“Just deal with it.”
Among the protests, calls for action and demonstrations of democracy are two generations of people seeking to not just rise above the status quo, but also destroy it. While it wouldn’t be completely fair to say that older generations aren’t there for the ride, it’s undeniable that the cries for change come primarily from young people. With every push for change, however, there’s going to be a shove right back against it.
Of course you’re going to get people that disagree from a scale of ‘I don’t see it that way but I see your point’ and ‘you’re the devil and will bring the end of the world in your wake for believing that’. But there’s something troubling among the arguments – a distinctly pessimistic way of thinking: the belief that some of the most troubling things in life are simply inevitable and cannot be changed.
You’ll find that many points of view hinge on apocalyptic thinking – that changing something will result in the world falling apart. Almost every advancement in technology in the last century had come with a myriad of theories as to how those technologies would ruin society, gay marriage will end the human race, transgender bathrooms will cause a crisis in sex crimes, stronger gun control means all guns will be melted down into statues of Barack Obama – it’s fear-mongering that’s existed for centuries.
While inevitability is a similar line of thinking, though, instead of pushing back by saying what the change will result in disaster, it asserts that change shouldn’t happen at all because life is hard and you shouldn’t try to make it easier. Or, alternatively, instead of trying to change the system, you should find ways to deal with the system.
This thinking is what teaches women how to prevent their own rape instead of teaching boys not to rape, telling people of color how to navigate life knowing they’re constantly at a disadvantage instead of tearing down systematic racism, and telling members of the LGBTQ+ community that they ‘chose the wrong lifestyle’ instead of attempting to eliminate the bias against them.
“Just deal with it.”
What’s incredibly depressing about such thinking is the lack of faith, not just in the people protesting but that change can happen at all. A genuine push to better the lives of others is seen as whining, complaining, pointless crying even if a very real solution exists that could make everyone happier. Yet the same people suggest solutions that don’t end the problem but just make is slightly easier to deal with the problem.
What happened to tackling the problem at the source?
People are expected to deal with a systematic issue on their own, and they’re blamed when they don’t take such measures even when they’re completely ineffective. Your friends got shot in a school shooting? You should have been nicer to the shooter. You were sexually assaulted? You shouldn’t have been wearing that outfit. You’re tuition is too high? You should have opened a lemonade stand and got enough quarters to pay it.
If you call on local or federal government to work toward solving a problem, you’re whining again. It’s your problem – not theirs. If someone was trapped in a burning house, you wouldn’t just attempt escape the house on your own, you’d call on services to help put out the fire.
You’re responsible if you call the people who’s job it is to put out a fire, so why are you whining if you ask congress members to solve a problem that harms millions of people?
“Just deal with it.”
You don’t eliminate a cancer with Band Aids. You don’t end gun violence by ‘being nice to people more’ or knowing CPR. You don’t prevent rape by not wearing that short dress. You don’t solve a problem by pretending it isn’t there.
People shouldn’t be looked down on for trying to solve a problem from the source, and they shouldn’t be seen as stupid for seeking solution though systematic change. As long as people believe inequality is inevitable, change will be contested, and protestors will be seen as whiners, and generations will be so hopeless they get angry at people who have hope.