Wednesday, December 2, 2015

On the Feeling of Futility

How do you do it, my fellow Americans? How do you hold yourself back, bite your tongue, stay in your lane? I know you’re out there. I know that these gun crimes which have been increasing with such regularity that the tactless anonymous person on the internet joking that December’s massacre happened early and that maybe there will be another one squeezed in before Christmas holidays begin leads you not to rage at his cruelty but rather to sadly hoping that’s not true. But not doubting that it might be.

You see it so often you don’t know what to do. The politicians continue to pray away and react to the problem and save face by showing support and remorse for those involved. You watch them offer their well wishes, hoping the victims will stay strong, the police will do their job, and that they can continue to pretend that they will be an effective president.

How do you do it? How do you keep from divisive political rants? The gun violence, rampant racism, pervasive sexism, and ignorant classism (just to name a few) – how do you keep it off your newsfeed? Off your wall? Out of your conversations?

When one of the few speaks up on your newsfeed they are attacked – they are called extremists, crazy left wing liberals, surely there is something wrong with them, they want to take away our rights, and anyways, why should we punish Honest Hard-working Harry who simply wants to take his gun out and kill some helpless animals?

How do you ignore it? You’re passionate, you’re educated, you’ve anticipated the typical responses and addressed them. You've drafted a lengthy response, you've bared your true feelings, you are prepared to hit “share” “send” or “post.” But then you take a deep breath, delete it, and continue to scroll through your newsfeed.

It's obvious, you see. You don’t want to cause an argument, you don’t want to be pulled into a mindless feud with someone who refuses to see the other side of the argument, someone who refuses to be inconvenienced in anyway, and who is incapable of questioning the necessity of a hobby that perhaps their parents had passed on to them.

How do you hide your truth, your perspective, your beliefs? When did you become a passive observer, when did the futility of change become so embedded in you that you can’t even attempt to sway the opinions of close friends and family?

It happened gradually. Your youthful vigor has been deadened. Your eyes are dulled. You've learned that it’s too easy to avoid confrontation and a messy argument. There’s so much anger and darkness in the world, you rationalize, why bother bringing a heavy cloud over the skies of my friends, my family, my world?

You scroll on through, lurking in the background watching the events that will define your life, your country, and the lives of your children.

Because clearly, there’s nothing else you can do.

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