Protesting is important. Letting people know we have a voice is important. Since the discussions of a national walk out started, people have openly chastised the students partaking. People continually mock these students, these children, for attempting to push change on us as a country. The truth is changes need to occur. Questions need asking. Listening needs to occur. Give opinions. The priority to keep people alive and well are prevalent. No one, not even these students, are naive enough to think change will happen over night. Change takes time. Change is important. We cannot live our lives in stand still merely because of our past. If that were the case then no one would better themselves. So if it is possible to better our country as a whole why isn’t that happening?
I wish I had the answers to this. I wish that my Godson did not tell me he thought about how he would leave the school, if possible, should an active shooter be on campus. He’s fifteen years old. Fifteen. Teenagers, nor anyone else, should not have a game plan on how to escape a terrorist situation. And that is what these situations have presented us with overall. Domestic terrorism. Why are these situations happening so often? What pushes someone over the edge? Why are we ignoring mental health entirely? Because as much as this is a gun issue, we are also staring down a mental health epidemic. Why are these people not acquiring the help they desperately need?
These are important questions to ask. There is far more to think about as well. Conversations should happen. A give and take are desperately needed. Granted, change does not merely start with legislation. However, without the voices willing to start much-needed conversations we are lost. What if Rosa Parks gave up her seat and went to the back? What if Susan B. Anthony had remained home that day in 1872 and never voted in her hometown? What if Martin Luther King Jr. did not share his dream? What if Harvey Milk never came out of the closet? What if women were not brave enough to stand up and say Me Too with Tarana Burke? I cannot fathom living in a world where someone was not brave enough to speak up.
I bring all this up because I keep seeing a divide today. People insisting that no student should take part in a national walk out, but a national walk up. We should instead promote kindness and a lack of bullying. We should embrace each other and our differences instead of ridiculing each other. This is not a message I’m against. In fact, as I have stated on many occasions, being kinder to each other would make the world a better place. But this is not a case of either or. For me the national walk out represents the number of students that could potentially be lost in another school shooting. These empty seats represent so much more than a student leaving class. And knowing that Democrats stepped out during the same time today, represents further lives loss potentially as well. We need to stand with these children instead of belittling them.
I will not argue that change needs to start from within, but that includes legislation in addition to our hearts. To complete either notion though we all must take a look in the mirror and start from within. We have to start treating people better. There is no excuse to ostracize another human being. We should not go into our day with the goal to make someone else feel bad about themselves. We should uplift those in our lives and get to know them. In this world we all have something to offer when chances given. Lets give each other a chance. Lets make sure we all know that we have self-worth. Lets stop making each other feel as if there is no point and driving others to suicide. Lets stop spreading such hate filled words and ideas. Lets stop treating each other as lesser human beings.
We have to wake up to what is happening around us. We can’t keep living as if there are not grey areas that need discussion. We cannot keep dividing ourselves into black and white. We cannot keep dividing ourselves into democrats and Republicans. We cannot keep implying that because our opinions don’t align that I am right and you are wrong. We cannot keep doing this to one another.
Why can’t we?
If we keep going around in circles, as we have done in the past, nothing will ever change. We will keep insisting that people’s lives, children’s lives, teenager’s lives, are not important by not having these talks. A cycle of perpetuated violence will continue living among us until there is no one left to converse with at all. And that is completely unacceptable.