Hey, HEY, HEYYYYYYY! I have something to say.
In recent weeks it feels like the world has lit on fire. The violence, hate, and self-righteous behavior…at least the incidences that we know of… have been exceptionally horrific.The global community is either falling apart or coming together, depending on how you’re looking at it…Online, our communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been chaotic, there’s a post a minute, it’s all happening so fast… But, just stop for a moment while you read this. Take a breathe, right now, come on, it’s good for you…I’ll wait…
With the The Black Lives Matter movement in full swing at home in Minneapolis, and the sense of horror that lingers in us after that week surrounding November 13th, and the ongoing global struggle to place Syrian Refugees, I keep seeing something I really wish I didn’t. It’s not the racial statements made from people in my rural hometown. It’s not the obvious comments of hate from oblivious white people – it’s not. Those are easy to spot, hate is plain to see. I’m writing to the people who I believe to be on my ‘side’. To my friends that are smarter than I, to my friends that read more articles than I, to my friends claiming that we all know nothing about the world (which is true, but that’s another story), to the people that err on the side of ideologies, for the people that seemingly just want to fight with the uprising of good hearted, and maybe less informed folks, this is for you.
After the Attacks on Paris, Americans responded. Arguably in the way they should have, idealistically, to hundreds of other global attacks this past year, but we didn’t. We, generally responded to just this one. Why?
My friends that know more than I, are the first to point out much of the other news we missed: Pakistan, Beirut, Baghdad. But the general public began to show support for Paris by changing their Facebook pictures. Suburban white people everywhere had updated their profile pic with a transparent image of the French Flag – and my smart friends freaking lost it. No one, to them, seemed to care about the rest of the world. This is more than frustrating, I agree, and it can be heartbreaking, no doubt. Why can’t everyone be as informed as you are?
What can we do about these massive amounts of people only knowing the information provided in a headline – so what do we do? Blame your fellow facebook friends for only following a couple news sources? Blame them for not fact checking? Blame them for not reading more articles on their lunch break? Blame them for not listening to NPR on their way home at night? How many sources should each person be checking? Do we blame them for not reading further into issues before claiming to the the internet the empathy they wish to express?
What constitutes someone to know enough to have a valuable reaction to any of the inhuman stories we’ve heard?
Riddle me that…but for now we’ll keep going, cause ya’ll seem to…
So what about blaming the media? Many of us, my friends, seem to be well aware of the media’s chosen filters for our news. So if we can get over blaming our individual ‘idiot’ friends we can start blaming the government and the lack of unbiased media outlets. Great. Let’s start making memes with Rupert Murdoch depicted as the Satan. Agreed. The media is a cloud of organized fear tactics. It freaking is. Should we keep going? Blame the government? Blame the global alliances? How far do you want to point blame? And what do we do with blame? What can we do in this moment? And who are we arguing with now? The media? Your facebook friend? Where are we in this moment now? Have we forgotten the initial horror stories that brought us here…?
My friends that are so quick to point out what we all do not know, I thank you for being a check and balance for us all as we try and navigate the world as we know it. We need you to keep doing this, we do. But as you are pointing out all the reasons why we are failing to be better participants, you not only seem to avoid the issue at hand, but are hindering the momentum of human compassion needed for change.
We may not all have the same exact views, but when the world comes together in solidarity for the great good – can you please, just shut the hell up?
You’re redirecting the point of the issue at hand. You’re separating us at a time where it matters most that we are together. We can’t control the media, we can’t control how informed or uninformed the masses are, that’s not the fight we’re fighting at the moment. So when the world comes together – let’s seize the opportunities where we do come together. What other plan do you have right now, in this very moment to enact change that you could do today? I agree so many systems need to be changed, but in these dark moments, don’t re-direct the light. Let’s not waste these moments where the powers for ‘good’ have momentum.
Amongst all the adversity, we have a chance to get something good out of the bad. There’s a chance for light to come out of the dark – a chance to ensure these tragedies are not in vain…we have to come together…you know that. We need everyone. We need momentum of the masses. How else are we to truly make a change? …the stories of humans at war with humans…the stories that aren’t about us, they are about the real people that are experiencing hate. Don’t forget that.
If we are ever going to achieve real change, we need all the momentum of human compassion we can bring together.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” – MLK