Sara, we need to talk. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. About us. I really like you, but ever since we met in that sociology class in college there’s been something standing in the way of our love: society. We can try to pretend that our love stands apart from the world around us, but we both know that we are fundamentally inseparable from external circumstances. And given the amount of injustice in the world right now, I’m afraid this isn’t working out.
I don’t want to hurt you, but we are being hurt every second by unfairness all around us. Right now, at this moment, there are migrant workers in China who are protesting for wage arrears. Wage arrears! I just don’t have time right now to support both a relationship with you and the petition campaign to call attention to the plight of these migrant workers.
It’s not you, it’s me. Well, it’s not me, either: it’s everything else, basically.
Ever since I read Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, I realized our entire relationship is built on the backs of the oppressed. Our love for each other is just another way in which we are marginalizing the powerless. We need to spread that love to random African children or those migrant workers in China, who, if I can remind you, have still not been paid their wage arrears. They are already fighting against the lack of a fully developed legal system; they shouldn’t also need to fight against our relationship, which is further keeping them down.
It reminds me of the famous saying: “First they came for the communists, and I did not post on Facebook about it. Then they came for the migrant workers looking for wage arrears, and I did not post on Twitter about it. Then they came for me, and everyone else was too involved in a meaningful romantic relationship to save me.” I will not let that happen.
I feel like we both knew that this relationship was not going to last. Last month, when you asked me to please take a shower, I realized that you did not understand that California faces an extreme water crises, and therefore that we could not be together. I would love to take a shower, and thus be allowed to sleep in the same room as you, but I won’t be complicit in humanity’s refusal to acknowledge global environmental damage. You often criticize my failure to lower the toilet seat after I use the bathroom, but, when viewed in the context of this worldwide ecological catastrophe, I know that I am standing on the right side of history.
If you’re looking for someone who balances their dedication to improving the world with the demands of normal society — well, I’m not that guy. As long as Colin Kaepernick is kneeling for the National Anthem, I will not be able to kneel down and give you a ring — by which I mean I am taking a powerful stand against the marriage-industrial complex by not asking you to marry me. It’s not my fear of commitment, but rather yet another consequence of the global neoliberal order that has made the rich richer at the expense of the poor.
I can tell that you’re upset; I’m upset, too, at how much injustice there is in the world.
I encourage you to think about the positives: Although we recently talked about starting a family, we can take solace in the fact that, by ending our relationship, we no longer have to worry about accidentally bequeathing such injustice to future generations. You often complain about how I never want to have sex, but when I say “I’m not in the mood,” I mean it; I’m not in the mood for perpetuating the status quo of oppression to our potential future children. If we are truly committed to saving the world, we have no choice but to go our separate ways.
I cannot imagine life without you, Sara, but I know it’s the right thing to do in such a flawed and unjust world. As I cry quietly to myself in the bathroom, sitting lonely and naked on the toilet staring blankly at social media, I will take solace in knowing that I am truly taking a stand for the migrant workers who have not received their wage arrears.
I have to go now — there are 72 followers waiting for me to hate-tweet about Donald Trump. You might think this is unproductive, but don’t blame me: blame structural power imbalances that further oppress the marginalized. It’s not me — it’s an unjust world.