Black people were murdered. It was truly terrible.
Cops were senselessly killed. It was completely awful.
Gays were gunned down. It was heartbreakingly atrocious.
An airport security area was blown up. A city center was decimated. Soldiers were killed. People starved to death. Humans were trafficked. Men and women and children were raped. Drugs were rampant. Corpses were hung from overpasses. Civilians were caught up in drone attacks. Hate crimes took place.
There’s always a hash tag for that.
And as a whole, we’re forgetting how good the world really is. We are forgetting how much we have, how rich our lives are, and how much beautiful opportunity awaits us around every corner.
Instead, we have begun to fear turning the next corner because… What if someone is standing there with a gun? What if something, anything, truly bad is there to greet us?
Social media is a powerful tool, and just enough of us are using it to make the problems in this world worse, not better, by drowning out the good from ever being seen.
We rage about how terrible the world has become. We rant about the awful things we see happening in the world. We publicly scold the human race for being so constantly terrible. And since every single day something fucking awful is happening in this world, it always gives those on social media a common something to… hate.
And where there is hate, there cannot be love. Of this, I am certain.
At one point, many years ago (before social media), I began to hate the world. I began to see nothing but evil. I began to believe that there was little goodness left. And then I realized something. I realized that I was obsessed with watching the news, and reading the news. It was an addiction of sorts; a daily real live soap opera that made me feel better about myself and my miserable life. I was so tuned-in to all the terrible things happening somewhere out there, that I could no longer see the goodness in the world that immediately surrounded me, and I didn’t have to care about my own shortcomings, either.
After that realization, I stopped chronically watching the news. I knew any story big enough to warrant my concern or attention would somehow make its way to me, and it always did. My life became so much more positive and in general so much less depressing. Then Facebook came along and became the new addictive platform for spreading the terrible atrocities of the world.
So much ranting on Facebook. Constantly. So much raging. So much fist shaking. So much anger. So much hate. Almost no action whatsoever.
“We must talk about it if we want to change it!”
Talk is cheap and if I’m being honest, it’s self-aggrandizing. Ranting about problems we see, but doing nothing to change them only makes the problem worse. How do we not get this?
Don’t we see that in the history of civil rights, violence and anger never actually solved anything. Stomping our feet and screaming never accomplished skwadiddly. Walking arm in arm with each other, unabashed and proud, toward the politicians of this country or in front of rolling video cameras… That’s what has always made the problem less of a problem.
Screaming that black lives matter doesn’t make black lives matter to anyone who actually ridiculously thinks that black lives don’t matter. Do you really think your politicians are going to hear your outrageous cry on Facebook?! Do you really believe your post is doing anything to help? Wakeup call. It’s not.
Creating an event to rally people to support your cause or to spread love. That’s doing something. Forwarding your rage to your local and national elected leaders. That’s doing something. Sharing links on social media to help others do that as well… That’s doing something. Crying out about how awful everything and everyone is… Well, that’s doing nothing but making everyone feel like crap about the world.
Hateful passion causes more divide. It always has.
This is why we must flood our feeds with far more positivity. We must saturate our social networks with the good we see in this world. We must fill the minds of those around us with images that prove how incredible mankind really is (and always has been).
We don’t win this war by having bigger guns or louder voices. We win this war quietly, with amazing and daily proof of the goodness in everyone, of every race, of every sexual orientation, and of every type. That is the true power we have with social media. We don’t make our friends and neighbors of different races believe we’re not racist with a hashtag. We do it by being incredible friends and neighbors.
Bigotry doesn’t go away because you or I tell it to go away; not when the media is constantly showing so much backslapping proof of why it should still exist. It also doesn’t go away just because people become too scared to share it aloud. No… Bigotry goes away because people somehow come to know and love whatever the very thing is they once so feared.
I shared this on my Facebook profile today and I’ll share it again now:
I was just walking to a coffee shop and watched as a well-dressed man sat down next to a homeless person, handed the homeless man a coffee, and said, “you look like you could use some company.” The homeless man eagerly obliged and when I came back out, the homeless man was enthusiastically telling his life story to a person who simply took a moment to care. ❤️
What I didn’t mention: the man who sat down was Middle Eastern. The man who was homeless was black. But did it matter? I’ve seen petite little white girls here in the city do the same thing. I’ve witnessed amazing people of every race be amazing to each other in so many ways.
Love. Positivity. Opening your eyes to the goodness that is the world around you. All of it is what we need so much more of in this day and age.
Say what you must publicly say, but do something if you are going to say something. Use your platforms to rant, if you must, but use them to spread imagery of amazingness as well. The world deserves that. Your neighbors deserve that. I deserve that. Your family and friends and children deserve that. You deserve that. So do that. Please. Before we believe there’s no goodness left.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing