What’s Going On? I remember the Marvin Gaye song so vividly. Some songs are timeless because they have a universal message whether that be a message of love or heartbreak or a lesson we’ve all had to learn at some point. The song, What’s Going On? is relevant again because history keeps repeating itself.
I was only a young person when I learned about the civil rights protests and saw video of rallies and riots in Berkley, California or tragedies that were born out of fighting for freedoms such as what happened at Kent State University in Ohio. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like we’ve gone back to the 60’s and that we’re all slowly and viciously preparing for another civil war? Of course I’m not referring to the historic North vs. South war. I don’t think our people will ever turn on each other in an organized fashion involving military groups. But we have rebuked a great deal of what we achieved after the civil rights act was signed by LBJ in 1964. And don’t even for a second think that you’re exempt from this vitriol. We’re all guilty of it. We all strongly dislike “the other side”. We all think the other side is brainwashed, crazy, guilty of reading the new phenomenon of ‘fake news’ or believing ‘alternative facts’. We all feel that way about someone in our lives or on our Facebook page. We can’t believe these people could think the way they do and have a conscience of any kind. I think it’s fair to warn ourselves that we’re treading on a slippery slope if we’re going to continue to treat each other this way there will be consequences to pay.
What’s going on? I mean really. What in the hell is going on? We’re all angry and frustrated. What is it going to take to change? We all sit and wait on politicians to fix our problems when our problems come from something much deeper: a disregard for humanity. We blame a corrupt, lying, self-serving legislative “sport” for not fixing our issues, when our issues aren’t anything any one bill or piece of legislation or policy can fix. Technology has helped us elevate ourselves into quite a civilized society in so many ways. We have created a greater sense of tolerance worldwide for marginalized groups. Because of the technology available to us in social media, in real time we hear stories of gang-raped women in India, we see videos of widespread police brutality, we browse through articles about civil unrest occuring in impoverished nations as they are happening; we watch with protest the extermination of LGBTQ people in Chechnya and we speak out. We see trending hashtags such as #transrights and #resistance and #freedomofpress and because of that we are able to help immediately. We are able to send aid in the form of finance or something as simple as emotional support. At the same time, social media has cursed us with the ability to sit behind the veil of a smart phone or a computer and be absolutely terrible to people. It is responsible for fake news reports and hate that spreads like wildfire. It has ignited groups that prey on those who are “less than”. I think it’s important to stay on the right side of history. The only way we’re going to do that is by speaking our minds, we all get that. However, we are grossly mistaken if we think that an elected official is going to heal the wounds that are written all over our bodies and minds.
I’ll speak for myself as an American. We have a humanity problem in The United States-that is truly the issue. Until we actually agree to speak to each other, we’ll never figure out What’s Going On? A friend of mine who just lost her nephew and then her daughter just four months later to suicide said to me on the phone just last week: “Our society is killing us.” To solve divides in human issues, we first have to look inside ourselves and admit we are wrong and then we have to make peace with the people we disagree with. That is where it starts. “Hello. I’m Branden. I was wrong. I’m sorry for being a closed minded person. I’m sorry for refusing to look at the world standing in your shoes for a moment. Let’s learn to love each other instead of fight.” Who’s with me?