survive their illegal abortions). Women are systematically raped and tortured in the Congo. Human beings and animals are starving to death. Entire species of animals are disappearing, forever, at an alarming rate. A child starves to death every five seconds.  Anything edible or non-edible from China you put in your mouth might kill you. the world is in a massive financial crisis. Soldiers and civilians are dying from combat, and even more soldiers kill themselves, unable to wrestle with the complicated mental anguish that results from their service. We’re running out of water. We’re running out of food. We’re living on a planet increasingly rife with radioactive nuclear waste. Intense poverty is killing millions and millions of people struggling to survive in a world where a few have more than they need.

Name a disease. It’s a problem. Name a basic right you cherish. Other people don’t have it. Name something that makes you happy. Most people don’t get that. Name a basic need you had no problem meeting today. Most people don’t even have that.

So what are we supposed to do? That’s not rhetorical. That’s not me pointing you to a website that will solve all this. I’m paralyzed with the breadth and depth of the trouble around me and have no idea where to start.

And I became mired in this paralysis because my friend is on her way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to research the bonobo population there. [You know, the endangered chimpanzee species that is as close to human as any other species (uh-oh I just lost the ignorant “we ain’t no monkeys ‘cuz the world was built in 80 days” crowd…oh well).] And some people are giving her flak, saying that the human suffering on the planet is significant enough that she is wasting her impressive mind and indefatigible desire to help by working with “just” apes.

And my question is, is that what we’re going to bicker about? Not how best to help or how to start, but which cause to choose? Are you kidding me? Choose something, and go freaking make an effort to fix it.

2 thoughts on “What are we supposed to do?

  1. No kidding. We have some many problems that every one can gravitate towards one. It pisses me off with the stupid midnight laws Bush is passing right now. More lead, please. I totally understand your frustration as I worry about all the stuff going wrong. I was so upset at myself for not being able to give more to the food bank this year.

  2. You’re absolutely right. Sitting back criticizing is a waste of energy. This quote from Teddy Roosevelt says it all:

    “It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

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