Do not ask yourself how this can happen. It happened because we do not require enough from ourselves when it comes to things that actually matter.
There are not enough people willing to be a voice for the voiceless. Hate has been simmering just beneath the surface, lurking in the shadows, and we have been content to sit on the sidelines, hoping others will fix it for us. A large portion of the population has kept evil tucked neatly in their back pocket and today they find comfort sitting in it.
But do not ask yourself how this could have happened. We’ve blessed bigots with our patience. Hate is learned and fear is contagious. We teach each other to be afraid of anything different from ourselves, and we are far more willing to be afraid than to understand that it is easy to like someone because they are similar to us, it takes courage to love someone because of their differences.
We celebrate ambition over compassion and have a warped sense of success. We teach our children that square-footage matters more in a house than the joy found within its walls. We teach them to value fame, and as a result, an entire generation is basing its self-worth on “likes” and views. Teach them instead, that you value the boldness it takes to speak up against injustice and cruelty; that putting yourself out there is hard. Facing criticism and ridicule for standing up for what is right takes courage and ought to be celebrated.
But we don’t really value bravery, do we? We value being right at any cost. We value money, and things, and quick-fixes and building walls. We listen to angrily spewed “facts” without contesting the validity of what is being said. Instead, we sit silently and watch a country elect a bully at a time when victims of bullying are taking their lives in record numbers.
No, we don’t value bravery.
We underestimate the inequality of the sexes that still exists. We’re more willing to watch make-up tutorials on YouTube, and judge appearances, than stand behind women who have spent their entire lives fighting for the basic rights of human beings. We pretend to be champions for women, as we primp for countless selfies to be evaluated by complete strangers. We are okay with women posting half-naked pictures of themselves, but censor intelligent thought and debate.
We should be screaming from the mountains, but instead we sit in silence.
Do not ask yourself how this could have happened. We are so far removed from things that actually matter.