I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I think things are beyond repair. Our society has become a fractured shadow of itself. Racism, sexism, homophobia, misogyny, ableism, and ageism have been given license to flourish. As Afrika Bambaataa (with John Lydon) sang in World Destruction, “This is a world destruction/Your life ain't nothing/The human race is becoming a disgrace/The rich get richer/The poor are getting poorer/Fascist, chauvinistic government fools/People, Moslems, Christians and Hindus/Are in a time zone just searching for the truth/Who are you to think you're a superior race?/Facing forth your everlasting doom.” People have come up with ways to distance themselves from this vitriol by commandeering tropes associated with the past. Go back to where you came from resurrects a time that was considered the past. It never went away. It is just being seen as acceptable by those who now feel free to revel in their bigotry and hate. What was once hidden is now being celebrated.
And that is just how we feel about people. Gun violence is rampant (two mass shooting is 24 hours—El Paso and Dayton). Pharmaceutical companies are jacking up the price of drugs to turn a greater profit for shareholders. People are working full time jobs and can’t make ends meet. Wall Street prospers and people say that things are great. The poor are rejected. Jobs are being created, but they are jobs that don’t allow people to pay bills.
I am losing hope.
But, it is not gone.
I think the biggest problem we have now isn’t money or bigotry or hate or violence. It is our humanity. People are losing their humanity. And with it all other things fall. People are becoming obsessed with being right over thinking through issues. People jump on bandwagons. People don’t care about facts. People just want things to fit their narrative, damned be the truth. Because we were brought up with the mindset of competition, winning, and having the most, we have become so self-centered and self-indulgent that we see the world with blinders.
Of course, I am not speaking about everyone. I am talking about the country. As a whole. And, yes. This includes a lot of people.
Obviously, there are those who directly do these things. They are racist. Homophobic. Misongynistic. Violent. Bigoted. Will listen to anything as long as it fits their life.
But, it is the other side that troubles me more. Those that don’t care. Those that are indifferent. Those that don’t vote. Those that don’t do anything. Those filled with apathy.
Because of this, I believe we are beyond hope. We live in a time of desperation. So many people are so scared. And they are told to be scared. Be scared of those that are different. Be scared that you won’t be able to protect yourself. Be scared that you will be poor (or poorer). Be scared of your health. And why?
Because someone can come in and say, they will fix it. Fix all your fears.
In doing so, they will give you someone to blame. They will tell you why you are scared. They will lie just to create an agenda. He will control your thoughts.
In the movie The American President, Michael Douglas’ character makes the following statement when talking about the problems in the U.S.; “[My opponent] is interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character….”
And that is where we are.
And when it fails, there is a long list of people to blame.
“I tried to fix the problems, but there are immigrants, LGBTQIA people, liberals, socialists, Muslims, Latinx citizens, the poor, and….”
“It is their fault. If they agreed, all of this would be fixed.”
“It is not my fault. I tried. Blame them.”
And it is working.
But, I have hope.
There are people that are fighting back. There are people that are being loud. There are people that are teaching great things about social justice, diversity, and equity. There are people that are planning and organizing and working for change.
But, it isn’t enough.
The other side is louder. And constant. And tweeting.
So, I ask you. What can you do? How can you help? How can you use your voice? It is not okay to let this go on. Take a stand. Show this is wrong.
What can you do?
With the exception of a year, I have been a teacher or a student for my entire life. I have taught on many different levels. I have been a middle school teacher (okay, for one semester for student teaching...because of this, I have a profound respect for middle school teachers), high school, undergraduates and graduate students. I have coached soccer in youth leagues and high school. Education is in my blood.