Social Issues: To Change This World
To change this society we live in, we must start with ourselves. We must take an honest look at ourselves to discover our strengths and weaknesses. We all have them, don’t we? Of course we do. That, is our commonality. All human beings, no matter who they are or where they live have both strengths and weaknesses. We are not perfect and we are never always right. We may think we are, but there will always be someone waiting to prove us wrong. How we respond to that proof is what gives us the power to create positive change in the world. We can embrace it and strive to be better or we can deflect it and allow it to become a defense that becomes a wall. Walls create division. We need to become builders of bridges instead.
“If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate.” - Elbert Hubbard
Hatred, War, and the News
Israel hates Gaza. Gaza hates Israel. The Republicans hate the Democrats and the Democrats hate the Republicans. The Jews hate the Christians and the Muslims hate the Jews. Where does it stop? How many have to die over religious, political, or racial intolerance?
I turned on the news today and on every channel, there were pictures and stories of women and children, men and the elderly dying for nothing. The death of innocent civilians in the name of hatred will not bring peace to those who will not accept that strength is found in diversity. Their efforts to change this world through hatred and violence will fail and all that will result is more death and destruction.
Throughout history, there have been those who were so sure that their way was the only way that they would kill all who stood in the way of their desire to dominate. Throughout history there has always been division and war, killing and destruction. But why? Why does there have to be a them and an us. Can there not be a “we”?
As I watched the news today, I remembered that day, on September 11th in 2001 when the attacks occurred here in the United States. Will any of us ever forget the feelings of that day; the horror we felt? The planes struck and left a path of destruction and death, but then it was over and we were left to pick up the pieces.
For days now, I have watched the news from Israel and Gaza become more intense. Journalists from around the globe are reporting increased drone attacks, more explosions, more death and destruction. Day after day the innocence of children is lost to territories torn in two by political division. Families try to sleep at night but sleep can’t come easily when your ears are turned to the sound of the next air raid siren. I find myself wondering how a mother explains the sounds of bombs, day after day, to her children. I wonder how a family living in a bomb shelter, decides when it is safe to return home. How does a grandmother find the courage to live another day when she buries her only grandchild; the result of collateral damage when two political groups are at war with each other? How?
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
We may not understand but we are not blind
I cannot pretend to understand but I think that we are naïve to think it cannot happen here in the United States. We are a country divided by political parties and there are extreme radical factions walking among us. These groups are dominated by fear and anger and they are hungry for power. Are they behind the petitions of so many states to secede from the United States? I don’t know but to me, it feels like a powder keg waiting to explode. I worry about the future our children will have if we do not find it within ourselves to be accepting and tolerant of our differences.
We are a country of individuals. Our differences can be found in the color of our skin, our economic condition, or in our faith. But we are also very much alike. We want to be free to choose our religion, to express ourselves without retribution, and we want our families to be safe and healthy. We are far more alike than we are different. Our country was founded on the principal of democracy, where the majority voice wins and decisions are made by consensus. Somewhere along the way, things changed and it seems that now the winner is the one with the most money and decisions are made secretively behind closed doors. Is this not the reason for our mistrust, our fears, and yes, our anger? Is this the legacy we want to leave for our children?
In this age of technology, we have no excuse to remain ignorant. Journalists are stationed around the world and media outlets bring the images of war torn countries into our living rooms. We can see the destruction and the loss of life. We can hear the sounds of bombs and sirens, women wailing over a lost child and witness a father’s grief as he holds his dead wife in his arms amid the rubble. Is this what we want for ourselves?
It isn't perfect but it is still civilized, isn't it?
We are supposed to be civilized people living in the most civilized country in the world. We have opportunities never afforded to people in many places around the globe. We are free to walk outside on a clear night and look at the sky and know that the light streaking across the sky is a shooting star and not a missile. We can drive from the East coast to the West without encountering a military presence at the border of each state. Here, we can rest our bodies at night without fear that soldiers will knock down our door and torture us for our religious affiliation or the way we dress.
Life here in the United States is not perfect. We do not have to look far to find human suffering. It is found in areas where weather disasters have caused devastation and loss, in areas where poverty lives, where illness steals a person’s dignity, and where hunger and homelessness thrive. But these things can be overcome if we take the time to care. Today, our problems are small compared to many other countries around the world. Today, we have a chance to change the course of our future. The path to finding common ground among those that are different lies in communication and kindness. The solution begins with one person reaching out to another, despite their differences.
Consciousness of Kind
I believe in the power of “consciousness of kind”. It is a concept perceived by Franklin Henry Giddings, a sociologist and political writer. Giddings defined ‘consciousness of kind’ as “a state of mind whereby one conscious being recognizes another as being of like mind. All human motives organize themselves around the consciousness of kind as a determining principle. Association leads to conflict which leads to the consciousness of kind through communication, imitation, toleration, cooperation, and alliance. Eventually the group achieves a self-consciousness of its own (as opposed to individual self-consciousness) from which traditions and social values can arise.”
If Giddings theory was correct, we have the power necessary to change this world; to ensure a free and civil world for our children and grandchildren. But we have to begin the conversation and it cannot wait. Or, we can decide that we are right, everyone else is wrong, and wait for someone else to fix it. While we’re waiting, we can wonder if the fix will be a civilian militia, political imprisonment, death at the hands of terrorism, or a life of fear while the bombs burst around us and all that we know and love falls to the ground in tatters around us.
- Diversity Strengthens, Hatred Destroys
Why are hate crimes so prevalent in the United States? Why do some Americans hate just because someone is different? We are all immigrants to this country so is it evil or ignorance that causes someone to hate?
- How Can I Make A Difference?
You can make a difference through your gift of writing. The 60's and 70's were days of public protests and demonstrations. Now, the Internet and HubPages gives you the opportunity to reach massive numbers of people. Will we make this time and space c
To Change This World
I was not born in a free country only to hand my future over to those who would destroy all that I love. I was not born to parents who taught me to love nature, to enjoy diversity, and to be kind to both people and animals only to throw my hands up in resignation when it gets tough. I will not let my future be determined by people afraid of their own shadow or who think they can bully their way into power. I may not be able to change this world but as long as I have a voice and a place to raise it, I will be driven with a passion to encourage others to help me do it, one person at a time.
© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.