Day 291: Dear America, The power of indifference
Suddenly your absent-minded thoughts are shattered by a loud noise. Quickly you look around, to the left of you, you see it. A child has been shot. You see them bleeding heavily. People are standing around with their phones, some calling emergency services, some filming, but most looking confused and scared. No one is actively trying to help. What do you do next?
In a vacuum, with the safety afforded by being in front of a computer screen, it is easy to think you would step in. That you would do the right thing, the obvious thing. Unfortunately, the right thing is almost never the easy thing. When it comes time to need to “do the right thing” it is because so many people are already doing the wrong thing. That is why it is so funny that today people wonder how people like Hitler came into power.
The truth is, by the time the people realized what was happening it was easier, safer even, to just go with it than to do the right thing. Think about all the people in the military that were just normal people who were forced to kill innocents. Sure, some enjoyed the power and relished the control it afforded them, but I would venture that most were simply afraid to stand up and say no. Because while overused platitudes like “I would rather die standing than live kneeling.” sound great — in practice, most people would really prefer not to die.
While I could compare Trump to Hitler, there are enough blogs and people that will do that for me. Instead, what I am saying it that it is easier for us as a community, us who are GOOD people, us who know right from wrong, to roll over and do the easy thing. Some of us are okay with it because it does not affect us as individuals. We now scream black lives matter because of societies indifference towards mass suffering simply because it does not affect them.
That is exactly how things got so bad and if we do not remember this we will — and have been — doomed repeat it over and over.
We watched as a system of injustice and blatant racism was built up over decades. A system that uses slogans like “to protect and to serve,” and if we don’t question who they are serving, or how they are protecting, we can live side-by-side. Under the oppression that masquerades as freedom for all, when some are freer than others. Where we can dictate how good of a person you are by the color of your skin and not by the sum of your actions.
One thing is true now more than ever, we are in the midst of change. It is the precipice of a new time for America and yet, time is a great teacher, who eventually kills all her students. We are so quick to forget the generational and consistent hatred towards our black, indigenous and other communities of color. We pretend that slavery was oh so long ago and that people affected by it should just somehow get over it without so much as an acknowledgement that it was wrong or an attempt to do better, to be better.
We watch as a slow and steady genocide occurs. As a nation, we let it happen because it is the easy thing. It is more comfortable to just go along with it because it does not affect you. To that I say, no more.
We as a nation are shot; we are bleeding out. So, if you my readers, answered unequivocally that you would help. If you said, “yes, I will do the right thing!” That you would gladly and willingly do the hard thing. My challenge to you is simply, do it. Be the person YOU KNOW you are. Be the person that does the hard thing. It is time to fight, time to push back against the systematic racism whether it affects you or not.
It is time to stop the bleeding, but it cannot be done without your help.