Monday 13 June 2016

I Don't Care What Your Skin Colour, Religion, Gender, or Sexual Orientation Is

I used to love to watch the News. 

Now watching the news leaves me soul crushingly sad at the senseless violence we as humans seem capable of. And with a need to think out loud. 

When I was in high school and even university, whether I watched the Local, National, or International news, there always seemed to be something exciting or interesting being developed, achieved or witnessed. I found the news to be fascinating, inspirational, thought provoking, educational, and yes sometimes sad. The 11 o'clock news from high school is in large part the reason I ended up with a major in Political Science and a Minor in Women's Studies. I believed that education and dialogue could right wrongs, open minds and change the world. The news used inspire dialogue and debate. But now more often than not the news is heartbreaking, disappointing and soul crushing, so I rarely turn it on. 

Sadly the feelings the news inspired in me in high school is not the experience my kids have had. The news reported throughout their high school years seemed to be comprised of much larger daily doses of atrocities and examples of senseless loss of life and injury inflicted by humans on humans. I'm not talking about the tragic loss of life due to natural disasters. This also is heartbreaking, and so very sad. But there's a difference between a natural disaster and intentional malicious attacks on groups or individuals purely based on some arbitrary characteristic or belief that group or person might have. While the tragedy a natural disaster evokes an immediate response in me to take action and help, these senseless acts of violence are soul crushing and leave me feeling helpless. 

I may be suffering from memory loss and nostalgia about my youth, since there are many examples throughout history of terrible atrocities, persecution and intolerance of groups based on race, religion, culture and beliefs. It may be that things have always been this way and social media and globalization puts it right up in our faces, forcing us to deal with it, refusing to let us turn a blind eye. I feel like with every step forward towards understanding and acceptance, we at the same time take another one back. The more tolerant the majority gets, the more pockets of ultra-extreme groups emerge. 

I wonder if my kids feel the same sense of helplessness or feel powerless to do anything about it. Or does this day in and day out barrage of violence leave them desensitized to loss of human life, and therefore the value of human life including their own? It's hard to know sometimes what goes on in the minds of an 18 and 20 year old. I struggle with what to say, other than I'm left speechless by such acts of violence. 

What can I possibly do or say in response to acts like the one in Orlando, Florida that really makes any impact or difference? Nothing really, but I suppose by saying something or writing something maybe I set an example for my kids. They will see that you can't sit on the fence about certain things. They will have no doubt where I stand on certain things. Maybe it'll make starting a dialogue easier. I don't really have an answer to any of this. But today I was thinking out loud on facebook and thought maybe the message was worth thinking out loud about it here as well.

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