I know a lot of us look at things and want to see change in our lifetime. Why does it take so long for things to change? Why are people so hung up on making life miserable and unfair to others? I can’t answer that, but I can say that change in America has been happening faster and faster.
I don’t think it’s because we’re different people. I don’t think it’s because we’ve evolved to be better. I don’t think it’s because we’re smarter.
I think it’s because the internet has brought us closer together.
The speed at which information travels is insanely fast. Sometimes that means the information is wrong, or incomplete, but it means we see things like the protests in Baltimore the day, if not the moment, they happen. We knew about the Boston bombing that very second. Nation wide, we knew and we started to form opinions and we started to see the pain in others.
You can tell me that the internet and our social media devices disconnect us from humanity. I can tell you that they bring humanity into our hands and while yes, it brings out the worst in us, it also brings out the best. Just like everything else. Just like domesticating the horse.
I will see gay marriage legalized and marijuana decriminalized in my lifetime. Of that I am certain.
I hope to also see reform within our police and military, but that is a different matter in many ways. Gay marriage and pot are simple, yes or no, questions. Legal or not. Reform from abuses of power, mistreatment of humanity, that takes more than just a decree that we have to shut up and stop drinking booze (prohibition).
We can’t just reboot our societal structures. It would be nice but it’s impossible. What we can do, what we are doing, is taking to the world and saying “I feel this is wrong.”
I do care what ‘side’ you’re on. I hate that there have to be sides. I hate that if I say “I believe Black Lives Matter” (which I do), then for many people I’m also saying “Police are wrong and evil” (which I don’t).
I believe in abuse of power. I believe that, unchecked, we will show our worst, just like we do with GamerGate and doxing and harassment. If I believe in those things online, how could I not believe that of the ‘physical’ world? Of course it’s a thing. Of course it happens.
And it’s wrong.
But we’re changing.
Every day, we see more of our fellow men and women. We see them crying and raging in pain, and we cannot ignore it because now we see the whole world.
It’s a lot of information, I know. It’s a lot to take in. It’s overwhelming and it makes us feel like the petty arguments about capital P or the renewal of a TV show or a color of shirt are absolutely idiotic. But all those things matter to us because we are now, all of us, looking at the entire world, all the time.
I know it’s hard.
It’s hard for me too.
And just because I don’t talk about it on social media or in public places doesn’t mean I don’t talk about it with my friends to understand their point of views. My family did a wonderful thing with me, they raised me to see as many sides of a situation as I could possibly view. They taught me well. I don’t see the world as binary. I don’t see the world as one or the other. I see the world as flexible, mutable, changeable, and in constant flux.
I see this world changing. I see great strides in ourselves as we start to face the demons that we are and change ourselves.
So yes. It’s hard. But don’t give up. Rage and fight and protest and rage.
I’m not on your ground with your battle, you are not on mine. I cannot say what actions are right or wisest or best. What I can say, what I can ask, is that you take what you learned from the rest of us, the connections you’ve made with people, and you do not forget them. Do not forget they are humans, just like you, and they hurt and bleed. Do not ever, not once, stop being human and humanitarian.
But for you who are on the ground in your fight, whatever ‘side’ or battle you’ve chosen, please be smart. Please be safe. Please try to do what’s best for you and for humanity. We all bear this responsibility.
We can, and will, change this world.