Giving a Damn in the Age of Apathy

I live in a suburb of New York City. I’m middle class. I grew up in a strong family based Christian upbringing. I went to church till I was 18 and while my views on God have changed I’ve never really lost faith in the idea of a higher power. I never went a day without meals. I never had a Christmas with no presents under the tree. I’m a heterosexual white male. I was never subjected to discrimination on any front. I’ve lived a comfortable life.

Which could be why it’s hard to give a damn about anything. And it feels awful to say that, but it’s kind of true.

Now, I’m far from being someone who doesn’t care about people. I’m far from being someone who can’t be bothered with the plight of people and the various social struggles that happen in the world. I care. I spend time thinking about these things. I think about the situations people are in and how I would feel if I found myself in their predicament. When I talk to friends and family and these topics arise I voice my opinions and speak out for these issues.

And then I go to sleep in my suburban, middle class home and keep warm with help from my worn in but still completely useable blanket and cozy up next to the crack between my bed and the wall where below there is a radiator that blows warm air through it’s vents. And it’s freezing outside but I’m warm in my room. Away from the struggles and strife that people feel everyday.

And I feel like a fraud. Because as much as I want to relate to someone who has to chose between utilities and food, I can’t. As much as I want to relate to someone who has been told they can’t go into an establishment because of the color of their skin, I can’t. I can yell at the top of my lungs that love should be recognized regardless of sex, but I don’t have anything to gain or lose by ruining my throat. I could try to find any open ear that I can and tell them that people should stop caring so much about what they call God and start caring more about treating their fellow man as something meaningful and beautiful, but it won’t really do much. Afterall, I grew up in a place where I’ve never had to worry about worshipping the “wrong” God.

It’s things like that which make it so hard to care sometimes. Because things that you support that affect society don’t really affect you one way or another when you’re living a comfortable life. I guess being comfortable is a kind of crutch that you rely on when you feel you can’t do anything to perpetuate the things you would like to see changed, even if they don’t affect you. It’s hard to look past your life when things are good. It’s a shame really. Because there are a lot of things in the world that we should feel uncomfortable about. Even if we fall asleep in well heated suburban homes.

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