I was recently reminded of this as I posted something on Facebook regarding merit pay. Perhaps the most interesting/amusing part to me was that it was posted by my aunt, who must have assumed I was whinging. Now, she and my dad shared the same father so I’m assuming her “life isn’t fair” comment was from the same root as my dad’s “life isn’t fair” comments. However, she couldn’t see that I was already abundantly aware of the fact. It’s as if she was handing me my Gospel that I’d forgotten to pick up. No, honey, I already had it. It’s deeply ingrained and indoctrinated just like being a little early (because on time is really bordering on late) and if it doesn’t hurt you to help, why aren’t you helping. I am the product of my parents.
What I find most curious about the assertion, however, was the idea that we MUST accept that this is how life is, how life has always been, and how life will always be. I find it interesting that it’s said at times when people are most aggrieved at injustice. As if saying so excuses doing things that aren’t right. I don’t accept this thinking AT ALL. Way deep down inside of me is a Don Quixote-Sisyphus hybrid masochist who has embraced Camus’ assertion that we must “Imagine Sisyphus happy.” It’s true, I am happy (if you can call it that) tilting at windmills and righting wrongs.
I am a thwarted superhero.
Just because life isn’t fair doesn’t mean that we, ourselves, should act in an unfair manner. Just because life is unfair doesn’t mean we should rejoice in others’ pain. Just because life is unfair doesn’t mean that we should perpetuate any unfair act. Just because life is unfair doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work to change it. It seems to me that if we adamantly assert that LIFE IS UNFAIR then we have some work to do.
In the great tradition of democratic equality (irony ignored for the time being), Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and the Suffragettes we need to continue working on a world where deliberate, unfair scapegoating does not occur. Sure, it doesn’t make for sexy text or good arguments on Fox TV. It does make for a world in which we could all be equal. Where life IS fair.
Animal Farm is not just about communism; although we like to think so. It’s about ANY political system that elevates one group over another, is oppressive, and has no moral conscience about having done so. Life may not be fair, but that doesn’t mean we have to take that lying down. We can change our destiny rather than accepting the status quo.
I, for one, will continue to tilt at that windmill. For doing so, like knowing that life is not fair, is a deep-rooted part of my DNA. I got it from my parents. And they are PROUD of me when I stand up to injustice.