Now that I have your attention, let’s be honest, no, the world isn’t ending, but perhaps pieces of it needs to. 2020 has shown us the ugly side of human nature – racism, sexism, nationalism, to name a few. Perhaps 2020 is the year we needed to realize how perverse our way of life has become. Instead of championing change for the masses, we have paved the road for a tiny few. Instead of creating a world of diversity and inclusivity, we have built a place that treats people differently based on their skin color, religious beliefs, socio-economic status. Instead of realizing a person’s true worth is based on how they treat others (and themselves), we have bought into a belief that a person’s worth is more about how wealthy they are or how popular they are on social media.
Throw in a pandemic (real to some, a farce to others), racial reckoning (hello white people), historical questioning (good bye statues and flags), and a recession (the middle class and poor continue to get poorer) to name a few and you have quite a melange of world shattering shit. But will it be enough for us to start dealing with the problems we ourselves have created? Is it enough of a shitstorm for world leaders to re-evaluate what is truly important to their sovereignty? Or, will it sadly continue as it had prior to 2020? What exactly will it take for us to realize that what is going on in the world is no longer ok?
I am not an expert in any stretch of the imagination, but I do have an opinion on how to make things better. I am only the voice of one, but I like to think that others out there may share a belief in some of what I am about to say. This is not an article to tell people what to do or what to believe, but rather, it is a compilation of words and thoughts that will hopefully help people rethink their own beliefs and possibly challenge them to learn and evolve toward a new way of thinking, acting, and being.
First of all, the color of one’s skin does not define an individual or a group of people, rather, it is only one piece of their story. Add in their culture, their upbringing, their thoughts and ideas, and you have an entire human being. My whiteness is just that, it is the color of my skin. But the color of my skin and what is afforded me because of it must be acknowledged, just like that of my black and brown brothers and sisters and what is not afforded to them. Our stories, our journeys, our struggles are affected differently by the tint of our skin, yet it should not be ignored, or maimed, or weaponized. These differences should be celebrated and understood and loved. Because, in the end, all lives can’t matter until black lives matter (feel free to exit this post if you are now offended).
Secondly, a person’s religious views, ideologies, and beliefs should not be used as a political weapon nor as the reason to alienate or undermine them because of the god they choose to worship. Not all Muslims are terrorists. Not all Catholic priests are child molesters. Not all Christians are bible wielding praise worshippers. At the same time, religion cannot be used only when it suits people, especially in advancing national policy or reform. Separation of church and state exists for a reason. We cannot be a unified nation if we are constantly being told what can and cannot be done because of someone’s religion. That is a personal decision and should not be used on the national stage. This does not mean religion is not important, it means the tenants of religion are important, NOT the religion itself. Yes, love and kindness and treating your neighbor as you want to be treated should be a part of our governance, but not providing birth control to your employees should not be based on your religious stance (once again, feel free to exist this post if you are further offended then when you started reading).
Lastly, a person’s self worth in the eyes of the world should be based on how they treat others, what type of life they led, what good deeds they did for those around them. Material things, money, and power have somehow become the measuring stick of a person’s worth (no, this is not just for 2020, but has been around for centuries). And to be honest, those things have caused us to lose sight of how we can all become better people: by helping one another. The divide that is growing between rich and poor, black and white, Republicans and Democrats is occurring because we no longer see ourselves as one nation, but rather, as a group of people who are mainly concerned with what’s best for oneself versus the collective group. Socialism is an overly used term for the idea of helping others. Politicians use it to scare people away from policies and programs that are geared toward helping those who need it most, labeling those individuals as lazy or only wanting things to be given to them. There is nothing wrong with helping those who are less fortunate. Don’t you think our world would be better off if more people were enjoying their lives without having to work 2-3 jobs simply to survive? Don’t you think we’d have less problems if we tried to create a fair playing ground for everyone, not just the well off and white?
To be clear, once again, I am in no means an expert on any of these topics (which I’m sure a lot of you agree with). But hopefully, this post has caused you to take pause, to reflect on what changes you personally need to make and what changes the world needs to make. We are all human. And in the end, we all bleed the same.