I live in the rural Midwest, which is to say I have a skewed view of reality, regardless of how hard I try not to.
Recently the civic organization to which I belong partnered with a well-known social service organization to help staff their holiday donation sites – those red kettles outside stores and malls with folks ringing bells imploring shoppers to drop in a coin or two. I spent a pleasant hour ringing that little bell, chatting up shoppers, spreading holiday cheer.
A few hours after I returned home a link appeared on Facebook stating this same organization subverts LGBTQ rights and should be shunned for the sake of all humankind. I had betrayed my gay friends. I vowed to never participate in that project again; a vow that prompted feelings of betrayal towards other friends who volunteer extensively for that organization. Either way, I am and would continue to disappoint somebody.
OK, two reactions.
First, upon further research, it appears the degeneration of this organization has been faked. Yeah, it really does happen – information intended to destabilize is packaged as a factual news article and posted to social media where it propagates. Legitimate media hasn’t confirmed the claims of that link and the organization itself has venomously denied it, stating in part, “…any discrimination is in direct opposition to our core beliefs”. (that persons of strong religious fervor of any faith so often try to impart their own vision of morality, and that this organization may not be an exception, is a tangent for another time). My friend who initially shared the link seems to have figured that out, as the link seems to have been removed from her news feed. My fears of betrayal, either way, are unwarranted. Or at least exaggerated.
Second, it is impossible to do or say anything for, against, or about anything or anyone today that doesn’t betray, disappoint, anger, or sadden somebody somewhere. It’s not merely that the world is not black and white, it’s not shades of grey either; it’s 16,000,000 colors and hues and shades and intensities that never, ever perfectly line up. It’s a minefield of infinite chicken sandwiches in which any given bite will contain something distasteful. We’d better learn to accept a broad pallet, or we will certainly starve to death, albeit with recognition that at a certain level of distastefulness fasting is warranted.
As to the Midwest thing, well, who doesn’t live in a skewed reality. All local realities are skewed when placed in global context. The catch, I think, is recognizing it. There are other chicken sandwiches in the world.
And they’re not all bad.
Some, oh hell yeah, but not all.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.