Sunday, August 19, 2007

I didn't know to fight for something imperfect.

That was the last line of a sestina I wrote about how I, a lifelong perfectionist, thought it was not worth learning Korean well because I could not speak it perfectly from the start (I made this decision when I was about 10 years old). I was rifling through some files in my "Language" folder and was shocked to read what I had written just a few months ago. I didn't remember writing it, yet it was familiar, but it didn't sound like my voice. WHAT was I talking about in my "Eureka walls me and you.rtf" file?? I mean, I know what I was talking about, but how did I articulate it so well? Who was that?

This is one page of my police report book. I thought it was appropriate after watching Bill Moyers Journal tonight, an interview with Melissa Harris-Lacewell and Mike Tidwell. I was impressed by her impeccable verbal articulation; I have not witnessed such skillful delivery since Melissa Potter's tour of Dieu Donne Papermill five years ago, nary a "like," "you know," or "um," to be heard! Incredible! [OMG! I just noticed that these women are all named Melissa!! What does this mean??]

There were a few things she said that really struck me:
The planet goes on. The planet decides we're a plague that's warming it up too fast. It wipes us out. But the planet goes on. So, even a fight against global warming is a belief that human beings matter. It's a kind of essential belief that there's something inside of human beings worth saving. Because if we're really just corrupt and bad and evil, then heat it up. Let it wipe us out.

How dare I give up? I feel like we just have too much privilege to be the ones who give up...Who are we to give up? We're telling the people of Baghdad, Grip it up. Pull it together. Do better. Stop sectarian violence. How dare we, as Americans, with everything, we would want to give up.
That first sentiment hit deeply for me, because my attitude for a very long time has been: we should voluntarily die out as a species, and the sooner the better. When I told Markus this, he disagreed and asked if I would consider humans worth saving if there was just one good person among a million bad ones. It's so funny to hear someone who has spent his whole life outside of the US ask me this, especially since I went to Oberlin when its motto was, “Think one person can change the world? So do we." And then the second statement comes into play: as a conscious human being today, I have too much privilege to just give up. It's okay to fight for an imperfect existence, for imperfect creatures, for imperfect dreams.

No comments:

Post a Comment

thanks for visiting!