valancy_jane: (Default)
[personal profile] valancy_jane
I saw the other day this scintillating message on the back of some person's shirt:

HAVE A DREAM
SET A GOAL
GET TO WORK


I am admittedly unreasonably irritated. It just seemed like so much doggerel you hear: pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Get a second job. You Can Do It!

I know that it's meant to be motivational; inspirational; even supportive (behold! you're working! it'll happen!). And I do that; I mean, I work full time, and I have a child, and I squeeze in spare seconds to write and take pictures.

But I can't help but feel it's part and parcel of that greater absurdity at work in this U.S. culture, where all problems are yours and any failure on your part could never be blamed on the system. This underlying fallacy that we are all universally healthy; universally without small children; universally able to somehow create time and afford to do all these things we long to do. That in general people are not subsumed with finding a way to pay for shelter, afford decent food, care for their children. That somehow if you pushed just a bit harder you could squeeze in time to do...great things. (Interestingly, this article shows that knowledge of how bad your situation is--poverty-wise--may actually interfere with your ability to think clearly. I would add that it also strangles creativity.)

It's this idea that we are all our own islands, that the great American way means that, like with Laura Ingalls' father, true happiness is when our neighbor is far enough we cannot hear his gun when he goes hunting. Neglecting to remember that she and her sister nearly froze to death, nearly starved to death, and that her sister, for lack of modern medical care (and even had it existed, the inability to afford it, I think), went blind.

I so wish we were less blind.

Then again, maybe the t-shirt's font had something to do with it.
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valancy_jane

July 2015

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