I wake up every day and see news outlet after news outlet polluting our minds with jealousy, vanity, and cynicism. How many homicides were there today? Did they catch the guy who kidnapped that kid? Will they ever be found? And if they’re found will they be the same? The stock market’s up, though, so don’t you worry, my friend, everything’s gonna be all right.
Is this really how we judge whether we’re succeeding as a country – as a species? Is it more important to have more money in your pocket than it is to have an open mind? When did inflexibility become the new normal? You can’t have a conversation with anyone regarding any type of political theory lest you risk the conversation becoming an attack on you personally.
We do not live concrete, linear lives. We live, in my opinion, several lifetimes wrapped up into the person that is you. We morph and transform nearly every day because no day is like the other, no matter how much we try to control it. We have to be willing to bend and truly understand why things are happening instead of tossing them aside as some sort of passing fad or, as I’ve noticed time and time again on social media, something that’s just “stupid.”
I remember when Bobby came into the limelight when he was prosecuting Teamsters and other corrupted figures in unions. Hell, he even supported Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare. He was known for his ruthlessness. He was known as someone who wasn’t a bullshitter. But what happened?
He opened his eyes.
He witnessed the injustices to blacks in the South and simply asked, “Why?” A simple question that many people just didn’t want to ask at the time. They simply brushed it off as something that was always done or they secretly thought well we don’t do that here, at least. The once inflexible Bobby Kennedy began his journey to the Bobby Kennedy who urged us to “Seek a newer world.”
Now, I’m in no way saying that Bobby was a one of a kind type of person during this period of time. There were a number of people, nameless people who will never have themselves published in the history books, who asked this question. It just so happened that he was well known and politically powerful. But what also helped was the fact that he actually meant it when he said what he said.
When he ran for president in 1968, he held nothing back. He told it like it was. When he told that room full of Kansas college students which one of them would volunteer for Vietnam instead of forcing the poor to go in their stead, he didn’t hold back. When he pointed out that he didn’t see many black students in the room, he didn’t hold back. He ripped off the mask of comfortability we lived in because we were too afraid to face reality.
We lived in interesting times then, and we live in them now. Bobby’s message, though, still rings true today. We need to have compassion for one another, an understanding of one another, and while we don’t necessarily need to like one another we should be able to treat each other decently. It’s what we seem to have forgotten in today’s world, and it’s something we do desperately need.
If someone reaches their hand out for help, don’t trip them after you’ve helped them up. Dust them off and truly help them, selflessly. Because sooner or later you’ll be the one who needs to reach their hand up for help, and I don’t know about you, but I’d like for someone to be there to help me up just like I’d do for them.
We are a decent species, with the ability to work wonders if we only hold onto those feelings of empathy and compassion towards one another. Because, in the end, we all suffer, in one way or another, so it’s best to be kind.