It’s finally over! I don’t know about you, but I was more than ready to say goodbye to 2016. I know that there were lots of good things that happened during the year, but I think that they were hidden amongst the crazy, unpredictable, and disturbing things that we all heard about daily during this past year. It’s been discussed that there are more people now that are uneasy and frightened than in a very long time.
I know that we, as a people, are entitled to have our own opinions; that we’re able to say things and do things that we feel are appropriate. However, the fact that we experienced so many protests and violent acts over this past year indicates that we’re not doing a very good job of getting along. The fact that, in the year 2016, we still need to be reminded that black lives matter is crazy to me. The simple fact is that black, white, red, yellow, and even orange lives matter. So do the disabled, the aged, and the mentally impaired. The simple fact is that ALL of us matter. This is not something that is open to discussion or that we should have to elevate to receive attention. It’s a simple fact. The fact that we, this past year, experienced police shootings and violence against officers is unacceptable. When did it become okay to attack those men and women that protect us every day? Do we really have to label these behaviors unacceptable? Shouldn’t we already know this? I know that we don’t live in a utopia. I do understand that there are problems and always will be. How did we allow those problems to escalate to the large-scale issues that they now seem to be? Who is not being diligent enough to stop these problems when they start? Who’s not doing their job? I think it’s up to each and every one of us to make sure that we’re doing the right thing every time we interact with somebody, the thoughts and ideas that cross our minds and come out of our mouths. We have to respect each others’ role, as well. We’re going to have to learn to trust and respect each other.
I’m also really confused on how we let our society evolve into a place where none of us feels safe. I’m afraid that my family and friends might find themselves involved in a situation where they may be hurt (or worse) simply because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Never before have I had this worry as much as I do now. I don’t know if this is warranted in fact or if it’s a case of having so much information in our face 24 hours/day that we just know more than we used to. Is it the new-age threats that are so random that we could expect something to happen anywhere or at any time? Again, who fell down on their job and let this happen? I want to be and feel safe like I used to. It’s up to each one of us to help protect each other. We cannot count on certain individuals or departments to do it all. We each have to be vigilant and be willing to step forward if you see or hear something that’s not quite right. It’s better to be wrong than irresponsible. I’m concerned with the increased anger, hostility, and violence against each other. This isn’t how our world was meant to be and WE, individually, are the ones responsible for fixing it.
In this brand new year, we need to each be responsible for our thoughts and behavior. It’s up to us to educate each other, to trust and respect each other. WE are the ones that can change the way this is going. I know that there are always going to be problems; I’m not that naive. The fact that I, myself, can at least contribute to making the world a better place makes me happy. I will not allow intolerance and I will be vigilant. I will do more; I will do all that I can. Imagine what would happen if each one of us does this, then another person starts trying just a little bit more, and another…and another.