When I was in my mid twenties, right at the turn of the millennium, I truly believed that we would see a societal shift in consciousness, for the better. I thought people were going to “wake up” and we would see a new world. I remember this older man telling me, “We all feel that way when we’re young. Wait til you get older, you’ll understand it’s not gonna change.” At the time, I was set to prove him wrong. Yet, it happened, and he was right. It took a little over a decade, and then some, to get to the point of feeling that it would never change, that we’d always have the same mentality of greed, narcissism, power, and selfishness. I live in the United States, so I was hoping we would be a nation of higher thinking and we would lead the world to a state of higher consciousness. These were lofty ideals as the United States was founded on genocide of the indigenous people, theft of their land, inequality and oppression. It was, from the first day, set up to be the “land of the free” for the white man only -ironically, the immigrants.
Yet, today, right now, I see signs of awareness, that may (or may not) lead to change.
For several years I took social media as mostly a tool for narcissism and felt like I’d never experience a day when life didn’t feel like high school on-line. I was aware of the benefits of social media for increasing the awareness of movements & current events worldwide that are not covered by mass media. And, lately, there’s a very present issue and common thread in our social awareness. It’s gaining momentum and presents something different to focus on than this circus show presidential election. Due to so much coverage of police brutality over the last couple of years and the “black lives matter” and “all lives matter” movements, a problem with our justice system has been revealed and focused on. That awareness set the platform for two recent news stories – the ever present hot debate about Colin Kaepernick taking a seat to stand against racism during the national anthem (which is by the way a racist song); and the many Native American tribes and fellow Americans who stood up and protested against the Dakota oil pipeline. Both stories are about actions that are truly American – standing up for equality and an end to oppression; and real Americans, natives, the only folks who can say “if you don’t like my country you can go back to where your ancestors are from,” exercising their right to assembly and freedom of expression.
This awareness brings out the best and the worst of human beings. On social media you see some folks who are fighting the good fight, and practically begging their fellow Americans to see that we have a problem – and it’s fixable. The solution is treating each and every American (and human) as an equal. There are people who are calling an end to discrimination based on what a person looks like, their skin tone, their physical features, etc. There are those who just plain want equal rights for every American. Thankfully, many of them have been veterans, who fought for that very freedom, which has been influential. We’re also seeing the folks who spew hate, disrespecting another American’s right to freedom of expression. We are seeing videos of murder and brutality toward unarmed citizens, the most brutal and disgusting behaviors. We are seeing pictures of Native Americans who were attacked by dogs during their stand against the pipeline. We are seeing the worst of our country in these attacks of American on American. And we’re starting to question our way of doing things. We are more aware now than ever that our current system is failing us and keeping us from making progress as a nation.
The election just adds to that perception, with that of a broken political system. And our growing wealth gap is an ever-present situation for Americans who are working five jobs and getting paid for one, because they need to get out of debt and save for retirement. Everything seems just out of reach, and frustrations grow, as the middle class gets exhausted from swimming up stream. Americans are hungry for change and we’re staring this presidential campaign in the face with awe and disgust, because it is a huge symbol of where we’re at as a nation. We’re realizing that our choices are limited. We’re realizing that we’re loosing our rights daily. We’re realizing that our politicians are out of control. Sooner than later we are going to realize that the only way out is to get back to the premise that our government is supposed to be run by the people for the people – not by politicians for the billionaires. Sooner than later I hope we realize that we have to fight together for our own freedom, independence, and right to Earth’s resources versus us fighting against each other for the petty pride issues found in separatism and the need to be right.
What’s happening today is just a glimpse of hope. Even though a lot of what’s being brought to the surface may seem negative, it’s a positive because it’s getting folks to be more aware of problems that need solutions and it’s making people think. Social change does take a lot of time, but for me it’s a good thing when we can all start to agree that we need change. We can’t live by the same out-dated viewpoints under an outdated system when we’re in a modern era with advanced technology, more knowledge than ever before, and we now have the capacity to communicate with the rest of the world with our technology. We now have the tools to change, to make a better America and to make a better world. Even a glimpse of hope is better than despair. So I’ll hold onto it for as long as I can.