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Friday, February 8, 2013

We Are The Problem, Are We The Solution?

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote on this blog. I apologize for the absence, but my family had personal issues to take care of. Two weeks ago I wrote an article about Gun Control, or more specifically about the lack of appetite for real reform on the issue of Gun Violence, as well as an analysis of those who are rabidly pro-gun bordering on the absurd.

The feedback I received was mixed, only in that I received an equal number of responses both for and against the points made. Those who agreed, felt the issue of gun violence could best be addressed with common sense, comprehensive firearms and weapons restrictions, such as an assault weapons ban, mandatory and in-depth background as well as mental health checks for anyone purchasing firearms. People should be allowed to purchase weapons for protection and self-defense, or hunting; however, we have to make the process of a gun going from the manufacturer into the hands of a random citizen one which ensures people with violent or aggressive behavioral issues, criminal backgrounds related violence, or the mentally ill are not acquiring weapons through legitimate sales. No we can't stop all guns from being sold on the black market, and we can't keep them off the streets completely, but we can limit the potential for another Sandy Hook shooter by being smart on the issue. There was another group of people, who were so against any form of gun control, so unhinged from common sense and reality, I was truly concerned.

It is one thing to hold opposing opinions, I mean when you think about it opinions are actually like assholes, everyone has one. Some people happen to be one too. The opposition to gun control movement, I will call them, were so hostile, people were actually threatening my family and myself over the issue. My partner is an Iraq war veteran who has been through genuine trauma over the last 10 years. Since her time in service, she is finally in a place now where she feels safe, comfortable, and has been able to start the healing process related to her PTSD. Those types of threats, while uncalled for and highly inappropriate, are also a symptom of what is wrong in our society today. As adults we should be able to sit down and have passionate discussions without them devolving into hate-filled, threatening diatribes. I understand there are people out there diametrically opposed to everything I stand for. I support their right to be the way they are, and demand the same in return. As higher primates, with cognitive reasoning skills we can and should handle situations where there is dissonance, appropriately; Furthermore, we should be able to act like rational, intelligent beings while holding our points of view. Unfortunately, some in our society seem incapable of being rational even when dealing with common sense issues.

I think the fault starts with all of us. We have allowed the fringe elements in our society a license to say and do what they please, because they wrap themselves up in patriotism, nationalism, religion, community, or some other wedge issue badge of honor. We have people who say, hey I'm religious, that makes me anti-abortion because life is sacred, so I'm going to go blow up an abortion clinic and kill people. Or others who say Abortion is Murder, but the Death Penalty is okay... Really....! We don't call these people out, drag them through the court of public opinion and judge them for their stances. They claim to be a patriot, but support legislation that takes away our rights, and we refuse to look past their rhetoric to their real actions. We are a lazy society who doesn't bother to even think for ourselves anymore, we listen to Fox News, or MSNBC and let them tell us what to think, or we go to a church and are told what to think. Some people go to work, or hang out with a social circle that tells them what to think, others are raised to think what they are told and are too lazy as adults to think for themselves. No one can be bothered to look past the superficial veneer created by those in authority and those with the wealth, to the actual, real world and what is happening to it. Our rights are being taken one by one, in front of our very eyes and our response is to buy a value meal and smile at the pretty anorexic girl at the drive-thru, as we drive home from Walmart. We are encouraged to work more and longer, for less money and benefits, while our once higher paying jobs are sent to China, Mexico, or India. We are told to consume, groomed to consume essentially from infancy, and constantly distracted by the latest movies, gizmo's, gadgets, music, television shows, or professional sporting events to help us forget about how we have significantly less, while a very small percentage have the vast majority. Public schools fail to teach real-world skills, and instead are basically grooming parlors, meant to teach obedience to authority, as well as instill whatever local ideology is the most popular. As a result, people are under-educated, uninformed, and intellectually lazy. These things make people susceptible to influence from a variety of groups; Religious, Fringe, Ideological.  What we end up with are partisans, who can't see past their own noses, who refuse to cooperate on important societal issues, obstruct any kind of progress, or do not defend their own rights, due to laziness or ignorance.

The precious few in our society who see the larger problem, and want to do something have little to no power, because the collective masses are being led off a red, white, and blue cliff with a bible in their hands. How can you combat ignorance when people are told by their churches, the end of the world is upon us and that's a glorious thing? These people don't want to be a part of the solution, they want everything to go to shit. That scares me, because they are essentially trying to self-fulfill their own prophecy, only the outcome is likely to be a decimation of the human race and a new dark age, from which we might not emerge. I'm really trying to maintain hope about all of this, because I have to believe humanity hasn't doomed itself, that there are other intelligent people out there who want to make the future a better place for ourselves and our offspring.

I know I'm not going to convince most of you out there to get pissed off enough to actually go out and try to make a difference. It’s easier to assume someone else, like me will pick up the flag and carry it further down the line, but in reality if we want to keep our freedoms each one of us is responsible for carrying the flag and it will take each one of us to stop those in power from continuing to usurp our rights. We need to have actual conversations about issues and to let them devolve into ignorant, hateful, or threatening diatribes. Bring differing points of view to the table and debate it, without getting ugly about it. Find ways of compromising with those who believe differently, promote diversity, even at the expense of your own personal ideological comfort, Stop voting for a broken two party system by voting outside the box, stop bullying whenever you see it, speak out in defense of those who can't or are to scared, encourage those around you to open their eyes and think for themselves with daily encouragement you can make a difference.