Paradise Lost

The Paradise this title refers to is not biblical. And it was not lost through anyone's sin.

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That said, consider what the biblical Paradise meant to Adam and Eve. They wanted for nothing; they struggled not at all; they had all that they could want or need; they were not persecuted by anyone. To them, Paradise was just same old, same old. They didn't know anything else existed. They didn’t know there was a hell just outside their bubble.

On earth, in this imperfect world, the closest we come to paradise is the reduction of things we don't want and a struggle for what will make us feel safe and happy.

For far too long, life for heterosexual, cisgender, white men has been much closer to earthly paradise than for anyone not in this privileged group.

Already I can hear protests from many of these men. They insist they are not privileged. They insist they work hard to get where they are. They refuse to see that they treat anyone not in their group differently from how they treat each other.

There are others living in a world of privilege; it's not just men. In the United States of America, some of the privilege extends to heterosexual, cisgender, white women. I know because I am one of them.

In the past 20 years or so, those of us in the Privilege bubble have seen more and more threats to the integrity of our bubble, first in one place and then another, first a tiny pierce and then a puncture. These threats came from entitled women, from the blacks and the Latinos and the Native Americans and the lesbians and gays and (horror) the people who insist they are trans.

As these invading groups began to get traction, they began to insist that we not use disrespectful terms to refer to them. With voices dripping sarcasm, we called that "political correctness.”

The invaders began to push their way into some of our previously exclusive areas. Then came the scariest thing of all: They began to demand equality.

Those of us who had been living in the Privilege bubble didn't know—or wouldn't admit—that it was a bubble. After all, to us it had always just same old, same old. To us, it was "our America."

But, as Joni Mitchell sang, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." So it wasn't until we began to see serious punctures in our bubble that we started to scream, "PERSECUTION!"

The invaders insisted it was a demand for equality. So why did it seem like persecution to us?

It was persecution because once people who were "other" began appearing in areas where we’d never had to deal with them before, we realized that "our America" was changing. It was changing to something that included people we didn't understand, people with other viewpoints, other lifestyles, other assumptions about life. It was changing into a world where we had to consider that we are not the center of the universe.

To the privileged, equality for others feels like persecution.

And in our fear and panic, we elected as our leader a sociopath who is more like us than "they" are. Hail, The Donald.

If we think it was the “other” who threatened paradise on earth, we’re in for a very nasty surprise.