My thoughts on Virginia bills HB812 and SB517: Hurting other people is the opposite of moral righteousness

For the past four years, our society has carried out action after action with no purpose other than to hurt me. And not just to hurt me, but to hurt me as badly as possible. There is nothing positive about any of these actions, no reason for them, no way in which they make the world better, no way in which any person benefits from them, other than people who value, for its own sake, the suffering of those who are different from them. Of course, the people who take these actions do not know me personally, and therefore their intention is not to hurt me specifically, by name. But their intention is to hurt people like me: people who are different from them and different from the majority.

A self-righteous post about Black History Month that I recently saw on social media pompously characterized such actions as “changes that benefit us all.” But nothing could be further from the truth. These changes do not benefit me; they harm me. They have caused, and continue to cause, pain that is so excruciating and so unbearable that it cannot be put into words. These changes have involved the destruction of everything that makes my life worth living. To characterize the destruction of what makes my life worth living as “benefitting us all” is to characterize me as somehow not a person.

Virginia bills HB812 and SB517, filed recently, are yet additional examples of this demoralizing trend. 

It is incomprehensible to me that anyone would think that it is a good thing to inflict as much pain as possible on other people. But clearly, our society as a whole thinks exactly this, because individuals, groups, organizations, companies, and governments at every level continue to do this, and continue to be praised for doing so. For reasons that are utterly incomprehensible, people who have already inflicted excruciating and unbearable pain on me, and who advocate for even more pain to be inflicted, hold the moral high ground in the eyes of society. 

What does it say about me, that hurting me as badly as possible is considered the measure of moral righteousness in our society? 

Do I really deserve a life of repeated and endless torment because I dress differently from most people, talk differently, move differently, do my hair differently, think differently, perceive the world differently, experience emotions differently, have different interests?

Do I really deserve to be morally condemned because I liked to organize and rank my toys, as opposed to engaging in role-playing and imaginative play? Because I wasn’t able to learn how to ride a bike, or hit a baseball with a bat, or keep a conversation going? Because I enjoy writing and drawing and reading and making paper dolls, as opposed to socializing?

For the “crime” of loving historical figures as opposed to the human beings that I know in real life, do I really deserve the death penalty?

It seems that our society has decided precisely that.

For as long as I can remember, I have been criticized by others. I’ve been criticized for the way that I talk, the words that I use, my tone of voice, the way that I stand, the way that I sit, the way that I play, the clothes that I wear, the shoes that I wear, the way I wear my socks, the hairstyles that I wear, the way I wash my hair, the way I wash my face, the way I put sunscreen on, the fact that I don’t socialize enough, the fact that I told a friend I had plans when she invited me to her pool, the fact that I brought a stuffed animal with me to a school assembly… the list is endless. 

Every time that I am criticized, it hurts. It inflicts pain on me. Growing up, every time that I was criticized, I hid the fact that it hurt. I smiled, nodded, apologized when I hadn’t done anything wrong, and pretended that everything was fine when it wasn’t. Other people had all of the power, and I had none, so I felt that I had no choice. 

But I didn’t deserve to be hurt. I didn’t deserve to be criticized. And I don’t deserve to be hurt or criticized now, either. My body and mind work differently from other people’s, and there is nothing wrong with that. I am just as good as other people, my wishes and preferences and happiness just as important, my perspective just as valid. 

I don’t fit in with other people. I am a rebel, a non-conformist, an underdog. That’s why I identify with the Confederacy. That’s why historical figures are so important to me. I am the Confederacy, and the Confederacy is me. 

When someone hurts the Confederacy, that person hurts me. Every time that a statue is vandalized, torn down, or removed. Every time that a historical artifact is destroyed or damaged. Every time that a holiday is canceled. Every time that a building, street, or cemetery is renamed. Every time that a license plate featuring a historical figure is recalled, or a historical organization stripped of its tax-exempt status, as the despicable bills known as HB812 and SB517 would do. Every time that a person even suggests doing any of these things, or introduces a piece of legislation that would do any of these things, or insinuates that doing any of these things is even remotely good.

All of these things hurt me. All of these things inflict harm and pain.

Upon hearing about Virginia bills HB812 and SB517, my stomach feels sick. My chest feels tight. My limbs feel heavy, as if they are made of lead. My very soul feels as if it’s being eviscerated. My entire being is torn apart, my mind inundated with a mixture of horror, grief, and rage so excruciating that it cannot be put into words. I’ve experienced this pain again and again over the past four years, every time that someone hurts the Confederacy and therefore me. I’ve experienced this pain again and again as a direct result of other people’s actions.

For reasons that I cannot comprehend, our society considers it morally good for people to cause this suffering.

I’m exhausted and my heart hurts. Why do people think that it is good to do this to another human being? I’m tired of having to explain myself, tired of being called a racist, tired of being called ignorant, disgusting, gross, privileged, entitled. I’m tired of being ridiculed, my words and my perspective and my very existence being treated as a joke.

Most of all, I’m tired of society treating the people who are hurting me as holding the moral high ground, and me as the one deserving of condemnation. 

It is the ultimate in moral bankruptcy to view hurting another person as morally righteous, while viewing the person being hurt as lacking in character and in need of change, education, and correction. 

People who have families, intimacy, friendships, belonging, and social status have decided to take actions, again and again, that serve no purpose other than to beat up on those who have none of those things. Unable to relate to, or be accepted by, other human beings, I’ve treasured historical figures and statues as the only things that make my life worth living. Only to be forced to watch as people who have no idea what it’s like to struggle in the way that I have, systematically obliterate these historical figures from the world, bit by excruciating bit, in the most vicious and brutal manner imaginable, all while portraying themselves as “oppressed” and their victims as “privileged.” All while portraying themselves as fighting for justice, for freedom, for equality. All while claiming that their despicable actions are being done in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion. And all while being looked upon as morally righteous in the eyes of society.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am the one who is truly disadvantaged, and the destroyers of everything that makes life worth living are the ones who are truly privileged, benefitting from unearned advantages that I don’t have access to. 

Hurting people who have done nothing wrong is the opposite of justice, the opposite of freedom, the opposite of equality. 

Hurting people who are different from the majority, merely by virtue of being different from the majority, is the opposite of diversity, the opposite of equity, and the opposite of inclusion.

Inflicting harm and pain, to the maximum extent that you possibly can, is the opposite of moral righteousness. 

All of this is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be stated, but apparently it does. 

Our society has given the moral high ground to cowardly, sadistic bullies merely because they have the numbers, the influence, and the power. Their cruelty is treated as understandable at best, and noble at worst, when in reality it is none of these things. Society has decided to condemn me to a life of torment for the “crime” of being different.

People mindlessly repeat hackneyed platitudes such as the claim that I am “on the wrong side of history” or that “the arc of history bends towards justice.” As if how old or new an idea is, or how many people support it, has anything to do with whether it is right or wrong. (News flash: it doesn’t.)

Now I am 34, and I have been hurt far more than I ever deserved. I have done more than a lifetime’s worth of pretending that it was fine for other people to hurt me, and that people’s unacceptable words and actions were acceptable. I am not going to do this anymore.

Every time someone hurts the Confederacy, thereby hurting me, I am going to speak out.

I am going to state, forcefully and unequivocally, that their actions are unacceptable, even if I am the only person stating it.

I am going to speak the objective moral truth, even if I am the only one speaking it.

I am going to stand up for myself and for the Confederacy, even if I stand alone. That is the purpose of this blog.