One Tough Week

It goes without saying that this has been a difficult week, 7 days ago we were talking about the Brock Turner case, we spent some time discussing “rape culture” in America and for a minute or two started to talk about white privilege, but that quickly faded into a discussion about free speech and your ability to post memes about Brock Turner.

Five days later, after all the open letters, we stopped talking about Brock Turner and instead were shocked to hear about Christina Grimme who was killed at her concert on Friday night and the shooter went on to kill himself after he was tackled by Grimme’s brother.

We talked about that for 24 hours until the atrocities of Saturday night/Sunday morning happened at a club 4 miles from where Grimme was killed.

After the shock of waking up Sunday to hear about what happened began to wear off we were treated to the typical posts about gun controlmental illnessradical Islam, and President Obama in the shampoo, rinse, repeat cycle of news we now live in.

We changed our profile pictures, used hashtags, the stock and sales of guns go UP, and in three days we will move on to the next story.

How do I know this? Because despite the many mediums by which communication can happen between humans. As a nation, we are losing the ability to communicate in anything other than CAPS LOCK.

For the first time in recorded history we are electing a president who will start his or her run with an over 50% disapproval rate.

We are a country where we no longer can discuss gay rights, hate crimes, gender equality, religious freedoms, gun control or advocacy, politics, or even sports without yelling.

Perhaps we never actually had the ability to be civil about such matters.

We tend to think of ourselves as inclusive but videos like this one where the anchor says terribly racists things but doesn’t seem to understand they are racist at all. These types of videos happen with great frequency and while some of that might be the proliferation of live video, it might also be a gigantic issue that the record light is shining down on.

Are there reasons to be angry? Yes there are 50 of them in the past 36 hours and those are just the ones reported in the news cycle. This is on top of afailed plot in LA that could have had the same horrific outcome.

I feel very disconnected this morning in a way that seems hard to manage. Because I cannot understand why the streets are not filled with people who will not stand for the violence any more, why state capitals are not filled with people who demand change, why parents aren’t outraged and working to teach their children tolerance and empathy.

Instead, it is just Monday morning.

I cannot understand why in 2016 the act of two men kissing as was the reported cause of the attack, is enough to incite violence.

But here we are, a nation attempting to heal after another horrific act of violence in our country. A country that by design we have agency over. A country that we have a duty to not only protect — but continue to make better, not more divided.

It is time we went on the offensive, and that doesn’t mean take violence into our own hands. Instead it means let’s no longer scramble after a tragic event to figure out how we respond as a nation- let’s galvanize into a unified people who demand that this country learn from this, heal from this, and become a place where the evil from within and without thinks twice because it can no longer catch a country fragmented and on its heels — but a country unified by what it wants to be.

Eric HultgrenComment