It got me thinking though about our expectations of others and when we feel ‘obligated’ to shove someone in the direction we think they should go.
Now before I write this little rant I want everyone to know that I fully understand and empathize with those in Moore, OK and the news that the death toll was lower than originally thought is a miracle in itself. The devastation they have suffered and the time and money it will take to rebuild will be a long (and oft politicized) road, and my sincere and heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with those who are suffering horrible losses.
Now I have been working on an idea to create a job for myself. They say if you can’t make something work for you to create something new… so I am working on creating something new. Yesterday, I posted this status update on my personal page and the Tolerant People Facebook page:
So I have a question for all of you. I want to start a newsletter. A newsletter that you will have to subscribe to in order to read. I am thinking of charging $5 a month for a subscription that will include 4 editions per month. It will focus on issues similar to my blog – some things will be informative, some will be entertaining, and some will be reader driven. It will all focus on current news and events and will be as bipartisan as possible for a liberal hippie nerd to accomplish. Would you pay for that? If I am being paid, I will ensure to leave my personal opinions out of it (that is what my free blog is for) and will ensure to always include both sides of the story no matter how much I disagree – If I can get 20 friends to agree to subscribe for at least one month I will make a go of it. So help me out – LIKE this post if you would pay five bucks a month – SHARE this post if you think others would do the same, and COMMENT on this post to help me shape this into something that people would value.
I had planned on this pitch being my blog post for today – but someone pointed out that maybe I am asking people for their opinions too soon after the tragedy in OK. Which kind of pissed me off. Okay – not kind of – I got really mad. I am still mad. With our entire world in the shitter – which tragedy should I focus on today? Should I wait to ask an opinion until there is no more poverty in the world? What about children dying because parents want to pray for them instead of taking them to a doctor? What about the millions of homeless people in America? I mean really – there is tragedy everywhere- everyday. Should I ignore my own life because people in other parts of my world are also having difficulties? Here is the exact quote:
Hey dude…not today….people here in Oklahoma have a lot more important things to think about.
Well Dude, the important things I have to think about are paying my bills. Feeding myself and other things that need money. If I could go to OK and help clean up I would. Would you be willing to give me gas money, a place to sleep, and food to eat while I am there? I am able bodied and unemployed – I have nothing but time and I would be more than willing to take my unemployed self to OK to help. It takes money to help. Money I don’t have. So is me focusing on me such a bad thing? Am I being selfish because a tornado hit your state and a day after that I post a question about a newsletter? When would be a good day for you to answer this question in a reasonable way? Let me know and I’ll re-post it.
My intent was not to detract from tragedy. My intent is to simply find a job even if I have to make myself one. If people have more important things to think about, maybe they should get off Facebook and go think about them instead of judging someone from their computer for trying to make their life better. Maybe.
This is what I don’t understand about Facebook and the comments people post. This person could have easily ignored the question. Obviously, they are focused on other things at the moment – but if they were so focused on those things why were they surfing Facebook to begin with? What good did their comment do for them, me, or the good people of Oklahoma? Was their comment kind? Was it necessary? Was it helpful? Was it insightful? My opinion – none of the above. There was no purpose behind it other than to try and make me feel bad for trying to do something that will help my own life right now. I am such a selfish jerk. I mean really – I post educational, entertaining, and sometimes (hopefully) thought provoking content on my silly Facebook page and blog. I do this for free. I have 254 people who enjoy what I am doing (on Facebook) – for free. I write this blog and I focus on issues that are current, and that need to be addressed in some way either personally or globally – for free. I spend an amazing amount of time to entertain and inform people of all kinds of things and ask nothing in return but participation and a like and share once in a while (which people can’t be bothered to do most of the time).
Yeah – I am just not paying attention to the world around me. I am indifferent to suffering because I asked if people would pay (an excessively nominal amount) to read a newsletter that I may or may not take on in an effort to support myself. I am such an insensitive person. I should have thought about the people of Oklahoma instead of myself. I should have waited to post that question until… when? Until Oklahoma politicians agree to help their own? Until they recover from this disaster? Until all the hungry people in the world are fed? When exactly would it have been appropriate? Can someone give me a tragedy timeline where it is okay for me to worry about how I am going to make my $634 student loan payment that is due next month? I don’t have enough money for a fucking sandwich – and if it wasn’t for my partner and roommate, I would be as homeless right now as the people who had their homes destroyed by a tornado.
I have a skill and passion and I am trying to create an interest and a market for that skill and passion. I want to get paid for it. Selfish? Maybe a little – but not really. If I was collecting food stamps (which I am not) I would be sucking off the government and that would be bad. I could resort to a life of crime – seriously a few well thought our robberies could change my life. Nope – I don’t want to break the law to support myself. I want to use my God given talents to do that and I asked a question. I asked if people would be interested and willing to pay $5 a month for information.
I posted an article on posting online when I first started this blog. Posting comments online and it was before I had any sort of real following on my blog. Go read it, and think about the judgments that online communications allow us to do from the happy comfort of our homes. If you have an opinion by all means share it. However you can do that without hurting people or detracting from the intent of the message.
I am not selfish or indifferent to the world around me. Quite the opposite. I care so much I write this stuff in order to change the conversation. I care so much I lose sleep at night. I care so much that if I had $10 dollars I would donate to the Red Cross to help those in OK. I donated to Haiti – I had a job then. I donated money to the victims of hurricane Katrina because I had a job then. I donated every piece of clothing and blankets and blood to those effected by hurricane Sandy – which tore apart my region of the world. We still have homeless people here on the east coast, we still have people who can’t rebuild because the elected leaders of Oklahoma voted against federal disaster aid for MY part of the world.
All I ask is that before you post some nonsense self righteous comment – think about it first. What good does it do? Are your words helping or hurting people? I am probably one of least selfish people out there. I really do care about all of the tragedies we face as a human community. I really want people to be informed and to make decisions based in truth and information. Whether it is the people of Oklahoma or the people of the east coast who for them – even now – is something they are fighting everyday they are STILL suffering and part of that suffering is due to the elected leaders of Oklahoma. The victims of hurricane Katrina are still suffering. Entire neighborhoods were destroyed and there have been no efforts to remedy that. The victims of hurricane Sandy are still homeless because OK leaders refused to authorize federal aid.
The point is, I can’t change any of that. The only thing I can do as a writer is to try and bring awareness. For me to do that is free. To ask if people would be willing to part with a couple a of bucks a month to help me while I spend time researching and presenting the realities our world faces – well I don’t think that is a selfish endeavor. If you do think it is selfish – just ignore it – like you do with other world events and tragedies. If it makes you feel better on some level to undermine me trying to make my life better – I suggest you keep your comments to yourself unless you can offer another solution.
I apologize for being pissed off. I am sorry that my life and my bills are important to me. This blog will end and so will my Facebook page unless I can find the money to continue to pay for internet service. Nothing in life is free – but I feel I have provided a free service that people seem to enjoy. I asked a question. I asked if people would be willing to pay for an informative bipartisan newsletter. I don’t think that is a bad thing, but one comment completely killed the conversation. One comment made me look like an asshole for trying to make my life better – while trying to make our country better by providing information.
What is it exactly that people expect from me?