We Can Do Better

This is another post adapted from an extended Facebook post, this one from (I think) early December 2015. I think this was one of those rare, exceptionally lucid moments where I captured what I was feeling fairly well, and I stand by it now. I know two kinda political posts from me in a row is a little bit weird and probably slightly uncomfortable and maybe even not what you were looking for following this blog? But, you know, you get a little bit of everything with me, I suppose!

Sometimes I make the terrible decision of opening my eyes in the morning and, in an effort to wake up a bit more, pull out my phone and open up Facebook. This morning I saw people arguing about another recent shooting, stories about political candidates and their money, racism… We can do better. I realize Facebook is not the best place to gauge this kind of thing, but what really got me going was when I saw someone argue that humans, deep down, are animals that will just kill each other given the chance.

I refuse to believe that. And I’m not just saying that to stick my head in the sand or something; I’m saying that we have GOT to have higher standards than that. We can do better. We don’t have to live in a world where there are more mass shootings than there are days in a given year.

And I’m not just talking about stricter gun control, I’m talking about the kind of hatred we tolerate as a society, the kind of vitriol that people spew every goddamn day. We all let it happen. Every one of us. Not just the obviously racist threats people get arrested for on anonymous social media platforms, but the things we say about each other behind their backs. I’m certainly not innocent.

We can do better. We can hold ourselves up to higher standards. Consider each other’s perspectives every moment of every day. We always tell ourselves “So-and-so would never understand.” Well, no; when you’re just yelling at each other, neither of you will understand! Escalation and fighting and yelling and arguing and rabbling isn’t doing a lick of good.

Can we start putting some effort into acting like rational, capable human beings? Imagine what we could achieve if every single one of us put a little bit of effort into fostering higher standards of behavior for ourselves. Do one more nice thing today than you usually might, and one less tiny little kinda-mean thing than you usually might. Maybe don’t post that meme that makes fun of people’s spelling. Maybe hold the door open for someone who’s a little too awkwardly far away. Maybe don’t gossip about your cartoonishly clumsy coworker. Maybe give a few bucks to that homeless man you pass every day. Maybe just SMILE at him.

We can do better. We MUST do better. I must do better. YOU must do better. Right now.

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