I’m kind of mad at the world right now and I’m beginning to question its sanity. Have we lost all sense of what it means to be kind, decent, and respectable human beings and given into throwing the type of tantrums and fits that even my 4-year-old niece knows better than to do in public??
We’ve all spent the past 3 months worried about a virus, to the point that life has been disrupted in a way that may never return to the “real normal”. We debate and even hate on one another for opting to wear a mask or not wear a mask in public, as if this single act alone is going to save our lives. We act out in the grocery store when we run into neighbors and acquaintances we once would have taken a moment to speak to, all because they fall on the opposite side of our stand on social distancing etiquette. And if you think this is not true, come with me when I go to work my merchandising gig sometime. Just last week, I witnessed nearly a dozen incidents in which one person was being mean to another – all over a piece a cloth!
Given all this, there is no wonder then that folks are burning courthouses and vandalizing Target stores too. Life as we know it is already in a state of chaos so why not just add to the madness!
What happened to George Floyd and all the other people of color who we aren’t hearing about on the news is unacceptable. It is wrong. It is outrageous. It is serious. It needs to stop. But folks, it’s not going to. Why? Because we hate each other over the stupidest of things!
I fully understand that not all people are acting badly, not all cops are corrupt, and not everyone is berating their neighbor over a face mask. But even if we aren’t being outwardly hateful, all of us carry our own set of prejudices. And what is prejudice exactly? I had to look this up myself because I was a bit confused. My family (misguidedly) taught me that prejudice could be good in some instances – such as when it keeps you from making a bad choice. For example, when you don’t go to McDonald’s because you “hate” how they are killing people every day with their food. This is not prejudice though – this is called being discerning. One is acceptable, the other is not.
Prejudice is having a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Prejudice is when we think the black man who has picked up our trash for the last 25 years is somehow less of a person because of the color of his skin. Prejudice is telling your gay relative that she’s going to hell because she “made a choice that no one else agrees with”. But prejudice is also thinking it’s “us vs. them” in every single situation, from how we react to senseless tragedies to how to fight a virus.
Every argument, every feud, and every war was started by the “us vs. them” mindset. Isn’t it time we changed that? All lives matter and despite what we have been taught to believe, people have way more in common with one another than they have differences – starting with the fact that we all live on the same planet, bleed the same color blood, die of the same diseases, and have the same choices when it comes to treating others as we wish to be treated ourselves.
Yes, I’m mad at the world right now. I’m mad at my own family, my neighbors, and my community for being mean to one another when we should all be trying to lift one another up. Life is hard enough as it is. We don’t need to fuel the hatred and indecency just because we can. So here’s what I’m going to do about it…
I love you all. I respect your choice to wear a mask or not wear a mask, because only you know how you have been affected in this pandemic. I respect your political choice, whether you are Democrat, Republican, or in-between. I share your outrage at the senseless death and destruction that has become the sad hallmark of our country and I stand with you in peaceful protest, hoping one day soon this will change. While I will always be discerning in my own choices, I vow to no longer let the “us vs. them” mentality creep into my life and above all, I will not pass down any prejudices I may have learned in my lifetime to anyone that I love.