By Scott Lander –
Grassroots organizations are rising up all over the nation to combat this plague, which comes in many different forms.
The Black Lives Matter movement is concerned with ending police brutality. The Occupy movement is exposing economic injustices. End Citizens United is purposed with getting money out of politics.
People like Elon Musk and events such as the Climate Summit are stressing environmental issues in an effort to keep our planet sustainable. There’s a liberal whirlwind of activism out there.
What isn’t happening, at least not quickly enough, is a change in our overall attitudes.
These movements represent a concern for the greater good. BLM activists aren’t troubled by excessive force being used against only people of color; they don’t want to see anyone beat down or shot to death by those who took oaths to protect them. Occupy activists are sometimes called the “Other 98%”; they’re calling for economic well-being of the vast majority, regardless of ethnicity, creed, or sexuality. Those who want to see the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Citizens United v. the FEC overturned are doing so in the name of real democracy for everyone, the relinquishment of influence by the 2%. And it goes without saying that environmental concerns affect every living being on this planet we all share.
But in this age of global communication and mobile internet access, which is allowing people from all walks of life to have open and uncensored dialogue, we’re also witnessing an amplification of the ego. You cannot peruse social media without bombardment of “selfies” and proliferation of “me, myself, and I.”
We’ve been granted the ability to talk to each other, but we’ve chosen to talk about each other and ourselves. When a real issue is actually presented, more often than not it creates division and dissent; keyboard commandos operating with anonymity in the comment sections lambast other real-life people with insults and even threats of physical harm.
Communication technology was supposed to help us advance as a civilization, yet it’s led to a concerning amount of incivility.
No man is an island; what our neighbors do has a direct impact on us as individuals. When we allow a major corporation to underpay their workers, we end up having to foot the bill. Case in point: Wal-Mart employees, people who work full-time jobs providing a service to the community, qualified for $6.2 billion dollars in government subsidy from tax-payers.
The workers’ lives are worse, being degraded by having to accept a form of charity despite being a productive member of society. The customers’ lives are worse, having to pay for the goods from said corporation on one hand, then paying the sales and income taxes that are used to subsidize on the other hand. Furthermore, the goods themselves are mostly produced in slave-labor countries like China and those workers’ lives are worse for being exploited and abused.
The federal government’s livelihood is also worse, having to allocate funds and resources to processing and distributing said subsidies, not to mention the local governments who entice the corporation into their communities with incentives in the form of tax breaks. When their presence no longer serves the needs of the company, they close down after running all the other small businesses out of town, leaving venerable grocery deserts in their wake.
There’s only one entity in this equation which bears no repercussion for this entire debacle: Wal-Mart. The Walton family has seen their net worth increase exponentially, to an absurd degree; they now control a fortune equal to the wealth of the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined. This is the epitome of injustice, on so many levels.
So what can we do? Back to the problem of unchanging attitudes: Love thy neighbor.
Listen to them, instead of merely tolerating their testimonial long enough to interject your own opinion. Consider their perspective, try to understand where they’re coming from; walk a mile in their shoes. Use your imagination in an effort to comprehend what it is they deal with on a day-to-day basis. Be open-minded to all ideas; you don’t have to change your mind, but hearing them out can have no adverse effect.
Use deductive reasoning and critical thinking. Do independent research as opposed to blindly accepting what mainstream media shoves down your throat.
When something seems to be off-kilter, follow the money; find out who benefits from what’s wrong with the picture.
Be kind, because it costs you nothing to do so and will actually make you feel better in the long run.
Despite what our indoctrination tells us, life is not a competition; it’s a journey we’re all on with each other.
Cast off prejudgments and predispositions, do away with absolutism; question traditional belief systems and only retain them if they work for you and your neighbor both. Work together, play together, live together; this world will become a better place through one methodology only: Togetherness.
Together we can combat the myriad injustices, and only together can we defeat this epidemic.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.