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Social Issues: To Change This World

Updated on February 24, 2013
Israel/Gaza conflict destruction
Israel/Gaza conflict destruction | Source

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.

Franklin Henry Giddings
Franklin Henry Giddings | Source

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.

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.

Read more of my hubs here.

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  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Shauna, thank you! I still think we live in the best country on the planet but I am sure fed up with the greed and lack of caring for others. One person at a time, that's the way we change it.

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    Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

    Touche, Linda! I've always said, if America is the best (most free) country in the world, then the world is pretty screwed up. I love this country but it's given way to greed, dissention, judgment and prejudice. I agree with you: peace and acceptance needs to begin with each one of us. It is possible, if only people will try.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Teresa. Thank you for your wonderful compliment. Your theory is quite thought-provoking. I find it interesting that so much conflict in both the East and the West is over the ownership of land which in reality is a myth. No one really owns the land, do they? I believe we are just tenants and bad stewards. :-)

  • phdast7 profile image

    Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Terrific Hub. I, and obviously many others, share your concerns. It seems that throughout the world there are so many reasons to hate and be suspicious and people have to work so hard to communicate and accept one another. I think there are many reasons for this and much work that needs to be done in terms of how we raise our children, etc.

    But as a historian, I often think about the problems created by scarce resources in various parts of the world (although resources is simply one small part of a larger picture). In the West, perhaps our conflicts are not so much about resources (money, businesses), but I think the West is the exception.

    Throughout the Middle east much of the conflict at base is about land, which is a primary resource.....although I think over the centuries radical Islam has so fed people's hatred and anxieties, that in some cases I think the original grievance has been forgotten.

    I love this sentence and it says it all so eloquently. "We need to become builders of bridges instead." ~~Theresa

  • mecheshier profile image

    mecheshier 4 years ago

    You are most welcome. Thank you for visiting! It really is a song that touches my heart. I think love and using "our own two hands" is the only way though this crazy world.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi mecheshier. Thanks for sharing the link to your website. A quick look tells me that I will be a frequent visitor. I love the song too. Thanks for your visit and for sharing.

  • mecheshier profile image

    mecheshier 4 years ago

    I am doing my best lrc7815. One measure at a time. Not to solicit my website, but I just added a new video (heartfelt music and words) that says it all in a nutshell. The song has stayed in my mind since I heard it. Here is the link if you want: http://living-green-newsflash.com/ This video relates to so many things in life. I was in tears the first few times I heard it, good tears.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello whonunuwho! Thank you. I really appreciate your comment and am happy that it has inspired. We are not as helpless as we sometimes feel, are we?

  • whonunuwho profile image

    whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

    Thank you for reminding us that we can make a difference, no matter how small the effort on our part, may have a great influence and change a view that promotes positive results. Great hub and wonderful theme, whonu.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Mary, thank you so much for such a compliment. I share your questions about where it starts and where it stops. To leave? No. Stay and help me change it. :-)

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

    You have said what I have thought for a long time. Where does it stop? Where does it start??

    I hope I don't sound unpatriotic, but I have thought so many times of leaving this country, but where would I go????

    This is an awarding winning Hub, and if I could, I would award you for your thoughts.....you are SO right.

    I voted this UP etc., and will share.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Mary! You are so right too. :-) One person at a time. There are great hearts in this country but we are often overlooked and over-shadowed by the bombardment of negative news. We can't let that make us feel helpless or hopeless. We have to keep on pushing. Thanks for the votes Mary. You are such a good heart.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

    Oh Linda you are so right! It is time we stop the madness and the only way to do that is for each one of us, as you said, to talk till we're blue in the face. Talk about what we believe, back those who believe the same...secure freedom in this country then spread it out form country to country! The world is crumbling around us, being knocked down by hate. We need to stop the hate, one person at a time if needs be.

    Voted up, useful, and awesome.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi shining! I think we need to talk until we are blue in the face, helping others understand that if it can happen in Israel and Gaza, it can happen here. Thanks for always supporting me when Iquestion my own effectiveness.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello mecheshier! Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts and that you would take time to read this.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    MizB! Hi! Your comment does not surpris me as we often find that we think very similarly. Thank you for the kind words. These are frightening times for sure.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Amy. Sometimes I have to turn that grief into something positive or be consumed by it. I wrote this one from that place of grief. Seeing the division in our own country frightens me and I felt this was all I could do to say - we have to wake up. Thank you for your loving and tender words.

  • shiningirisheyes profile image

    Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

    The power of one person can truly be amazing. Imagine the awesome power when we all bond together.

    Our precious freedoms can be taken away if we are not diligent. We must keep a level of awareness as times increasingly become more unsure. The occurrences in Gaza and Israel concern me greatly.

  • mecheshier profile image

    mecheshier 4 years ago

    Fabulous Hub!!!! Yes, I do lean towards Giddings beliefs. As always said you are what you eat as well as what you surround yourself with including people and places (environment). TY for the share, it is a wonderful post. Voted up for useful and interesting.

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    MizBejabbers 4 years ago

    No you are not the only one on the planet who feels this way. I like the quote: Giddings defined ‘consciousness of kind’ as “a state of mind whereby one conscious being recognizes another as being of like mind.” It reminds me of the metaphysical greeting “Namaste”, or the “divine in me recognizes the divine in you”. My metaphysical instructor told us that evil would have its one last hurrah, and we needed to work for a divine victory. I think that is the situation today. At least it would explain a lot. I think our unselfish prayers and thoughts are needed to help make this country and this world a better place. As usual, Linda, you have hit the nail on the head.

  • Amy Becherer profile image

    Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    I have been watching the news from Israel and the Gaza Strip with horror and foreboding. Though I don't personally know anyone living there, we are all connected to our fellow human beings. What happens to anyone of us hurts all of humanity.

    Grief's expression is as different as each individual who experiences it. Some are destroyed by it, some are enraged by it, it causes poisonous fear and loss of hope. Diplomacy has not lessened it and at this stage, I fear words carry little weight as families are wiped off the earth by violence and hatred.

    Your eloquent piece shows kindness, compassion and hope, Linda...more than I feel right now. I am overwhelmed by sadness at this time. I fear that the despair and anger extolled by this unrelenting war may be beyond the words of reason. I sincerely hope I am wrong. Thank you for a beautiful piece that shines with hope, love and charity, Linda. Bless you for your positive spirit. The world needs more love like yours.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Martin, a friend once told me that you can accomplish a lot in this world if you do not care who gets the credit. I hear those words all the time, in my mind. I do what I can, which seems like very little sometimes, but all day today I kept hearing (in my subconscious mind), the words "say it, go on and say it, someone needs to say it". So, I said it. I only hope that enough people hear it. And, I hope that others who are feeling these things will speak too. We need to reach people before it's too late. We are so divided here in this beautiful country. I don't expect us to all like each other but if we could just learn to respect each other it would make such a difference. Wouldn't it?

    Thank you for your encouraging comment. You always make me feel like I've done the right thing.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Oh Jillian, thank you for understanding and encouraging me. I was a little afraid of how this might be perceived. The thoughts were like a volcano within me and late this evening, it erupted. I had to say it. I could not sit quietly by for another minute. I kept thinking that for every minute I was silent, it was a missed opportunity to reach out, to make someone else aware of what could happen if we don't do something. I am so happy that you got it and, that I was not alone in my thoughts. Thank you so very much!

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Carol. Yes, I do think it is unrealistic to think our freedoms can't be taken away. They are being eroded, little by little already. What frightens me is how divided we are and that will be our demise, if it isn't fixed. But...I believe in the power of "us" and I believe if enough of us want to, we can turn it around. I appreciate that you are still here with us. :-)

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Bill. I'm glad you were called away because this is a very sad topic. I avoided writing about it most of the day but it would not go away. I do think that we are being shown what can happen, if, we don't turn things around. I will anxiously await your hub tomorrow as I felt quite alone today, thinking I may be the only one on the planet that was seeing things this way. I should have known better, huh? Yes my friend, I have no doubt about your kindred-ness. And I feel better knowing that you are there, on the other side of everything! See you tomorrow when the sun will shien again.

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Thank you for this well written awareness builder. It was my experience that most people are unaware that they can bring about great change. It is not easy to be a leader, but a volunteer ... is worth more than their weight in gold. Whether leader or volunteer, I can't tell you what it feels like to say, "I did that."

  • Jillian Barclay profile image

    Jillian Barclay 4 years ago from California, USA

    Wow! Wow! Wow!

    I think that many of us have been thinking the same things, but you have said it best! This is beautiful!

  • carol7777 profile image

    carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

    Are we unrealistic thinking our freedoms can never be taken. I hope so. We are such a lucky people never to have known fear in our homes. I feel frightened for the world at times. Where has kindness gone and understanding of other people. I sometimes feel I am glad I am not a young person today.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I'm being called away, so this will be short. Uncanny...you'll see when you read my hub tomorrow. We are indeed kindred spirits.

    Beautiful work my friend; have a wonderful evening....or heck, it's late there, sleep well. :)

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hello Rolly. I am happy to meet you here. I share your feelings and like you, pray for those in greatest need. I cannot imagine waking up to bombs and sirens day after day. I think we are all affected by it, at least those of us who have a beating heart and a little compassion. If not, then we should be.

    Thank you for reading my hub today. I hope that the middle east crisis will be resolved sooner than later and we can chat about happier things.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Jackie, hello! You are so right. 911 should have changed many things. It did change some but we are so spoiled that many fuss and complain about the changes. My concern now is not so much from outside forces as it is the division with our own borders. This battle between the republicans and democrats has caused a lot of unrest among our own citizens and that to me, is scary. The problem in the middle east right now is about political power. Hello people!

    Thanks for sharing my concerns today.

  • Rolly A Chabot profile image

    Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

    Hi lrc7815... new here to your writing but very touched at what you have placed here. We have all watched this unfolding and escalating over the years and here we are today now at this impasse.

    It will not be long before others will join in the fight and take sides. This is far from over.

    The greatest weapon of all is love. It surpasses all evil. Our prayers are with those in the greatest need. The people who are affected by this.

    Hugs from Canada

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Sherry. We are too comfortable. It can happen here and one day it will, if we don't change things. I appreciate your reading. We can't stick our heads in the sand and pretend our country is headed in the right direction, can we?

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

    As soon as 911 happened we should have secured our borders and be so secure now we have no worries but we went just the opposite and if anyone follows the news well you know people are getting through airports too. America is not America anymore. What can we do, I don't know. Was this a plan or did it just happen? Who feels secure? Who would leave if they could? Will we all be without electric or homes all of a sudden? Jobs? It is a scary world right now.

  • Sherry Hewins profile image

    Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

    Very well stated. The only way we can change the world is by changing ourselves. Here in the US, where we usually (so far) don't have to worry about bombs and war in our streets, it's easy to just pay attention to our own everyday lives and put it out of our minds that these things are going on in our world.

  • lrc7815 profile image
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    Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi Faith! You have said so much in such a few words. This has been very bothersome for me today as I really do believe it could happen here. I want to believe that we are smarter than we are though but I wonder. Division has never created anything good. But I know, and believe, that it starts with each of us. Thank you for sharing with me today.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

    Bravo Dear Linda!!!

    I was just thinking of and have been thinking of just that . . . that we are so naive in our thinking to think that all of this will not happen right here in our very own country. America needs to wake up, as this is the real deal here . . . I pray we never have to experience our freedoms being taken away from us fully, although times are already changing little by little as to that very subject ----our freedom being at stake.

    I was just thinking about what you were saying too, that we are supposed to be civilized now . . . but we are not really, at least in my mind, as I would have thought in this century, we would have become so civilized in our nature that this world surely would be a whole different place. I am afraid the evil in man's heart has grown even more so and greed has taken over like never before.

    We all need a heart change, in order for this world to be a whole different place, each and every one of us---let go of the hate and just love, as that is what this world needs more of right now---just like the song says.

    Voted Way Up In His Love, Faith Reaper