The Hardest Thing

I started watching some show on Netflix* – some thing about colonizing Mars in the not too distant future or some such worn out shit – and there was a buncha clips of real life people talking about going to Mars, including some clips of a guy who I’ma call Elon Bodyodor because I don’t like him or respect him because I think he’s an arrogant asshole. Elon McSweatstink was yammering about how sending people to Mars would be the greatest achievement in human history and also the hardest thing to do – some sorta reference to JFK talking about the Moon landing – “we choose to do it not because its easy, but because its hard” or whatever – and I thought “ya know what’s harder than putting people on the Moon or Mars? Loving your neighbor as yourself”. Because it is. Loving other people is the hardest thing. It is so hard that most people never even try. And then some heterosexual white man says “Hey – I’m going to do something involving outer space because its hard” and that’s supposed to be impressive.

I am not impressed. I am firmly in the same naysayers’ chorus as Gil Scott Heron** who responded to the Moon landing in 1969 with a poem titled “Whitey On The Moon” in which he described the indignities, pains and daily experiences of African-Americans in urban ghettos with the refrain “with Whitey on the Moon”. Point being, hey, ya fuckin’ assholes, why don’t ya put your big ol’ brains to work doing something that will actually make a difference in the lives of the 7.9 billion people on this planet who ain’t as fuckin’ well-off as you?” Like instead of launching cars into space, maybe Elon Armpitsmell could work on the whole there-are-millions-of-people-starving problem, or the rich-shitbags-have-completely-fucked-over-the-environment-because-it-was-profitable-in-the-short-term-and-they-don’t-care-about-anybody-else problem, or the children-are-dying-of-easily-preventable-medical-conditions problem? Maybe instead of pissing away billions of dollars to throw some people into space, you could dig some wells in Africa? Or help Haiti out with some infrastructure? Or anything that would actually make a difference in the lives of actual people right here on Earth?

Nope. Not gonna do it.

Actually, though, it ain’t a technological problem. There’s more than enough food produced in the USA to feed everybody on the globe, but it isn’t distributed because there’s no profit in feeding hungry poor people. And the reality is that the capitalists in charge would rather let people starve to death than feed them for free. Think that over. The people who run things are quite content to let human beings suffer and die needlessly. And the overwhelming majority of people don’t give a shit. The very few people who do seem to notice and care that disease, poverty, war and natural disasters are inflicting massive suffering on millions of people and there is absolutely no need for that are fringe whackos who have no power whatsoever. Like me. I’m one. And I can barely tolerate most people. I mean, I can say that I love all the starving, parasite-ridden children in Africa and get all bent outta shape that nobody’s doing fuck-all to help them because none of them have ever pissed me off or driven like a fuckin’ moron on a piece of road that I was using or just been in the general vicinity when I was in a snit. It’s very easy for me to love people at a distance – it’s when they’re actually near me that I find it difficult. Not that I want anything bad to happen to them – I just want them to not be near me, which is a far cry from loving them as myself, which is the second of the two “commandments”, if you will, of Christianity***.

Loving other people is hard. Perhaps impossible. Within the context of Christianity, it’s on the same level as being sinless: you can’t do it. But you don’t have to because Jesus took care of that. Yay! Thanks, Jesus! And then most people go “Well, glad that’s done” and forget about it, because they got other shit to do.

I would like to propose – to you, the two people who actually read this – that we should actually attempt to do the thing. Love our neighbors as ourselves. Why not? We ain’t got the money to shoot cars into space, so let’s do the thing that doesn’t cost a fuckin’ cent. Or let’s at least try. If we don’t succeed, we’re in the same category as every other fuckin’ person who ever lived and if we actually pull it off, we’ll have done something so fuggin’ difficult that Elon Buttstench has never even attempted it.

If loving other people as much as yourself seems like a bridge too far – yeah, me too. Prob’ly better to start off with not treating people like shit – oh, and stop actively supporting systems of power that inflict senseless pain and suffering on people. Maybe try to be somewhat decent to the people who are in the room. Ya know, baby steps. I know I’m not ready to attempt the whole loving other people thing. I can’t honestly say that I love anybody except my kid – that was kinduva shock for me. When she was born, I had these weird feelings that I’d never had before and didn’t understand and then I figured it out: I love her. It’s unsettling. Feeling that way about every human being is not something I can get my head around.

So, I’ma start off smaller. And I’ma watch another episode of “Derry Girls” which is a series on Netflix that I started watching after I got bored with the Mars thing. It’s about teenagers in Derry, Ireland in the early ’90s and it’s hilarious. They’re all really shallow and they cuss a lot, which I enjoy. Yes – they’re Catholics, but they’re Irish Catholics and I’m very much on the Irish side.

*Like everyone else, I watch Netflix but don’t pay for it. I’m using someone else’s account.

**Gil Scott-Heron was homophobic and sexist, but no more so than most people at the time.

***(Jesus) answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27 NRSV


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