I get it. Most of us really do not know what to do with all the senseless acts of violence around the world and within our own country. It just takes a few glances on social media to see it has led to a great deal of anxiety and anger which is why so many voters are turning to Donald Trump for the November election.
That said, it is incumbent upon all citizens to step up during a time of need and to put forth their greatest effort toward solving the problems we face. Whether it is an increase in violent attacks, a shaky job market, or social matters, we are not doing enough to make this nation a better place for everyone.
Some have turned blindly to Hillary Clinton, ignoring her troubles with the FBI and checkered past, or worse, they see Bernie Sanders as the answer to all that ails us. They are no better option than Donald Trump in my opinion.
Worst of all is to think the use of hashtags or public proclamations of praying for our tragedies and challenges is the answer. They’re really of no use.
What in the world does posting or supporting a hashtag do when scores of people have been massacred? At best, it might make you feel better about being aware of a tragedy, but on the grand scheme of life it does nothing. It does not help police catch a killer. It does not provide special services for victims. It certainly does nothing to prevent the next attack.
Are people so naive they believe that if millions of people post a hash tag it will scare a group like ISIS into non-existence? It just makes them laugh at us and strengthens their resolve to continue their barbaric behavior.
Rather than relying on the use of a hashtag, think about how much you are personally willing to sacrifice in the name of preserving peace and ending violence inside our borders. How do you feel about tax increases to raise money to combat terrorism around the world? Are you willing to give up your freedom of speech, right to privacy, or even your guns in the name of national security? Should we toss out the freedom to practice the religion of our choice or round up citizens for the horrible crime of being born from a certain country?
We would all be wise to read Farewell To Manzanar before we push for the mass rounding up of an entire race of people. We should go back and study the Salem Witch Trials or even more recently the paranoia that resulted in McCarthyism before we support a candidate or policy that runs counter to our nation’s basic principles. This is what we should be studying rather than the ramifications of posting or not posting a snappy hashtag or photo in support of a particular group of victims.
As for sharing with the world who and or what you are praying for, why? Again, this is simply a means of taking a tragedy that has hit someone else and turning it around into something about you. Most of your friends know whether or not you already pray so you do not need to tell them you are doing so in the name of victims from a mass shooting.
I have no problem with people who pray, meditate, or simply turn inward to think about peace. However, leave it off social media because if you are not praying, meditating, or thinking deeply about the victims of violence, you probably are lacking in quality friends.
Orlando came in the after math of San Bernardino. San Bernardino came in the aftermath of Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook came in the aftermath of Columbine. Guess what? Our prayers did nothing to prevent these horrific acts of violence.
Actions speak louder than words and prayers so what are you doing to help clean up our culture of violence? Are you refusing to allow your children access to violent video games or other forms of entertainment as a way from polluting their minds? Are you talking to them and really getting to know what they are thinking or are you too busy to be bothered?
You see, prayer does not make up for a lack of love or values in a person with a troubled mind. Intolerance does not create acceptance of those who are different just as arming everyone does not make us safer.
I do not have a lot of answers to our social ills, however I do know it takes a culture of acceptance and understanding to prevent hate from destroying us from within. Politicizing events like what happened in Orlando only divides us further where as seeing members of all parties, races, religions, and identities come together to listen, share, and solve is a much bigger step in the right direction.
So put away your hashtags, keep your prayers to yourself, and step up and act.
Jim is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is also the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching. Jim considers himself an equal opportunity pain in the ass to any political party, group, or individual who looks to profit off of hypocrisy. When he is not pointing out the conflicting words and actions of our leaders, the NFL commissioner, or humans in general, he can be found riding his bike for hours on end while pondering his next article. Jim recently moved to Camarillo, CA after being convinced to join the witness protection program.