A good month ago now I got banned from a community I loved for something I didn't do.
After an awful lot of back-and-forth, frustrating communication, and backstage deal-making, I was able to work out a compromise: I'm still interested in the community, I'm still sharing my content and interacting with the content of others, and I still have access to everything in the group, but . . . my account didn't get unbanned. I'm using a new one that I rebuilt from scratch, and there are some things I earned on the previous account that I can't put back again.
And here's the thing. I was absolutely, one hundred percent not responsible for the incident I was blamed for. I was reported by some asshat who must've had it out for me (I don't know who it was) who did some kind of digital trickery to make it look like I had sent pornographic images in private chat. And when I tried to return to the community, they did it again--reported my new account for the same thing as soon as I started getting attention.
You would think, in a just world, that if you get blamed for something you didn't do, you shouldn't have to accept the punishment. But even after I did everything right, I was told by the management of the community that there was nothing they could do to unban me because nothing I said proved I had NOT done it, and the faked screenshot they had was proof enough that I did.
(Weirdly, when I called in help from above by the people who actually run the guts of the network, they said they had found no evidence that I'd committed the act and they unbanned me, but I immediately found myself banned again AND was told that my screenshots of conversations with the boss dudes were "not believable." So I guess anyone can make a digital image of me texting porn to them and that's irrefutable, but my conversation that has a case number and a real e-mail address to an authority was not good enough.)
What's the point of all this? I was right, I was targeted by a real jerk, I jumped through hoops to prove it, and nothing I did was good enough because the people who have the power to do anything about it are not playing fair.
That's not just cartoon community nonsense on the Internet, which is of little consequence in the big picture. That's the world. That's this world.
Sometimes the highest authorities do not recognize that you're right or do not accept what you offer as justification for not punishing you, even if you've done everything that should convince a reasonable person that you don't deserve it.
They are biased. And if they're powerful, nobody stops them from using that bias to exact devastating change on the less fortunate.
We think they're not allowed to take away our possessions, our property, our resources, our lives. But if they want to, they will, and they do, and if you really want to put up a fight to stop them, that costs resources we don't have. They don't even have to play the game well if they're friends with the scorekeeper. And if they lose, they get a black mark, while the person they're playing against goes to jail or loses everything or literally dies.
Someone died a couple weeks back because he didn't raise enough money to pay for his monthly insulin. He literally died because he was trying to play by the rules, get this imaginary money thing that he needed enough of to be allowed to live, and he didn't make it and he ISN'T IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE. Because to people who don't even think of him as a person, he's a freeloader who should have been able to afford healthcare somehow and he must've done something wrong if he ended up in that situation. Well ya can't take care of everybody. No, you can't! But why do we live in a country where mistakes or misfortunes or just having a more expensive life than most people through no fault of his own can literally be fatal for someone like this? How is lifesaving medicine NOT his right? Why did anyone get to decide, while ignoring that he's a person because they'll never have to look him in the eye, that he isn't worth helping?
People who think they shouldn't be responsible for public health care will surely shrug and say if he had wandered into a hospital that sick they would have had to treat him, but I have personal experience with that not being the case in my own family. Most health care that is effective is preventative anyway, and there is more to health than stopping you from literally dying of immediate emergencies. You cannot get what you need unless you can pay.
That's not fair. And that's our world.
People who have the power to change it prefer to look the other way because it's uncomfortable. Lawmakers consistently shrug their shoulders over the plight of the poor. They should've done something else to not be poor, they should've not made any of the mistakes that aren't fatal if you're rich, they should've known better than to be born or become disabled or sick or just not very smart about things that affect them.
If you have power, stop contributing to or exploiting these systems that knowingly operate on inequality. If you don't have power, use what power you do have to fight those systems in your individual life when you see them hurting someone. What have I done? Tried to give people perspective and tools through my videos when they were living in a world that taught them they were broken. Took in a homeless friend who just needed some help to get on his feet. Gave to seven charities this year. Cosigned a loan with a friend who didn't have the credit to get it on his own. Talked many people through their problems. Paid bills for people who didn't have another option. Provided free editing services to help people with a dream. I've done what I could do, staying within my means, and I don't expect to be directly rewarded for those contributions. I just think that if I can do it, I should, because the world isn't fair.
It isn't. We love to think justice prevails, fairness prevails, people get what they deserve. They do not.
They do not.
Just like my ridiculous cartoon community saga, sometimes the people who have the power to help you don't care enough to do it, refuse to do it, think you don't deserve it (or that figuring out if you do isn't worth the effort), or have biases they're not supposed to have if they hold those positions.
And sometimes, like in my saga, there is someone who is on your side who would like to help you, but isn't able to because they work within a system that isn't actually designed to do what it pretends to be there for. The system that resulted in banning me from that place is supposed to keep porn spammers from porn spamming. It is not supposed to keep out people who are there to make valuable, relevant, sincere content and have demonstrated reasonable evidence that this is all they'd ever been doing. But apparently the ridiculous possibility that I might have sent someone a lewd picture (even though I had no history of doing so and no apparent motivation) is worth punishing me by snuffing the place I've built a content hub for eight months. And it apparently did not strike anyone as bizarre or suspicious that I was accused of doing this twice more, with "proof," during the time I was trying to get someone in charge to believe I didn't do it the first time. Getting someone in trouble for sending pornography is troll 101. It should have been easy to look at my history and see someone was messing with me.
But the world isn't fair, even in places where it really should be EASY to make it fair. Sometimes you're just a dork on the Internet who wants to share your silly drawings with other dorks on the Internet, and someone wants to stop you from doing it.
And also sometimes you're a diabetic guy who can't afford insulin and nobody in charge thinks your life is unfair enough to help you live.
Do your part.