A day or two ago I posted a status that read, “Apparently the VMAs happened last night. In other news, 25,000 people died yesterday due to poverty related causes. Enjoy your twerking.”
Several people readily ‘liked’ the status. However, one of my good friends astutely commented “couldn’t this be said about anything though?” Giving examples like the Super Bowl, a Seinfeld episode or the Oscars. I had a snarky comeback about how dying people probably could wait… but the point is valid.
I comforted myself at first by saying “Well, I don’t watch the Superbowl, or the Oscars, or Seinfeld… I read books and things like that.” But, in all reality, whether it’s books or TV, or whatever else, my non-working world revolves around entertainment. My friend’s comment was convicting.
I’ve heard people say things like, “Well, we could always be doing more for the poor”. Yep, that’s true. It’s a good reason to not burn yourself out, but a crappy excuse for complacency. I love to solve problems but I tend to back away from problems that are too big for me to handle. While in some cases this might be considered wisdom, it is not so with this one.
“The poor will always be with you.” This is true. In the US, we’ve fought and lost our War on Poverty. Help has come for many, but it falls desperately short of what is needed. I’m not convinced that any government program will salvage our destitute and bring them to prosperity. If anything, the hope for the poor is in the hands of those around them.
Anyway, to the main point here. My main reason for posting that status is my frustration with my own media obsessed nature and culture. I honestly don’t give two sh*ts about Miley Cyrus twerking. But, my news feed is crammed with articles like “Let Miley Be a Lesson for Your Daughter”, “Help Miley”, “Letters to Miley”, blah blah EFFING BLAH. I’m sorry that she’s having an identity crisis that’s being played out on national television in spectacularly awful fashion. Conveniently, so many are ignoring the other things going on in the world around them.
How many people have been reading or posting articles on the fact that the US is on the verge of sending cruise missiles to hit targets in Syria? How many people, other than reporters, have been posting things about whole families being found dead in their beds from Assad’s chemical attacks on his own people? Well, this one hits home, I’ve read stories but I haven’t posted them. Maybe living in a war zone has changed my perspective, well I freaking hope it has.
I see so much waste from my culture; from water to talent, from money to passion, so much waste. Then I hear about how the war in Afghanistan is a total failure, how Egypt is doomed to chaos and despair, about how great the American spirit is. Bull. Get over yourselves.
The mere fact that 25,000 people die every day is sad. The fact the I can write it off because it’s an every day occurrence is worse. I remember when I was in college, all the “Social Justice” groups and movements that were going on. Maybe they still are, I don’t really know. I remember thinking that most of them were/are ineffective… However, I feel like failure is preferable to not ever trying.. Meh, maybe.
I’m not angry with people taking it easy after a long day of work and enjoying some rest in front of the TV or computer. I’m all for appropriate rest and entertainment. However, when entertainment becomes the focal point of our lives, we’ve missed the target, even more so the mark.
I don’t really expect people to change. It takes an alteration of one’s circumstances to change. The US briefly goes through times like this when crisis strikes but it soon dies out. Do I think that the US should continue to police the world? Do I think we should intervene in Syria? My views might surprise you, they might not. But, you won’t find them here. I’d encourage you to figure them out on your own. Give a little more time and effort to understanding the globe rather than the psyche of a provocative 20-year-old.
I’m not even asking you to do anything. Just asking you to pay attention. Maybe if you do so, you’ll be motivated on your own. If not, well.. I’m out of ideas.
Maybe it’s just because I’m interested in global politics that I get so angry about things like this. Maybe it’s because I live in Central Asia. Everyone has their interests I guess, but I still see that as a lame excuse. If people of suffering isn’t a point of “interest” it should at least be a point of concern, even more so, what your government is doing or not doing about it.
Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves.
– Thomas Jefferson