Middle Class Outrage & First World Problems
As I read through twitter, and I’m amused by pictures of peoples cats, read through news links and see people’s sandwiches, I’m also struck by the amount of outrage over petty stuff. At least most of those people know they’re being wankers by putting the little hashtag #FirstWorldProblems Then there are the people who are genuinely upset over things. Normally things that irritate me. Maybe that’s why their tweets stick out. So it’s my turn to be outraged on the internet. Oh, the irony,
I’ve learnt a few things in life. Some because of situations I’ve been in, others because of my work. Others because they should just be common sense.
Two things that strike me the most, besides the amount of absolutely worthless people on Twitter who obviously have nothing better to do all day that to cyber bully people, is the amount of whining that people do about stuff they could probably just go out and fix. Or at least do something other than sit on the computer all day and complain.
I understand not everyone is given access to all the information they need to make an informed decision all the time. However, usually a little Googling will give you some knowledge. I for example, work in Border Security. I don’t get to carry a gun and sit on the line like others in my facility do. Instead, I’m a desk jockey, writing reports, working with intel and watching the cameras. I get to call the guy on the line and give him a heads up about what’s coming. I understand I get access to information that gives me a completely different opinion than most on what goes on on a border. It’s not all refugees seeking a better life. It’s not all poor Mexicans coming to pick lettuce. For the most part, it’s not even Mexicans. It’s drug and currency runners, and other people who are running the border because they can’t get a visa because they’ve been deported 3 times for rape or murder charges. So when I read tweets about those poor, poor people who are just looking for a better life, I’m a lot more skeptical than most. I know why people don’t apply for visas. I know why people pay people smugglers. I know why people “loose” their documents. What pisses me off more though than middle class folks who want to complain about the big bad government protecting their rights by wanting immigrants to go through proper channels is how people complain about their government. Your government is protecting you. They’re trying to make sure the person who was already busted on 5 felonies who then escaped isn’t coming back to kill your kids. They’re making sure they’re not terrorists trying to pass themselves off as refugees. Also, if you’re so damn upset about the rights of said refugees, you could do something about it. Instead of complaining on twitter, or writing some snarky blog about how awful things are, get off your arse and go do something about it. I wonder how many of the complainers have bothered to go sign up and do some volunteering? When I lived in Australia, I went and did a course at TAFE that certified you to teach ESL to new migrants. It was free and only took a couple of days a week. Here, I joined a medical unit in the guard. Every year, they do a big trip to the border where they provide free medical care to people who can’t afford it. It’s right before school goes back. They give free shots to kids and adults. They do health screenings for the adults. They provide translators for those who can’t speak English. It’s all free. The people in the Guard don’t get paid. They sign up because they want to give back to their community. When there’s a fire or hurricane, the guard goes out and sets up shelters. They provide food, shelter and medical care. Instead of complaining on twitter, go join some organization that actually does something to help people.
Then there are people that complain the other way. If someone says something, like they were bummed they couldn’t afford the new iPad, some other internet hero will lambast them with how other people are starving in 3rd world countries and they shouldn’t be complaining about a lack of an iPad. I wonder if these people have ever lived in a 3rd world country. Not just visited some tourist town, but actually lived. I spent a year in Honduras. It’s the 2nd poorest country in the Western World (behind Haiti) and has the highest murder rate in the world. People there might not have had solid walls, but they all had cable TV…. People who wanted to work found work. Even if it was pushing an ice-cream cart. Others just wanted to sit at home and watch novelas all day and send their kids out to beg for money. Yes, Honduras sucked. However, if you choose not to get a job, I choose not to give your kids money on the street. I don’t need some middle class suburbanite telling me I’m an awful because I choose to have a job and choose not to hand over my hard earned money to someone who watches TV all day. If I want nice things, and I work hard to buy nice things, I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for it.It’s not much different on the south side of San Antonio. People come to the mall with their kids. They’ve got tattoos all over. They’re wearing a bunch of gold. They’re paying cash for perfume. Their kids have black teeth. Those people will complain the can’t afford to take their kids to the dentist. They can, it’s just not on their priority list.
Lastly, I want to touch on Needs, Wants and Rights.
People just can’t seem to grasp the difference between a need and a want. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you need it. When I worked promos, the amount of people who told me they needed another sample, or shirt, or free trinket amazed me. They’d say, I need another one. I need it for my sister, and I need another one for my Aunt, and one for my cousin. If I run out, they’d say, well give me your shirt. Seriously, I had people who literally wanted the shirt off my back. I’m giving you something for free, which you’re either going to throw away, or go around the corner and sell. It’s free shit. It’s not stuff you need. Same thing applies for that cute designer handbag, shoes or any other luxury item. Needs are basic stuff, like shelter, food, water. Then there are rights. A lot of people need to read up on what their rights really are. Or what other peoples rights are in other countries before they start complaining.
For example, the US is not a signatory on the UN refugee program. They don’t have to take anyone as a refugee. Australians are not guaranteed the right to free speech. People seem to think because something applies in one country, it’s true for ALL English speaking countries. No country has to give you a tourist visa. It’s up to that country to decide if they want to let you in or not. Just because you want to visit a country, doesn’t mean you have a right to.
Lastly, there’s Need to Know. People seem to think they have a right and a need to know everything. Just look at the Wikileaks fanatics. Actually, people don’t have a right or a need to know everything. Especially when it’s sensitive information that could put other people’s lives in jeopardy. Just because you’re interested in knowing the details of something, doesn’t mean you have the right to hack somebody’s computer and find out. (Or hacking their voicemail) Your interest in a subject is not more important than making sure justice is done. It’s not more important that keeping other people safe. When the time is right, and it’s safe for everyone, information will be released. It’s not like Joe Public reads that stuff anyway. Shit, even most journalists don’t actually do any research on their own these days. For the most part, it’s the bad guys who are reading over the classified stuff. Yes, there’s plenty of stuff we get at work marked classified that I don’t think should be, I think it would be in the public interest for people to know. But where do you draw the line? It’s not my decision to decide what gets released and what doesn’t. I accept that there’s a reason it’s not being released. Just like my case. There are some details that have been released, and some stuff people will just have to wait till we go to court to hear about. Just because you’re interested in the details, doesn’t mean we’re going to spill the beans on everything before justice is done. Some things need to stay confidential till it’s over. I know that goes against my first point of educating yourself before ranting, but sometimes people just talk about stuff they have no business getting involved in. There’s also the hypocritical factor. Why is it not OK for News of the World to hack celebrities phones but it is OK to steal State secrets? Are the private messages of Hugh Grant really more important and need protecting than where a platoon of troops is? If you’re going to advocate for one, you have to accept the other.
Well, now that’s I’ve been that crazy person I’ve been bitching about, and I’ve vented and feel better, I’m going out. Tomorrow when I wake up and read twitter I’ll just tell myself everyone is being sarcastic when they tweet about shit, or they’re also just having a vent. If that doesn’t work, I’ll keep telling myself that ignorance is bliss and there’s lots of happy people out there.