Sometimes I’m happy to barely exist on the Internet anymore.
If we spend too much time here, we can lose touch with the real world quickly. We can lose touch with life and the actual living of it. We can believe too easily that the world isn’t a good place, that people are only angry and shitty.
But in every tragedy there is an opportunity. An opportunity to demonstrate our values, our courage and convictions.
We have done that as a country and as a people in this last horrific test. No one reputable made wild statements about terrorists. Our police force and first responders conducted themselves heroically. In the midst of this tragedy we are united, strong, and loving.
We will soon be divided again. That is the nature of our world. We have split into small camps. Those camps are cut up predictably along gender, religion, class and political outlook. We are poisoned by those divisions, and in doing so stray further from real life. From what could happen in our day to day life. From the opportunities we have to be outstanding human beings.
I make a mistake every day. I read the news. I read a lot of news. I read across the spectrum. I read CBC, BBC, the National Post, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the Washington Post and Breitbart.
I read them all because I don’t actually believe we’re living in a post-truth era. I think we’re living in an era where everyone’s perspectives are finally apparent. Where I can see into the eyes of other people and try to walk into their shoes. And what I’ve found is that everyone is reaching for a dubious prize. We’re all reaching for biggest victim. We’re crying that we’re the aggrieved party.
I read about white men who feel alienated in their countries because of socially accepted reverse racism. I read about black men who are harassed and murdered with startling regularity. I read about women who are the double victims of sexual assault and of a legal system that was not fair to them. I read about men who are denied the right to form groups to lobby about legitimate men’s issues, like suicide without being smeared as misogynists. I read about veterans that are told their needs are too expensive after defending our liberty. I read about people who are killed in a Mosque while calling their daughters. I read about oil patch workers who can’t feed their families. I read about journalists who are jailed for reporting the truth around the world. I read about incels, who see the world as full of unobtainable Stacy’s. I read about the victims of one mans’ senseless violence. How they were wonderful people who leave behind beautiful families. I read about them all and I refuse to play the game.
The game I refuse to play is to choose one and hate the other. Oh I want to. I wanted that police officer to gun that man down in the streets. But now I realize I was wrong.
I refuse to think that people are just a label. That we are all victims in this life. That society is against us. That the world is prosecuting us and our people. I think beyond the stories there lies a deeper truth. And that is that this life needs us to be kind and beautiful to one another. This life needs us to be kind and beautiful to ourselves.
The ugly truth is each group is not as different than we think. Every side thinks they are the most oppressed. That we must push the world to change. The truth is sometimes change is just change. It’s not better or worse, it’s just the angry restless motion of a people who believe they are unjustly persecuted. The change we really need is in ourselves.
What we truly need is the next breath, the next meal with our families, the next beer with our friends. We’ve got life and it’s a sweet thing to have. It’s sad we waste it with such a narrow mentality. That we only want to be around people who think like us, talk like us, look like us. That we are so utterly dismissive of each other’s points of view.
We hate each other now, not realizing that hate can’t change anything. It can’t lead to social change. It can’t feed our families. It can’t do anything but make us worse. Because all it is, is a lack of love. It’s just the quiet, starved bottoms of our souls crying out for compassion. Yes, we hurt. Yes, we grieve. But in that grief we have to realize that our enemies are grieving too. That they’re just like us. And that it is our perception of life which is what makes it.
If we say today that it will be beautiful, than it will be so. If we move towards happiness and peace and laughter, then it will become so. If we stop saying ‘I’m right’ and instead ask ‘why do you feel this way?’ we could change everything for one person.
One person; a world entire. (Oskar Schindler)