In writing this post I have to say I've been feeling a little distraught lately, a little disappointed in humanity. It's nothing new that the world is filled with tragedy and as always, I follow the news and politics pretty closely. But lately it has gotten pretty intense. With the mass shooting in San Bernardino and the terrorist attack in Paris, fear is at an all time high and it seems like this allows hate to creep in. It's not only the violence that bothers me, but the reactions of some people afterwards.
It's become increasingly hard for me to keep my mouth shut when it comes to inappropriate Facebook comments, racist memes being shared, and people sharing the belief that more guns could somehow possibly help our completely outrageous gun violence and murder rates here in the U.S.; a problem that no other developed country has. It's baffling to me. I am outraged at people's lack of compassion for their fellow human being. I am disgusted at people's sick obsession with guns, these tools made to kill. I'm appalled at people's priorities - guns over life, us over you, Americans over refugees. And don't even get me started on Donald "I'm A Racist" Trump.
This leads me to ask the burning question: Where the fuck is your human compassion!?
Has everyone truly arrived at such a low disregard for human life? I don't understand it. What is this "I protect me and mine and to the hell with everyone else" Walking Dead-mentality Americans are carrying around these days? There is so much ego involved it makes me sick. The people who want to not let refugees into our country are doing so because they actually believe their life is worth more than someone else's. Excuse me? No, sorry. I don't care what color your skin is, what size your house is, or if you live in a war torn country or not, we all came into this world the same way and we go out the same way too.
A college friend of mine messaged me the other day about a building in Philly that is named after a man whose last name is Lynch. He sent me the article that said there is a group calling to change the name of the building because they find it offensive. He remarked, "everyone is offended by everything these days." Are they? Or are people just fed up with putting up with racist, sexist, and offensive bullshit? My friend knew what kind of answer he was going to get from me. We had a calm discussion with opposing views where I told him rhetoric is constantly changing. Words that are not offensive today, may be tomorrow and vice versa. Everyone has a right to speak up about feeling uncomfortable. The fact that he could even suggest they should not complain or voice their opinion about being offended at certain terms is a direct reflection of his white privilege.
The worst part is the majority of the people who are shamed and told to stop complaining or worse, are typically minority groups that have already dealt with stereotypes, stigma, and discrimination. What happened to showing love and tolerance to our fellow man? Offering food and shelter when we can? Or at the very least a nonjudgemental existence.
Like I've said before, there is literally NOTHING funny about racist, sexist, or discriminatory jokes. So no, I won't "lighten up" like the unfortunate souls who are sharing those jokes say. Do people not give even a millisecond of thought to whose picture is being used for that joke? What group of people you're making fun of and how mean and CRUEL that is? Nope sorry, nothing funny about that for me. Those are human beings. No better than you, no better than me.
Addicts and alcoholics understand this pain. We know the stigma attached to those words so well, that sometimes I can actually feel the way people's eyes burn into me when I say "alcoholic." "Yes, you heard that right," I would say, "I battled addiction."
On my Sober Señorita Facebook page the other day I shared a heartbreaking video of babies who are born addicted to drugs because their mothers used while they were in the womb. The video was hard to watch and had some intense imagery. It also showed mothers talking about their drug addiction and a few of them were visibly upset about the effects it had on their children. A lot of people left comments on the video and some not very nice. "Disgusting." "Those women don't deserve those children." "I want to punch them in the face." "They need a good slap." Wow.
I agree, the video was incredibly difficult to watch and I felt immense sadness for these women and their children, but I also felt human compassion. As one of my followers said in a comment, "that wasn't part of my story, but it easily could have been." I totally agree with her. It could have been me. Addiction takes you to dark places. It makes you do things that are not in line with your moral values. I'm not saying it's ok and that we should just shrug our shoulders and say oh well, but these women need HELP, not shame, scorn, and the threat of violence. No one will be SHAMED into doing anything, most of all get help or stay sober. It hurt me to know people could be so cruel without considering all of the situation and why these women did the things they did. How quickly they forget that these are human beings who carry their own trauma and disease with them. It's the same in every situation we deal with in life.
So I urge you - to think before you speak and act. Look at each and every person you come across as the human being that they are - with flaws, sickness, or damage, possibly fighting a battle you know nothing about. They all deserve shelter, a warm meal, and unconditional love. And if you see someone bullying another, "joking" about race, sex, or economic status, speak up. Say something.
Be a good human being. Find your compassion.