Now Do Something
It’s been written a thousand times by now, continues to be picked apart by media voices much smarter than my own, yet it stays with me. Why add another crazy article to our media-sphere? Like so many others, I feel powerless, lost, and very confused. Call it a selfish act, but this is not written for you or even those we lost, I write it for me. To get these thoughts, like shards of glass, shaken from my mind and maybe stumble across some sense of healing if that may even be possible.
Even before that horrific day on June 12th that shook families, a community and a country to its knees I was questioning. What kind of country have we become? Why are we divided, angry and violent? When did we forget how to talk to each other? In a nation that allows a man so filled with division and hate to place himself just one step away from the most powerful seat in the land, should we not take pause? When his first comment after the Orlando massacre is to congratulate himself saying “I knew this was going to happen,” instead of leading with compassion, are we not concerned? If we lose compassion, have we not lost our very humanity?
To place this all on Trump is to be just as narcissistic and deflective as he is. Do we not share responsibility in creating a culture that has allowed Trump to exist? If we look at mass shooting statistics in the U.S. alone, from 1983 to 2013 there have been 78 mass shootings according to a study by criminologist Frederic Lemieux. Germany is next on the list with only seven and out of 24 industrialized countries we have nearly double the rate of these incidents than all the others. Why?
Let’s look to our leaders, after all they are supposed to be the very individuals that we think should best represent us. Since 1981 there have been twelve government shut downs, a moment in time when our leaders refused to work together, to find the art of compromise. A group of people more concerned with being “right,” then in the well-being of the American citizens that they represent. Once should make us weary, twelve should make us act.
Then there is this concept of equality, that every man, woman and child should be considered equal under the law. We seem to have had a difficult understanding of this from the very beginning. With the Civil War, to the abolishment of slavery, to the civil rights movement and Black Lives Matter, we are hell bent on fighting an implementation of equality. The historic Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality in June of 2016 had the LGBT community rejoicing. A year later our country is a war zone of Religious Freedom Reformation Acts and “bathroom” laws and an array of other discriminatory actions on our capital steps. People fighting tooth and nail to get the very thing they accused the LGBT community of; seeking special rights under the law.
I understand that the history of our country is wrought with violence and that civilization is most certainly not civil, but just because that is the way it has always been does that have to be the way it stays? How many Columbines, Sandy Hooks, Bostons, Berkleys, Orlandos and a myriad of other tragedies have to happen before we realize that we have to do something. We seem to always sit back, hold our breath and hope. Hope is nothing without action. The argument that we must have the right to bear our AK47’s offers no answers, no comfort. Say that to the Mother who’s son’s last words to her were, “I love you Mommy, He’s coming, I’m going to die!” Put your gun down and talk to her, hug her and do something! Something is broken, something isn’t working and no action is an action.
Do I sound angry? I am! Do I sound scared? You better believe it! So many of us are! We cannot allow our fear to paralyze us and we must not sit back and do nothing! We can no longer say, “this doesn’t happen here” because it does! It is not about one city, or one state, or even one community. Our nation is in trouble and whether we stick our head in the sand or not, it’s happening! Do not waste your very breath on blame for that is the oldest trick to keep things exactly where they are. Do not be shackled by fear because your silence will most certainly bring death. We all bear the weight of responsibility and until we all accept that fact the chaos will continue. The luxury of time is no longer ours to take for granted.
As I sit here writing this article, I am wearing a cheap, rubber, rainbow bracelet. One of those trinkets you can pick up at any Pride celebration across the World. I began wearing it when I felt fear creep beneath my skin. I wear it in defiance of that fear, but also as a reminder that I must act, that I must speak, that I must be the change. I wear it for those who came before and will follow after, I wear it for my mother and my sisters and my brother, I wear it for you and those you love, I wear it for this country and this world, that we may be better. I wear it for me. To remind me that I am a part of this planet and all that we allow to happen in it. It’s time that we come together and we find our common responsibility, that we put selfish things aside and embrace each other tight. Call it idealistic or “hippy,” but ask yourself, what kind of country, what kind of world do you want to live in? Now do something!