Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Powerlessness Fatigue" not "Compassion Fatigue"

I forget where I read this, but one writer said that what causes a lot of the apathy isn't "compassion fatigue," but the way that all of our work and attention and care simply doesn't impact the myriad problems that our country, and our world, are suffering from.

She said it was like seeing a horrific car accident from your kitchen window, day after day, for weeks or months on end. At first, you run out to see if you can help, but there's nothing you can do, the ambulances arrive and appear to do their thing. You wonder how it happened, and you find out that there's something that makes this place a dangerous corner for drivers or something. You say something should be done, but nothings done.

The second time, the very next day, there's another horrific accident, and you again rush out, trembling, angry, scared, nauseous. This time you resolve to tell the authorities that something has to be done. When you do this, they complacently tell you that they're working on it, that the problem isn't as grave as your subjective experience appears to believe, and etc.

That's all you hear the third, fourth, fifth, and etc. times that an accident occurs and you trek down to the powers-that-be to register your increased outrage. "The situation is well in hand." Some people on blogs (morons actually) start to call you a trouble-maker and an extremist, possibly an anti-automobile terrorist.

Eventually, you develop this resignation and begin a slow, quiet descent into madness and inertia, as the carnage goes on outside your window everyday. Perhaps close the window, turn on the air-conditioner, and crank the tunes?

That's where we're at right now. And one reason this stupidity and insanity persists is because the few of us who realize that writing eloquent complaints, or eloquent, detailed critiques, or mobilizing to electing another clueless political party or union leader, or getting a parade permit and walking with a few dozen other concerned citizens, isn't going to change anything, haven't yet done the serious work about communicating what needs to change, and HOW it can change.

But our lives will continue to be plagued by avoidable misery, and the lives of millions more, on the receiving end of the imperialism that supports our system, will be destroyed, and this will go on forever, unless and until we construct a rational, realistic plan for revolutionary change.

For the record, I have advanced ideas on this subject numerous times in the past. I'd hoped to have more positive reflections about the details of this plan (essentially the radical democratization of the entire economy) on this blog, but time constraints have kept me from writing anything detailed and original. As such, I've indulged in youtube links, isolated rants, and criticisms of the abominable stupidity of the Blogging Tories. Which has been fun, but ultimately unsatisfying.

So, that's my post for the day.


Chet Scoville said...

I hear ya.

trog69 said...

With witness to the complete abdication of oversight and willingness to allow this administration and the Right, to violate our constitutional rights, especially with the capitulation of the FISA/Telecom Immunity bill, I'm just about all out of fight. Fight for what? Against who? There is no representation of the populace any longer. Corporations have won.

thwap said...


The US left, and US progressives first have to do the work of weaning either yourselves, or others, off of the Democratic Party. And that inclues decent Democrats who can't get a hearing, like Dodd and Kucinich.

In the meantime, as your entire political system has discredited itself, you're all entirely free to engage in whatever civil disobedience is required to prevent the Repugs from taking advantage in the disintegration of their enemy.

Eventually, Repugnican arrogance will serve to radicalize more and more members of your armed forces and then you'll have a chance.

That's all I can see.

thwap said...


Thanks for visiting! I'm tickled!

trog69 said...

Yeah, Chet's prolly followin' me around again. Why, I dunno.

thwap said...

You know "The Vanity Press"?

trog69 said...

I've skipped through there a time or three, and I've read some Scoville. I think his was the first article on the undercover business conference...I can't remember the name of it,...where a few months ago, a cop was busted attempting to spark a riot? Yeah that shit. He's known to us political junkies.

Man, I'm retired and clinically depressed...I pwn the intertubes!