As long as we keep dividing ourselves up into racial, gender, generational, class categories, we…
Lil O
521

The “Humble” Teacher Says

Lil, I agree. Bridget has every reason to make these statements. So many of my “friends” have forced me to use these scare quotes because of their lack of action and their heedless self-focus. Over time, I have realized that just on a personal friendship basis, these relationships have been high-traffic one-way streets. When I look back on actions and words, so many of these individuals have shown so little capacity for empathy, or for even asking others what is going on with them. As another example, I saw one gentleman who has a serious mental illness comment via social media that it was really tough to see so many people accusing Mr. Trump of having various forms of mental illness. First, of course these accusers cannot know (if we look back, just about every well-known politician has been accused of various forms of serious mental illness); second — this is used in this case to put Mr. Trump down or state he should not be President. These people oppose Trump’s politics but their weapon of choice, shaming mental illness, stigmatizes people who actually have those illnesses and who express no support for, and oppose Mr. Trump.

Similarly, I see people shrieking that Mr. Trump is a rapist and abuser. First, there is no evidence that Mr. Trump has raped anyone (I’ve even seen “child rapist”) or beaten any of his wives or women he has dated or even casually encountered. The “pussy grabbing” tape was him talking to another creep in show business. Wrong, yes — bad, crude, insupportable. As someone who put herself through school based on modeling and who has even the few things I have based in my relatively okay looks — I’ve heard things like this hundreds of times said about myself and others. I would prefer action be taken against physical violence first, then the verbal stuff later.

I have a similar feeling that Bridget has expressed in her way, regarding issues that have impacted my life (rape, DV, sexual harassment). It isn’t just me, it’s countless of my students who were in abusive relationships, or who were raped — there was no outrage or prosecution in their cases. There was little outrage or help when they sought support. Just their dumb, weak teacher. Nor was there anything but a cover-up when I was raped by a high-ranking professor as a senior in college 30 years ago, and there was no prosecution when, after I left him, my ex-husband beat me in front of our young daughter. Mr. Trump could have done all of those things behind the scenes or much worse. However, this is in no way known, nor has it been meticulously documented as in the case of another past Chief Executive. As an executive myself, I lost 3 years of my life and our organization that served homeless families, as well as many individuals in need, were grievously harmed due to a false sexual harassment case. The guy got the idea because at the same time, thousands of men, and a few women, did lose their jobs and were prosecuted for lesser offenses than what the former Chief Executive has been exhaustively documented to have done to Monica Lewinsky. My own brother lost his job accused of “sexual harassment” for sending a greeting card with a message that could have been interpreted as “overly familiar” to a co-worker. It wasn’t meant that way. The woman just made the accusation to keep her job for few months during company layoffs.

And finally, my partner’s ex-wife made a very poor choice of spouse in a highly abusive, insane man who by way of concealing his own abuse and a custody battle, conducted at least a decade of harassment of myself and my former partner (now deceased), culminating in a “surprise” web page alleging that I, my then-teen daughter, and my partner had murdered my baby Anthony, who had been born with Down Syndrome. This man emailed these allegations to lists of up to 50,000 people. Only two people said anything to me to alert me to this information, and one of the two did so out of a desire to see how hurt I would be: not in any way help or assist.

The people who have no problems with any of the above cannot be “my friend” as a friend does not ignore harm or abuse done to someone they call friend. People with this kind of empathy and judgment can’t be anybody’s friend. Even those who might consider themselves to be “friends” of such individuals will soon find out differently should they experience any type of distress or problem, whether it be job loss, physical illness, or any other type of disability. Even — as we have seen countless times — should they in some way disagree with or question them.

I was most recently harassed for making an assertion that is a scientific fact: we are all disabled. I made this assertion to assist people in understanding that as they look at others and put them into “lesser” categories such as “mentally ill” or “developmentally disabled” or — shameful as it is — ethnic, skin color/racial categories, or “gender” categories or any others, such as sexual orientation — they should look at themselves and think “am I perfect?” Do I perform perfectly in all areas of human life?

Of course such perfection doesn’t exist.

I have just illustrated areas where I now realize the people I largely grew up with, the people I went to school with, the people I associated with and attempted to motivate, work with, encourage to become involved with community benefit, and especially the so-called “writing community” have gross, glaring deficits in some critical areas of human functioning:

They can’t admit they have made a mistake or might be wrong.
They have an extremely hard time listening to or acknowledging others.
They cannot “put themselves in others’ shoes”.
They have an extremely hard time following the “Golden Rule”.

They appear eaten by jealousy and self-aggrandizement.
They are incapable of caring about violence done to others outside their own immediate circle.

This is not universal human nature. It is most certainly a deficit. It is everywhere in responses to this article.