Today marks the 19th anniversary of the school shooting at Columbine High School, where 15 students and teachers (including the shooters themselves) were massacred in an act of senseless rage. And today millions of students across the country walked out of their schools to once again protest the heinous carnage that goes on time and time again around us with seemingly no end in sight. It’s time like these when we feel hopeless and that we are doomed to simply repeat the past over and over again.
This time, though, it’s different. You can feel it in the air. Change is a-comin’ and there’s nothing special interest groups, fundamentalists, or conservatives (with a small c) can do about it. Progress moves forward even in the darkest of times, and, just like life, it stops for no one. Winston Churchill said of America:
“Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.”
We’ve been here before, haven’t we? There’s an endless cycle of death and destruction that seems to permeate itself around the world, and instead of seeking out the truth and wisdom we need to continue to live in a just, peaceful world, we cling to our fears to keep us rooted in a world of stereotypes, prejudices, and a retrograde of progress.
We build the world we see based on our experiences and the reactions to those experiences. We can take an experience we’ve had in our life and make it the very essence for our fight for a certain cause, or we can use that experience to fortify ourselves around a barricaded wall of misinformation and hate. Like it or not, we live in a post 9/11 world where stereotypes we haven’t seen the likes of since the 1920s and 1930s are now prevalent in our society. We have two paths which we can go down now: one where we learn from these hideous tragedies and come together as one human race or we can continue down the path we’re already on: one of racism, sexism, and division.
We now live in a society where rules have been thrown out the window. Where the idea of
a sane leader has been replaced by a hyperbole on top of a massive form of personification. We believe what we hear yet refuse to discover whether it is true or not. Why is that? Why are we afraid to uncover if something we’ve learned is incorrect or not? It’s simple: we’re afraid of change.
Many frightening events are happening right in our country. They range from the consistent attempts and now possible appeal of the Affordable Care Act, the reconstruction of the Keystone XL Pipeline and Dakota Pipeline, to the horrific Executive Orders signed by Trump over the past few days. The most horrendous of these orders is the barring of Muslims from certain countries from entering the United States regardless of whether they be refugees, green card holders, or visiting. These are all terrifying to what our country stands for, but I read something the other day which terrified me even more than what we’ve been through these past few weeks:
First off, I just want to thank each and every one of you who read this blog, share its posts and believe in the same ideals of compassion and empathy that Robert Kennedy stood for his entire life. I’ll be back at the beginning of the new year with new posts. I’ve just been organizing my thoughts and understanding the long road ahead of us.
We have a lot of work to do in the upcoming year, beginning with getting Robert Kennedy’s message out to the public, sharing this blog, and practicing compassion and empathy in a country where it’s beginning to seem that selfishness is the new normal.
We cannot allow this to happen, and I know you all agree. So get some rest, enjoy the rest of your holiday season because come January 1st, we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
And I’m looking forward to all of you joining me, because the only way to go is up, and together we can make a difference.