Thursday, September 13, 2012

We have got to stop ASSUMING others want our help

Walking to work today, I saw something unexpected: a man tried to offer money to a homeless women, and was promptly refused. (It’s always amusing to see the look on people’s faces when this happens - a mixture of surprise and offense: “How dare you not accept my charity?!”) I can’t guess what goes on in that woman’s mind, and I won’t make a poetic attempt to do so, but I couldn’t ignore the fact that she was sitting next to the leftovers of her McDonald’s breakfast - don’t want to judge, but don’t know what to make of that.

Anyways, that reminded me of watching The Newsroom yesterday and how Will McAvoy, as part of his quest to civilize the world, bullies a black, gay interviewee for supporting GOP presidential-hopeful Rick Santorum in that typically smug way we all have - admit it, you do it too - of assuming we know what’s best for “those less fortunate” and that we militants have to protect the minorities we fight for.

And I’m not just talking about the P.C. left here. The right also has its screwed up, self-righteous notions of charity that are equally patronizing - the only difference is that they believe private initiative should do the protecting whereas the left portrays it as a civil right. Then again, maybe I’m just letting my critical thinking be too influenced by the black-and-white worldview of American politics (which is in itself based on the belief that it is “America’s” duty to civilize others as "leader of the free world", but that’s a subject for another post - recommended reading in the meantime: Democracy Kills).

I was going to expand and suggest a change in attitude, but I started using expressions like “self-determination”, so that put me off.

But I’d love to hear people’s views on The Newsroom. The jury’s still out for me on how much the Hollywood glamourization and the American self-righteousness of it bother me…