Monday, August 4, 2008

Prioritizing the News

I've discovered that a combination of getting older and being a "mommy" has changed the way I look at the news and the way different news stories affect me. I was talking to my friend via email earlier about how I used to be this "never say die" bad ass chick with no thought of the outside world other than who, what, where I was seeing, doing or going that night at whatever club I ended up. Sure, I had my mini political outbreaks here and there; expressing outrage at the closing down of a local Planned Parenthood; volunteering at a local clinic helping women enter the doors past the throngs of mindless idiots praying; writing letters to a senator telling him to keep church and state separate. I had my activist moments, but I was mostly focused on the nightlife, Manhattan at midnight, walking down Houston street to The Bank or over to Avenue A to dance the night away at The Pyramid. How incredible were those days.

But I'm here now. NYC is 5 long years gone from underfoot and my life has changed a thousand fold. I'm over 30 (34 to be exact), I'm married for the second time (the first one was a practice run), and I am a mother to an incredible, intelligent, insightful, 2 year old boy. We're even attempting to get pregnant again; a feat that is more difficult than it sounds (and extremely more tiring). Had you told me this back in 2003, I would half laughed hysterically in your face and then probably drop kicked you to the ground. Funny how the wheel of fortune spins?

Anyhow, back to my original intent of this post: The News. I read the news differently now and stories that I once would never read or just gloss over seem to affect me deeply now. For example, I read the other day that dissident author Alexander Solzhenitsyn died. Normally, I would have pored over the details and mourned the loss of this man, but instead another story caught my eye: Christina Applegate is battling Breast Cancer. Now, I know what you're saying, "You're prioritizing some blonde actress' cancer troubles over the author who exposed Russian cruelty in the gulag?!?!?"

Yes. I am . You see, Christina Applegate is me. Rather I am just like her. She's in her mid-30s, is a mom, and is a woman. I glossed over Mr. Solzhenitsyn's obituary because I don't relate to him. I grew up with Christina Applegate as Kelly Bundy on Married with Children, have loved watching her in her cheesy movies and TV shows, and now I feel like one of my friends is sick. Why her? Why anyone, for that matter? See, this is where that whole issue comes up with me. The whole "god" issue. How can someone justify the existence of this being after seeing a loved one diagnosed with a horrible disease or maimed or killed or just plain ol' fucked up? "He's testing us", they'll tell you. I say, "If your god wanted to test someone, why not just send down some math problems and be done with it?". Seriously.

But I digress. This is not a post about how silly I think the concept of a god is, nor is it a rant about my atheism. I'll be sure to post one of those sooner or later.

Ask me about the Olympics. Who cares. Seriously, with what is going on in the world do I give two cents if some 40 year old female swimmer can outswim a 20 year old? Do I care if the US wins gold medals? How can people care about these things when a little boy named Rakan Hassan is murdered? As a mom, I wept for this child. As a human being, I wept for this child. Who gives a crap about the olympics or Paris Hilton or Britney Spears or that John McCain is running ads with Obama being compared to them? Honestly, are the American people this stupid that they are distracted so easily?

These are the stories that affect me; that hit close to home. Rakan was 12, innocent in the turmoils of the world, yet he suffered at the hands of the most terrible of evils; one that would kill children. Sure, the right wingers will tell you that a casualty count of over 1 million Iraqi dead is trivial and unimportant, but if we single it down to one death and count Rakan as that one, that is still one death too many. Listening to Air America the other day on the Stephanie Miller show, a right winger named Tom (I think) called in and commented that it "wasn't 1 million deaths, it was closer to 700,000" and that "liberals are always exaggerating". 1 million vs. 700,000. What's the difference?

So that's the news from where I stand. Film at 11.


zenmom said...

Oh, this is so true.

The big Indonesian tsumani in 2004 was just after Son#1 was born. I remember hugging him close to me as I watched story after story of parents who had lost their children in the flood and destruction.

Stories of mothers trying to hold on to their babies as the floodwaters pulled them away ... parents mobbing emergency centers searching for their missing little ones ... it was heartwrenching.

BEFORE I was a mom, those stories would have made me sad and sympathetic. But, as a new mom, they ROCKED me. Like a punch to the solar plexus.

And today, almost four years later, I still feel that physical pang of empathy for any parent who loses a child - Every mother should. Every person should.

I sometimes think that the most tragic trend in our world today is our increasing lack of empathy - our inability to see ourselves in others.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Stephanie Miller! I haven't heard her in a while. I think we had Air America here in Sacramento for awhile, but for some reason left-wing radio just doesn't have the support of right-wing radio. It's sad, but true.

Good rant by you.

Please tell Steph I said hi, the next time you hear her.

Your Pal Pinki said...

You and I would get along sooooo well.

Christina Applegate having cancer was something my hubby actually told me about because he knew I'd care.

Good rant.