Thursday Thoughts: Mute Where Pointless, Speak Up Where Necessary

Thursday Thoughts: Mute Where Pointless, Speak Up Where Necessary

There was a time not so long ago when I thought that the world needed to know every one of my opinions. I know, pretty arrogant of me to think that anyone cared about what I thought. But as I’ve gotten older, I have created a little mantra for myself — share if you really care, refrain where there’s no gain.

 

Politics have proven to be a sticky point over the past few years. On social media I stuck to the rule of thumb to stay away from the subjects of politics and religion most of the time. But that gets harder and harder as the spirit of a country and the harsh news of the day creeps into conversations in the lunchroom, at the salon or even just standing in line at the grocery store. It is hard to keep thoughts to myself when my heart feels heavy often from the latest cruelty spewed cowardly on a Twitter timeline by someone who I’m expected to respect but who gives me little reason to do so. Or when I turn on the news only to find the same headline again and again, like a heartbreaking GROUNDHOG DAY-like loop of violence, hatred and vitriol sprawled across a different backdrop every time but maintaining a similar level of bloodshed, prejudice and anguish for those left behind to piece together.

 

I run into people online who seem to enjoy provoking others with flippant remarks attacking one side or another, neither of which do anything to address the epidemic that is taking place. For most of those, I’d make the suggestion to do what I do — if they are not raising thought-provoking questions or trying to start a meaningful conversation, use your mute button. If you’re on Twitter, you can unfollow, sure, but if it will raise too much of a fuss, simply hit the mute button. I do it all the time. On Facebook, sometimes unfriending causes frivolous drama. Just unfollow and you won’t see their posts like you once did and the other person will be none the wiser.

 

 

There’s no point in getting yourself riled up about something emotionally if it leads to nothing but back and forth bickering. Neither of you are going to change the other’s minds, so why waste the energy?

 

But some things do matter enough to speak up, and the time for remaining silent passes because being polite or strategic may not be so important after all. Lives are being lost, and the basic premise of our country – our democracy – could be at stake. Should you be concerned that there is a very strong possibility that our next presidential election in 2020 will be vulnerable again to external forces lying outside this country with their own agenda and few people in powerful positions in our nation’s Capitol are doing anything to thwart that? I think that should bother you. Should you be concerned that a 21-year- old managed to get his hands on an AK-47 style rifle and shoot up whoever the hell he felt like at a Walmart just because he didn’t like what country they or their ancestors came from? I think that should truly bother you if you’re an American. And if it doesn’t, that makes me very sad for you, that you lack regard for your country’s own humble origins and role as a safe haven and land of freedom, for your own heritage and for your fellow human beings doing nothing wrong but buying school supplies for their kids.

 

Remember when these incidences were rarities that you heard of every few years or longer? Now we cannot get through a weekend or week without someone somewhere taking out whatever anger, pain or fear they have on other people, whether because of personal circumstances that have triggered such hostility or pain or a skewed perspective of the world that has created fear of others different than themselves . The why is far too complex to break down here, but the how can be addressed. The means they have to express this anger or fear through violence can be managed with reasonable gun control parameters put in place not to restrict licensed gun owners who want a weapon for their own safety at home or for recreational use. While I’m not a fan of hunting (absolutely hate it, actually), this isn’t a blog about that. It is about agreeing that enough is enough, agreeing that you can defend yourself, your home and your family with a revolver, agreeing that  you don’t need an AK-47 to shoot Bambi in the woods, agreeing that if you truly ARE a responsible gun owner that you would not be opposed to background checks and waiting periods to pick up your weapon and acknowledging that if it prevented someone with a criminal or violent background from getting one, that these parameters placed on gun ownership would be worth it.

 

How numb are we going to let ourselves become? Let’s see – we’ve watched people worshipping in churches, mosques and temples get assassinated in places where they should feel safest of all. We’ve seen people go about their daily lives doing those things we all do with their friends and families like go shopping, catch a movie in a theater, and wind down from the day at a nightclub, and be murdered doing it.  We’ve seen our children attacked not once, not twice, but multiple times where even school campuses have become a predator’s target.

 

How much of this bloodshed is enough for politicians and their constituents to put people’s lives above the contents of their gun cabinet.

 

ENOUGH!

 

There are times to stay silent and there are times we must speak up. I can’t stay silent anymore.

 

Which is it going to be for you?  Thanks for reading. ~ Chris K.

 

Demonstrations_byCNN

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image source, CNN)

 

 

 

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