I am currently armpit deep into a MS with a beginning and a middle but no end, and waiting on my Editor for Life to provide feedback for another finished novel. My head is full of [too many] words. So I guess I’ll just unleash a rant on a completely unrelated subject.
Equality and the Fairness Issue
For some reason, there’s been a lot of emphasis put on the “virtues” of being “equal” or “fair.” I really don’t get it.
I know. I’m old. I’m a freaking dinosaur. I’m definitely not hip. I’m so opinionated that I’m politically incorrect. I’m also busy with my own pursuits; I don’t have time to luxuriate in new (maybe imagined?) slights.
There seems to be some consensus that if only the playing field were level, people would be happy. If only minorities could get a special dispensation for being minorities, they could get into college. Or if only the Evil Rich One Percent would give away all their money, the poor wouldn’t be poor. Even our President and our Pope says we have to do something about income inequality.
If only we could get special consideration for our shortcomings, no matter what they are.
If only, if only.
(Let me say right here, right now, that I’m several shades of minority, I’m a woman, and I’ve been on the dole – for three months, the worst three months of my life. So I’m not an over-privileged white person who has never had to struggle.)
It’s not fair! *stomps foot* Remind you of something? Like a headstrong toddler who wants candy NOW or a defiant teen who wants a later curfew? As if demanding “fairness” will make the world right.
The world isn’t right; it was never right. It’s not going to be right, ever.
Life is not fair, so what?
I might be in the minority, but the purpose of life is not to get everything you want. The purpose of life is to work for everything you want. It’s to take your struggles, puzzle out a solution, and come out on the other side a better person.
The past might be a bad thing, full of heartbreak and injustices. So what?
At what point do you drop the past and journey into the present (and the future) on your own two feet?
One should build (positively) on the mistakes of others, instead of falling back on the negatives of the past.
And here, for my own personal rant of things that aren’t fair:
1. It’s not fair that my ancestors were Native American. It’s not fair that my great-grandfather had to take my grandmother (when she was a toddler) and hide her in the northern bogs of Minnesota to escape the Bureau of Indian Affairs and their plan to put them on a reservation. It’s not fair that for much of her life my grandma couldn’t vote, hold property, or drink alcohol because she was 1/2 Chippewa.
2. It’s not fair that the male members of my Greek grandfather’s family were killed by the Turks, and that he had to travel across the ocean all by himself to start a new life in America.
3. It’s not fair that my father had to join the Army to escape poverty. It’s not fair that after he married my mother, she had to wait in the immigration line for two years and accumulate 4 inches of paperwork to come here and become a citizen.
4. It’s not fair that I had to quit college before finishing my degree. It’s not fair that eating and putting a roof over my head became more important than my education.
5. It’s not fair that my health insurance is so high (even though for an old lady, I’m in fairly good shape) that I’ll probably have to work the rest of my life just to be able to afford it.
6. Speaking of that, it’s not fair that I’ve worked since 16 (actually 13, if you count the time spent working for my father in his gas station) and that I’ll NEVER be able to retire.
7. It’s not fair that I have to pay taxes. It wasn’t fair that my tax dollars couldn’t fund a decent school system and we had to pay out of pocket of our kids’ education, or that our tax dollars aren’t enough to repair the city-owned sidewalk in front of our house and we’ll have to pay for that ourselves. Or that we pay exorbitant fuel taxes to keep the roads up, but they’re still like driving on the moon. (I wouldn’t mind taxes, if I could see a return on investment that wasn’t lining some millionaire politician’s pocket with retirement possibilities.)
I guess I could throw a couple more trivial unfairness issues on that shit pile, ones that have to do with writing. It’s not fair that I don’t have unlimited time to write, or that I don’t have a wonderful agent, or that I’m not traditionally published, or that I’m not sitting on a pile of writing-related money.
*********This part of unfairness rant over. It didn’t feel good, so it was likely not worth it.************
My husband (who is very wise) says that for some the whole “fairness” issue is not one of leveling the field, but rather it’s borne out of jealousy. Whipping out fairness (or unfairness) is the easy fall-back explanation for everything not right in your world. It’s a way of blaming everyone else for your woes, instead of working toward fixing the problem on your own. You can give people whatever they want, but you can’t give them happiness, or equality. These things come from within.
As for me, I’m going back to doing what I do best: making my own world better, despite my shortcomings, my history, and my circumstances.
And I’ll be happy no matter how unfair life is.