Needed to be said.
I don’t have to tell you that Steubenville is all over the news.
I don’t have to tell you that it’s a fucking joke that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, the two teenagers convicted of raping a sixteen year old girl, were only sentenced to a combined three years in juvenile prison. Each will serve a year for the rape itself; Mays will serve an additional year for “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.”
I probably don’t even have to tell you that the media treatment of this trial has been a perfect, if utterly sickening, example of rape culture, with its focus on how difficult and painful this event has been for the rapists who raped a sixteen year old girl then bragged about it on social media.
And I almost certainly don’t have to tell you that the world is full of seemingly nice, normal…
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You know, there’s an interesting corollary to this that is cropping up in the gay marriage debate. There are these Republicans who are now coming out in favor of gay marriage. Rob Portmann is one of them. He’s being applauded for his sudden change of heart, for his empathy, for his willingness to break with the Republican orthodoxy. The only problem is that he only came to the truth on this issue because his son is gay and he realized he couldn’t/shouldn’t deprive his own son of the opportunity that marriage presents.
As a commenter on Andrew Sullivan’s blog (andrewsullivan.com) pointed out … that’s not empathy, that’s selfishness. It’s empathy when you want something for people you don’t know, for people who aren’t related to you.
Thank you for sharing this post. It’s a reminder of a simple thing. When people can care about the person who lives 2,000 miles away that they don’t know. That’s humanity. But caring about your wife, sister or girlfriend … or about your son who happens to be gay … that’s not.
Damn. I feel a blog post coming on.
That post is gonna be a good one, I can tell. Watch Bill Maher from this week too–he covers the same point as well. You are right–when we only care if something happens to or in some way effects people we know and love, that’s tribal, caveman thinking. We should not have to know someone on that level to put a human face to the issue.
Sounds like an opened wound somewhere–stuff that poetry is made from–some anyway.>KB
True, KB. I for one am thankful that all poetry is not angry, or sad.