Is This the World You Want?
Published on May 31, 2022
Imagine students across the country wondering if today is the day a person shows up with a gun and shoots their peers. Imagine countless Americans suffering from mental illness, killing themselves because they feel alone. Imagine a country ravaged by disease and divided over political views. Now realize that you don't have to imagine. It's 2022. And this is real life. This is America.
2012 Sandy Hook. 2018 Parkland, Florida. 2021 Oxford, Michigan. And now Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Uvalde, Texas in 2022. How can this be real life? Was America ever really great? The two things all these events had in common were that they had victims and they had shooters. In the midst of all the grief, did anyone stop to wonder why these tragedies happened? The initial thought for most might be poor gun control laws, and perhaps that is part of the issue. But I'm not sure legislation or lack thereof has a direct impact on shooter motivations. Often, people who carry out these horrid acts are victims themselves. Bullying, verbal and sexual harassment and abusive parents are all traumatic experiences that often motivate these acts. I am not condoning mass shooters, but before we go accusing the government of failing to protect us, let's pause and understand why these things occur and how we can prevent them from happening again. Maybe stricter gun acquisition laws will help, maybe not. But what will help is love, respect, and understanding.
It is important to keep in mind during trying times that we are not alone and the Lord loves his people. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, therefore I will hope in him.” –Lamentations 3:22-24
I'm 20 years old, and I've suffered from depression and social anxiety for the past 5 years. Sometimes I think all people my age do. How can we not with the world the way it is? Clearly, I haven't committed suicide, but I'd be lying if I told you the thought never crossed my mind. However, many victims of mental illness have taken their own lives. I have my faith to credit for still being here to write this, but not everyone believes what I believe. So how can we end the mental illness epidemic? Short answer: I'm pretty sure it's impossible, but that's no reason not to try. We need to acknowledge that everyone is having unique struggles and that throwing judgments at them won't achieve anything. Treat others how you want to be treated. Maybe antidepressants will help, maybe not. But what will help is love, respect, and understanding.
In 1793 George Washington gave his farewell address, and he gave the American people 3 points to consider. One was to avoid having political parties in government because it would divide the people. That aged well! I'm sure individual political affiliations have a place in the blame for where we stand as a country. Just look at what they are doing to this country. Thousands of people are dying of disease while the next Karen is busy complaining about masks giving her kid acne. When it comes to masks, vaccines, and whatever other controversial topic is out there, people have the right to choose and voice their opinions, but why are people threatening each other for thinking differently? Maybe mandates will help, maybe not. But what will help is love, respect, and understanding.
America's not perfect. Heck, maybe we aren’t even the greatest country on Earth. What we are, however, is wounded, and everyone needs to recognize that healing won't come overnight. Maybe fooling ourselves will help, maybe not. But what will help is love, respect, and understanding.
What is it that makes people say that the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth? Is it that we are literally killing each other? Is it that we over politicize everything to the point of hating those who think differently than us? Is it our toleration of blatant racial injustice and homophobia? Imagine being the rest of the world watching America burn to the ground over the last two years. Are we really the exemplary of humanity? Or are we trapped in our own fantasy worlds refusing to realize the malevolent reality that beholds our supposedly great nation? You decide.
The date today is May 24th, 2022, and as I’m writing this as the news is breaking about another shooting at a school in Texas. At least 21 people dead. Hasty generalization aside, is this what we have to offer the world? The way we treat each other has to get better…somehow. It’s never too late to forgive and heal but when tragedies like this happen every other week I’m not sure how those processes can ever start.
I look at the constant political strife in this country and am deeply saddened. Trump v Biden. Republican v Democrat. Anti-vaccine v pro-vaccine. Why does it have to be this way? Why can’t there just be Americans? I know I don’t have the answers. All I know is that individual responsibility, love, and truth can save the world. So I suppose instead of living in our own fantasy worlds feeling sad for 15 minutes for the 21 people who were just shot to death in school today, we can do something good with our lives.
Treat others with respect and kindness and speak the truth. Adopt responsibility, carry a load, and aim to be good. These are the steps we can take to begin healing. The solution to America’s countless issues will never be found in politics or government, but individual development. If this happens, we can piece together the broken mirror that is America, and perhaps one day, the reflection will show something beautiful.