Waking up to the results of the election this morning, I saw and heard people complaining about how the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. That’s nothing new… the saying has been around much longer than I’ve been alive. However, most people don’t seem to realize that we are the ones carrying that basket.
Elections used to be my personal superbowl. I’d hang on to every number and spout my opinion everywhere I saw the opportunity, much in the same way many folks do with sports. This year, I had to step back, because the draw of the drama was too close to home, and I realized that adding to the cacophony of opinions (educated or not) was antithetical to the shifts that need to occur on both a personal and institutional level. I took the time to educate myself, offered my input where I felt it was appropriate, and voted my conscience.
A friend of mine stated my own personal views very eloquently… she said that “the shadow has been exposed” by the presidential race. That shadow is the culmination of bigotry and fear and suppression of intellectualism and rational thought which have been driven by the disenfranchisement of those who lost their sense of power and control in the changes of the past half century who have been inadvertently scapegoating those who have gained legal and social rights to diffuse any responsibility for their own plights.
The media plays a huge role in swaying our opinions and decisions. As a broadcaster and blogger for independent and community media, I have a responsibility to research the claims of politicians and pundits and everything that comes across my own social media outlets, so that I don’t become part of the problem. To that end, I feel a responsibility now more than ever to stay focused on and offer the truth.
- The truth is that for the 4th time in US history (2nd in most of our lifetimes- in 1842, J.Q. Adams was voted in by congress as neither president won the popular or electoral vote) the electoral vote has trumped (pun intended) the popular vote.
- The truth is that we are directly responsible for allowing ourselves to be split by a polarizing binary system when we need more viable options that meet needs across the spectrum of humanity, because we have continued to elect people to congress and state and local offices who uphold the two party system because it serves their own agendas and interests instead of the public interest.
- The truth is that we have allowed bigotry to seep into our own lives on a daily basis by allowing different bandwagons to mindlessly and loudly voice their perspectives, often without viable solutions, and we have set those opinions to a laugh track and called it entertainment.
- The truth is that we vote with our dollar. Everything that we purchase is a vote for what we want as consumers, and by voting with our dollars, we have systematically created planned obsolescence and outsourced our manufacturing jobs and harmed the environment with the materialism that many people call progress.
- The truth is that we vote with our choices of entertainment. When we choose music lyrics and TV shows and comedy that mirror the worst of our society because they reflect our fears instead of our hopes and dreams, we are choosing to numb our minds and call it relaxation rather than using our entertainment to inspire and rally us to a greater purpose.
- The truth is that we are overwhelmed with negativity in every area of our lives and we are bombarded with it all day long, without giving ourselves the time we need to unplug and focus.
- The truth is that someone profits from our ignorance and our need to anesthetize our stress, and that we are directly responsible for choosing those who profit and the tools they use to make that profit.
What is the solution?
The solution lies in not allowing our fears to metastasize into anger and hate. The solution lies in meeting injustice in any form with education and compassion, which includes understanding why an oppressor feels the need to oppress others, and then reaching out to meet their actual needs instead of dismissing them because of our own hurt. The solution lies in getting rid of outdated systems that spread misinformation and misrepresentation that diminishes the will of the people. The solution lies not in complaining or running, but in engaging in our lives in ways that feed our soul and uplift our families and community while getting our hands dirty and doing the work that no one wants to do.
We are not victims. We are directly responsible for our experience in life, regardless of the circumstances.
It’s time to drop the basket and pick up our tools.