Bombs, Gas Prices, and Gaslighting

Bomb Cartoon - Free vector graphic on PixabayWith US inflation afoot, I’ve seen a surprising number of sentiments on social media along the lines of … Americans paying more at the pump isn’t nearly as bad as bad Russians pumping bombs into residential neighborhoods in Ukraine, so offer it up.

It wasn’t long before I also saw some backlash. Ukraine sympathizers, according to one commenter, were just gaslighting people with serious complaints about inflation. Hey! Inflation is serious. (Yes it is.) Blame elected leaders. (Though why one wouldn’t blame unelected CEO’s–historically these guys are sometimes dictators not unlike Mr Putin, enriching themselves at the expense of the 99%.)

I’m reminded of my favorite quote from Thomas Aquinas:

To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.

Is inflation a wrong inflicted on First World consumers? Maybe I would agree. Does it hit some people worse than others? It would seem so.

File:Gas street lamp in the Old Town of Prague 04.JPGMaybe it means a rich person pays for herself plus the next person at the gas pump. Maybe it means letting someone else complain about our trials and sufferings?

Is it gaslighting for a Ukraine supporter to tell someone in a budget squeeze to consider the alternative? I think that’s a stretch. Some people’s problems are worse than others. Objectively, a person in a war zone is having a tougher time of it than someone thousands of miles away. Instead of complaining about one’s political party of non-choice, is it more helpful to co-write an angry letter to Darren Woods? If his company’s prices are going up, can we accuse him of being a war profiteer? I don’t think that’s accusing him of being crazy. But it might be overly simplistic. Or maybe it’s the shareholders’ collective fault.

Either way, I don’t have a problem with the thank-God-you’re-not-in-Ukraine meme. I also don’t think it’s bad to protest against inflation. Maybe it’s all one big seamless garment of wool the 1% is attempting to pull over the eyes of the 99%.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Politics, The Blogosphere. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bombs, Gas Prices, and Gaslighting

  1. Liam says:

    Well, as a gloss on bearing wrongs, the Litany of Humility may be a good if intimidating inventory for Lent – none of which requires enabling injury to third parties:

    O Jesus! Meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

    From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, O Jesus. [repeat after each line in next group]
    From the desire of being loved,
    From the desire of being extolled,
    From the desire of being honored,
    From the desire of being praised,
    From the desire of being preferred to others,
    From the desire of being consulted,
    From the desire of being approved,
    From the fear of being humiliated,
    From the fear of being despised,
    From the fear of suffering rebukes,
    From the fear of being calumniated,
    From the fear of being forgotten,
    From the fear of being ridiculed,
    From the fear of being wronged,
    From the fear of being suspected,

    That others may be loved more than I,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be esteemed more than I,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be chosen and I set aside,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be preferred to me in everything,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

    Amen.

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