Today is my blogathon, for SSA week, benefiting the Secular Student Alliance!
The SSA is an organization dedicated to promoting the values of secularism, critical and scientific inquiry, reason, humanist ethics and skepticism for college students across the United States.
They help support campus organizations and groups devoted to these principles, through literature, outreach, organization, hands-on assistance, events, speakers, and all kinds of goodness. Generally, they do everything they can to support a new generation of critical, compassionate, curious, skeptical and questioning students grow to help take our society where it needs to go, into a future ruled on more than assumptions, dogmas and biases.
One of the coolest things about youth is open-mindedness. When we’re young, we don’t have a lifetime of training and received wisdom and “common sense” weighing down on us and holding back our ability to look at things from all kinds of different angles and perspectives. In terms of moving past the various irrational biases and assumptions that hold our culture, society and world back from growth and progress into being a more compassionate, understanding, open and wondrous place, we stand a much better chance promoting new values amongst new generations rather than beating our fists against the stubborn, entrenched beliefs of the cultural order already in place.
Fighting for a better world takes time. We get there when generations who were raised to believe in the beauty and value of science, curiousity in wonder, to believe that there’s not much future in allowing a single book to define the entirety of our beliefs, that we don’t need to strictly apply the moralities of an ancient society to a changing world, that race doesn’t dictate a human being’s worth, that love and desire and sex can be beautiful or great or just fun in all kinds of different ways, that a woman’s body is her’s to make her own decisions about, that one’s sexual biology does not determine their destiny or being or potential, that there’s more than one kind of ability or mind or intelligence, that gender occurs in a broad and diverse range of variation that we’re all the richer for experiencing… we get there when generations raised to believe these things come to inherit our culture from those who came before.
Yes, this is trite as all hell. But I mean every word. If you want me to frame it in a more palatably cynical way: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Or more accurately: it’s a lot easier to let a puppy grow into an awesome, badass super-dog than untrain the bad habits an old dog learned from its previous family.
That’s why organizations like the SSA are important. Because youth really are our best bet for shaping a better future.
I’ll be dead honest. It’s not this world, or this generation, I fight for. You can all go fuck yourselves (kidding! You know I love you <3). But seriously, the biggest reason I do my best to carry on with what I do, despite the slow, grinding exhaustion, is in the hope that I can help, in whatever small way, make it so things will be a little less awful for the trans people who come after us. Maybe even someday not awful at all.
I do it in the hope that for some other clever, angry trans girl somewhere down the road, it won’t be necessary.
We gradually nudge our shared cultural values in the right direction, bit by bit, generation by generation.
And bit by bit, generation by generation, it can get better.
Also… really… there isn’t a single part of me that doubts the importance that social justice and human rights, and science, critical inquiry, secularism and skepticism, have to one another. These values, when critically understood and honestly embraced, are one and the same. Skepticism has absolutely no excuse not to address social concerns (bigotry and discrimination are not merely “subjective” political questions, they are founded on objective falsehoods and irrational biases), and social justice activism that doesn’t engage in critical self-reflection, and pay careful attention to evidence and consequences, will inevitably become more destructive than beneficial.
So, like lots of FTB bloggers, and secular, atheist, skeptic and humanist bloggers and vloggers and all kinds of oggers all around the ogospheres, I’m participating in SSA Week to help raise awareness (and money) for this awesome organization!
I will be writing one post each and every hour for the next twenty-four consecutive hours, from Saturday, 9am Pacific, June 16th, to Sunday, 9am Pacific, June 17th. 24 posts in 24 hours!
To support this ludicrous public display of masochism and excess, you can support my efforts by donating to the SSA through the cute little fancy widget thingy over in the right hand menu!
At the very least, I hope that once the sleep deprivation begins to set in, and my words gradually become a soup of disoriented madness and ooze-of-semi-consciousness, your pity will inspire whatever donations my once valiant marathoning failed to elicit.
This is the last weekend of SSA, so this is the last chance to hit our goal-post of $100,000!!! So as additional incentive, I’ll be taking some requests on topics! If you’ve donated at least $20, and have something you’d particularly like me to write about, which won’t demand research-and-reading-time (which I won’t, obviously, have), send a tweet to my twitter account @nataliereed84. I won’t be able to take every request, but I will be periodically pulling from the suggestions as the longest 24 hours ever slowly, slowly
s l o w l y
Let’s make this happen, everyone! I already know you’re a generous bunch.
<3 <3 <3