I haven’t written in awhile. There’s a lot of things I’ve been mulling over and thinking about. There’s a lot of things that have happened since I last wrote. There are new nightmares, new dreams, new causes and new wants. There is more pain, more love, more intensity and more passion. With new passion comes more sleepless nights.
I want to preface by saying that I have been guilty of doing all the things that I’m about to talk about. I have been selfish, assuming that the whole world revolves around me and my feelings and my life. I have complained about my life, finding fault in every little thing. I have felt victimized, oppressed, hated, unworthy and hopeless. I have made everything about me.
That has to change.
Shopping sprees at the mall.
Abuse of our earth.
The most critical election our country has faced.
Turning a blind eye to the problems we are facing as humanity.
Society tells us what our lives should look like. Everywhere, media shoves more and more indoctrination into our minds. Eat out. Go to every latest movie. Drive a bitchin’ car. Graduate high school. Go to college. Get a corporate job with nice suits and vacations. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Save for retirement. Retire. Never die because you have all the possessions you could ever want.
Buy this new phone because the one you bought last year is worthless. Buy fast food because it tastes good. Go out and get drunk. Spend your money on sports games. Spend your paycheck on new clothes. Avoid eye contact with the homeless man because he deserves where he is in life. Watch this movie, obsess over this TV show, get your hair done, buy that watch, consume, consume, consume.
Since the tragedy in Orlando, something has been awakened within me. Suddenly I cared about making a difference, I desperately wanted to make a difference. It felt like there would be a lasting change if we as a society only stood up and demanded that something be done. Around the same time my wife and I were turned onto the effects of climate change by one of our favorite musical artists. (Nahko Bear and Medicine for the People). These started weighing heavily on my heart.
We are starting to make small changes in our lives to combat these. We started recycling. We’ve decided to downsize our apartment and get rid of an unneeded car. We stood together, hands entwined, in the face of pure hatred being spit at us for our love. We contacted our representatives about gun violence.
But I also got an eye-opening view of the world as a whole, of the richness of our society and how much good we could do as a whole. What amazing change we could affect if we only took the time to stand for something that we believe in, that would make our neighborhoods and our worlds better places to live.
If we would only get off our ivory couches and decide that it is worth it.
I cannot be okay with living in a country where our politicians vote with their wallets and not with their conscience, where lying is commonplace and where the people’s voice no longer matters because we don’t make it matter. We are so spoiled, perpetual kids in a veritable nation of candy stores, never willing to leave those affluent places and open our eyes to see the suffering of our neighbors, the suffering of our Mother Earth. I will not be okay sitting by and watching people argue and fight on Facebook but never bothering to go out and make real change, or do anything other than hide behind our phones and keyboards and pretend that we are the righteous ones, that we are somehow better than the person next to us because our opinion is different.
I refuse to any longer sit idly by and watch the world’s oceans rise, watch the rainforests disintegrate, watch species after species die out so mankind can be comfortable. I’m weary, so tired of seeing our comfort come before others’ lives. Even taking that down to a national scale, children are being shot in places where they should be growing, lovers are being shot in places where they should be dancing, transgenders are being beaten in places where they should be loved. Religions that should be showing their god’s grace and compassion to bleeding masses are blindfolding themselves and lashing out with insults like machetes and judgement like brimstone.
We complain to each other and to the Internet about our politicians, but we can’t take fifteen minutes out of one day a year to go vote and actually enact change. We will vote for American Idols, but not for the nation that houses us. We can spend hours watching sports and exerting all our passion rooting for our favorite teams, but we can’t come up with the energy to fight for the rights of our neighbors, to fight for the freedoms our children deserve, to fight for life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.
We can drive an hour away to see a concert, but can’t take a few more minutes out of our day to recycle. We can work out at our favorite gym every morning at 6 am, but can’t be bothered to use a reusable bottle as opposed to just throwing away four or five plastic bottles. We spend an average of $2800 a year (per PERSON) on entertainment, but can only shell out $10 when there’s a tragedy, when there are real people who need real help.
I know this isn’t all of you. I just know that it was me, it was my wife, it’s friends and family and strangers. I can’t live my life knowing that I could have done something to make a difference and chose my own comfort and leisure above what really matters. People matter. Our Earth matters. Our laws matter. You matter.
We can’t continue like this. We are driving our heads further and further into the sand with every passing day that we don’t do something. It doesn’t have to be huge. It doesn’t have to take your kids’ college funds. It doesn’t have to be running for office. It doesn’t have to be quitting your job to go protest deforestation. It doesn’t have to be building wells in Africa for clean water.
It just has to be something.