Whenever a tragedy happens somewhere on the planet, I become torn in so many directions. Generally Facebook or the Daily Show are my only sources of news these days. I have stopped watching the news in the morning because I refuse to start my day with shootings and fatal car accidents and bombings. Sometimes I’ll watch the local news in the evenings to figure out what kinds of activities are happening nearby, but that half hour segment is usually rife with devastation. Is that the only kind of news that exists? No, but it’s the only kind that gets ratings, so it’s what is played.
Shows like The View, anything on Fox News and even the Morning news shows are so opinionated and generated to appease the viewers, actually give me a physical response. The other day at the car shop the TV was set to The View and curiously I listened in for a minute. I couldn’t help myself, but roll my eyes and shake my head to the nonsense that they were discussing.
I keep asking myself “why.” Why are we talking about red cups instead of poverty? Why are we only talking about Lions being killed in Africa when Foxes are endangered right here in the US? In fact, there’s 16,306 animals on the Endangered List. That’s not including the Threatened level species. There are hundreds of species of animals nearby my current location threatened by the number of fast food cups that appear on the side of my road daily.
Why do we share what we do on social media? What is the criteria by which you select the stories to share? When the stories about Paris appeared on my news feed last night, I was deeply saddened. The number of people killed was at 127 last time I looked.
This is tragic, yes. But what is it about Paris that makes us change our profile pictures to the French flag? Or send our thoughts and prayers to those souls in those attacks? What is it about a school shooting or a child’s death that puts those on the trending list on my home page?
A quick search on Wikipedia puts the death toll of the ebola outbreak at more than 10,000. What happened to our terror at the outbreak? It was exciting for a little while, maybe it was fun to be scared of it, but now it’s old news.
So before I respond to a tragedy like the seeming coordinated attacks in Paris, I ask myself “why.” Why am I posting this update? Who is going to read it? If I type “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris” what is my purpose? Do I think Paris is reading it and will be thankful? Am I putting out good energy into the world? Am I just joining in to the conversation to feel like I am a part of something bigger? Why?
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. All energy you put into the universe goes somewhere. When you add your voice to the love, there is a build up of energy. And when you add your voice of hatred, blaming Muslims for the violence, your energy builds up there. Who do you want to read your post? What do you want them to think or do or say? What is your purpose for the words you put out there?
What does Fox News want us to think or do or say when they play a constant stream of “news” asking whether or not Isis is gaining any momentum or traction from this attack? Just for kicks I just logged onto Fox News Live Stream and it was playing exactly that. I always get the feeling that the why behind their stories is to tell me that I should live in terror and that “we” should attack all the scary people out there.
So while I am deeply saddened by the horrific events in Paris, today I don’t just pray for Paris. I pray for the world. I pray that this event won’t widen the divide. I pray for us. I pray that you stop using the word “they” when you talk about the tragedy. It is not “them” vs “us.” There is only us. What we put into this world comes back to us and this whole world needs healing. More violence is not my answer. I hope it is not yours.
I am going to take this particular incident as a reminder to spend my day sending out love, helping others, being a part of the solution. Picking up fast food containers from my street. Recycling the plastic we use. Waving hello to strangers in my town. Giving a hand to someone who has fallen or dropped something. This is where it starts. Peace begins in your own home, in your own town.
Let’s all be a part of the solution.