I have a rule for my blog and social media posts – no politics. My reasoning is that these forums are about creativity, my creative output, and encouraging others in their endeavors. But over the past week or so I’ve found it increasingly difficult to not say something about recent events here in the U.S. The last straw for me was this past weekend, when a motorist drove their truck into a crowd of people peacefully protesting in my town. Several people were injured and the driver was immediately taken into custody. But still, I don’t understand what is going on to spark such anger and hatred.
Here’s the thing, I grew up around racism. It was a strange part of my upbringing because on one hand I was growing up around people who used racist language and made offensive jokes, while on the other hand I was friends with people of different races and backgrounds. It was confusing for me. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, what I was supposed to feel.
As I got older I began to see and understand how hurtful these words and ideas were to my friends. By the time I left home at eighteen, I had one of those stark realizations that I’d been a fool, that by being accepting of the racism I was hurting the people affected by it. Even though it wasn’t done out of spite or hate, I didn’t speak up because I didn’t realize that I could, and that guilt will never go away.
Now that I’m older and arguably wiser, I have a hard time understanding why people still cling to these ideas of “racial superiority” and “people knowing their place.” I mean, I understand that some people are afraid of “the other”, meaning, they fear things that are different or challenge their ideas of what the world should be like. Yes, change can be scary, but change is also inevitable. Trying to resist it leads to situations like we’re currently seeing in the news.
But why I understand the fear of change and the fear of things that might make someone uncomfortable, what I struggle with is understanding the violence and hatred. As an example, there’s the situation I mentioned above regarding a peaceful protest in downtown Tallahassee that was marred when some idiot decided they didn’t like it and drove into the crowd. Why? What point does that make? What purpose does it serve?
This is what keeps me up at night lately, trying to understand why people resort to these violent acts. If you don’t agree, counter-protest. Or better yet, ignore the people you disagree with. Isn’t that easier and, well, less likely to get someone killed?
The thing is, we’re all on this planet for a short period of time. We only have a few decades to enjoy out time here, to love, to laugh, to share kindness and joy. I know it’s probably naive of me to think this way, but it just seems to pointless to fight and kill and hate. I know, there are evil people in the world, there’s no escaping that fact, but we can’t counter evil with evil. We have to stand above it. People united for justice and equality can overcome the darkness.
I grew up during the 1970s and 80s and I really thought we had made amazing progress as a society, that groups that had been marginalized for so long were finally getting a seat at the table, that minorities, women, the LGBTQ community, were all finally getting to have a say, to be able to participate as equals. I also felt that the hatred and fear had been pushed back and neutered. But over the past few years it seems we’ve slipped backwards by decades, that all the hard work has been tossed out the window. It makes me sad and depressed.
I know, this isn’t my usual post about creativity and motivation, and I apologize for that. I just have this stuff on my mind and needed to vent. For what it’s worth, please continue to be creative, use it to not only work through your own concerns and emotions, but maybe you can use your creativity to help others work through their issues.
And push back against the darkness. We’re at a crossroads. We need to be strong.