We Don’t Get to Decide
I have been all around the internet tonight, and I have some strange thoughts brewing. Thoughts of racism, misogyny, doxing, homophobia, and the abuse of power. I think it’s interesting that all of these stories have the same underlying theme: power, or the lack of it, and who gets to decide when to use it (and how).
It got kind of political at work today, you see (which is so a bad idea, I know). And while nothing really upsetting happened, it makes me sad when people I know and respect don’t hold dear the same ideals that I do. I know. It’s a basic law of the fucked-uped-ness of human nature that we can’t all agree on the sanctity of human life, or when it begins, or what to do with it once we’re here. I shouldn’t be so surprised when other people have such different values. But, oh. I am. I just can’t help it.
My basic premise, my cardinal rule, the thing I hold most near and dear is this: And it harm none, do as thou wilt. A Wiccan premise for a generally Christian girl, I know. It comes from my being so widely read, I suppose. If you aren’t breaking any laws or actively hurting another living person, I believe in my heart that your business is no one’s but yours. I don’t care what you do in your bedroom or who you’re doing it with. I don’t care what you do with your body, how you worship, or what you say in your own time. Why should I? It doesn’t affect me.
Here’s another thing, too, that most people don’t understand: No one needs my permission either. Be gay, straight, white, black, top, bottom, Christian, Muslim, Agnostic or Atheist -anything in between or any combination thereof. It doesn’t matter. Those people don’t need *my* say-so to exist. They don’t need your say-so either. No one does.
Whether we’re discussing a peaceful gay couple just trying to have a home and maybe a family, or a young woman who decides on an abortion, or a blogger posting a review of a cozy Romance or a Spy Thriller, or a Christian fundamentalist who believes whole-heartedly in their Constitutional right to own a gun. Each has the right and the ability to be a decent, loving human being who deserves to be treated decently and lovingly in return. And that’s it.
My thoughts on the articles linked above, as briefly as I can make them.
1. On Racism: My own desire to dismiss the idea of a wide-spread white conspiracy (whether planned or unintentional) as ridiculous, merely proves that even those who should know better still have issues to work through. Not even the most open-minded of us are immune when we live in the society we do. And I don’t get to decide how minorities feel about white people. Even me.
2. On Misogyny: Hits closer to home than I’d like. Even as I wanted to dismiss the article with a “Wouldn’t it be nice to be beautiful?” kind of thought, I knew that it was unjust of me. Beautiful or homely – I don’t (and men don’t) get decide how a woman feels about her own body.
3. On Doxing: This one sort of stumps me. I do believe that there is no fundamental right to privacy on the internet. I believe that what this guy did was a hideous thing and maybe he deserves what he gets. But who am I to decide? Who was Gawker to decide?I certainly wouldn’t want it to happen to me.
4. On Homophobia: One doesn’t get to decide, based on the edicts of your religion, how other people get to live their lives. Love thy neighbor. Don’t cast any stones, and Judge Not, folks. If you’re right, you can gloat in the next life. Until then, shut your pie-hole, because you don’t get to decide!
5. On One-Sided Relationships and the Abuse of Power: As a writer, you don’t get to decide how a reader connects (or doesn’t connect) to your book. Once it’s in the hands of a reader, I’m sorry, but your “baby” has grown up and has to stand on its own merits. If you’ve raised (written) it well, then hopefully it’ll do you proud. But even if it does, there’s going to be someone who hates it for no other reason than because it exists. As a reviewer, you don’t get to decide how an author responds (or doesn’t) to your review. You only get to respond to their response (or lack of response). Nothing more.
Have I pounded this in yet? You don’t get to decide for other people. YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE FOR OTHER PEOPLE!
Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it makes you want to scream. But we don’t get to decide for other people. We only get to decide for ourselves.
I believe that everyone has the right to a home, food, and someone to love them. I believe in a person’s right to own a gun and a woman’s right to choose. I promise you that if you shine a light out there in the dark, I won’t leave you behind. Hi. My name is Kia, and I’m running for Queen of the World. ;oP
Right now, I’m reminding myself that I don’t get to decide who agrees with me. Or who loves me. But I’m going to post this with love, even for those who may not agree, and pray that I don’t get too many trolls on this.
Reminder: I may not get to decide what other people think, but I do get to decide which comments get posted here.
And right now, my body’s reminding me that it’s time to decide to go to bed.