Note to folks hoping to see a funny or clever obfuscated objective: There will be one tomorrow. I hope to use this blog also for personal reflections (and it’ll be tagged appropriately); today, my personal reflection is about American politics.
Top one billion, two hundred ten million, seven hundred ninety thousand reasons I don’t care about Representative Weiner’s wiener (in no particular order):
1. As of 2008, 90,000 women report being the victim of rape each year in the United States alone. That doesn’t count unreported cases. (source: CBS News)
2. 1,670,000 children in the United States alone live in households that have difficulty putting food on the table. (source: Bread for the World Institute)
3. 50,700,000 people in the United States do not have health insurance. That is both an increase in whole number (up from 46,300,000 million) and percentage (15.4 percent to 16.7 percent). (source: U.S. Census Bureau)
4. 43,300,000 people across the world have been forcibly displaced from their homes and nations of origin. (source: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
5. 1,100,000,000 people (that is one-sixth of the world population, folks) lack access to fresh drinking water. (source: World Water Council)
I’m not saying that whoever was responsible for that picture showing up on that Twitter account didn’t do something reprehensible, or that the victims (the unassuming young woman who received the picture and the congressman if his account was indeed hacked) haven’t had a pretty rough time of it. I’m also not saying that we need to drop everything and all dedicate our entire lives and purpose to try to fix the world’s problems; while that would be awesome, I’d be incredibly hypocritical, because I’m not doing that either (and I don’t possess the grace to do so at this point in my life). I’m saying that it’s shameful that in a world where the listed things are happening, we’re supporting media companies that are choosing to put a political figure’s penis at a higher priority than real issues that our government does have the ability to influence, and our media and government are responding in kind to that feedback.
Weiner is right – his scandal is a distraction. But the problem isn’t that it’s a distraction for him. The problem is that it’s a distraction for us. Every minute that we spend focusing on these events (to be fair, including the time I’ve spent writing this post) is a minute that we lose sight of and ignore those who genuinely need our help and attention. And those people who are hurt by our distraction have nothing to do with who posted a picture of what on Twitter (heck, most of them don’t even know what Twitter is), and it’s absolutely unfair to those suffering human beings for us to put our focus on a politician’s junk.
Thanks for listening to the rant. I will return to the funny tomorrow.