In my Great-Grandparents generation people helped their neighbors. In my Grandparents generation, people helped their neighbors. With my parents generation, people helped their friends and family. My generation helps themselves and their close friends. Today's generation helps only themselves. I think this change in the way our society acts towards one another is a large part of the reason we have the type of violence, we do.
At some point we lost the ability to empathize with those who stand apart from our tight, inner circle of close friends. We no longer have compassion for those in need, as we are told they are freeloading moochers who only care about handouts. We don't listen to anything that contradicts the narrative that people who are poor and destitute are that way because they are lazy or trying to game the system. We give money to corporate charities like, Red Cross, United Way, but only because we want to feel better about ourselves, and doing so helps us justify our feelings.
We have great political debates and become easily divided by wedge issues, such as; Gay rights, abortion, gun control, even when these issues may not affect us. We feel justified in our own beliefs and vilify others who disagree, no matter what side we are on. We fail to recognize that some people have beliefs because they are ignorant of the facts, or they insulate themselves from the knowledge that might otherwise set them free.
These are the reasons why our society has become what it is today and it's our own fault for letting it happen. It's easier to turn a blind eye, keep your head down, and focus on your own lives, rather than take the risk to help a stranger. It's easier to turn off your brain and let some Politician or Talking Head on Television, tell you what to think and believe. I guess until our society stops taking the easy way out all the time, things won't change and will continue to get worse.
Gun's are only part of the problem. We have an attitude problem in this country. Other nations used to look to the United States as a beacon of hope, a nation to be admired and imitated, now we are mocked and ridiculed for our hypocrisy, our willful ignorance, and our chip-on-our-shoulder attitude. Can any of this be changed? I don't know. We are in so far over our heads at this point, maybe wiping the slate clean is the only way to effect any kind of actual change, but we've become to apathetic to even muster the will to do that. We keep electing the same politicians to office, even though only 20% of us actually think they are doing a good job. We vote on ideology instead of what's best for all of us as a whole. Corporations are given license to do what they want and have bought and paid for the politicians who make law, essentially making the Corporations in charge of law. Police are murdering civilians every day in the news, and most are not being charged even though there is direct evidence of their wrongdoing.
Yet, even with all of this overwhelming evidence of a societal problem in our face every day, we still do nothing. We don't vote, or if we do, we don't vote for people who will make a difference. We don't try to help others, we ignore those who actually are trying to make a difference and support people who tell us what we want to hear. All of us are guilty of at least some of these things.
A good example of this is my wife and I, who decided to start a new Christmas tradition of donating to our local food pantry, instead of getting each other gifts. We did this last year for the first time and are doing it again this year. We sent out a Facebook post, tweeted about it, shared the link and everything, we even donated the first 5 dollars toward this fundraiser, even though we live on less than 800 dollars a month. Last year 2 people donated a total of 30 dollars. This year, aside from our 5 dollars, my mother donated 25 dollars. No one else could be bothered to donate 1 dollar. That right there is why our country is the way it is. People can't be bothered to help when it comes to someone actually trying to make a difference. Maybe it isn't to late to teach our own children the value in helping others. Perhaps we should all lead by example and show them what it means to be the kind of change we hope for.