Hey guys, I love pop culture.
I love being the first person to know about the latest and greatest music video and/or cat sing-a-long. I have an almost Ricky Bobby mentality about this, in that if I’m not one of the first to know, I might as well be last. And I think that mentality is one that is shared with many of my peers.
“Hey look at this link, so funny! <insert funny link here>”
“Haha yeah man, saw that yesterday, pretty funny.”
(Translation: sorry bro YOU’RE OLD NEWS!!! GET ON MY POP CULTURE SAVVY RELEVANT LEVEL. YAWN.)
And I think we’ve all had this done to us, and done it to others. It’s like why don’t you know about this yet? Have you been under a rock? What have you been doing all day? Watch this! See this! Read this! Post this!
But here’s my question today.
How many of you really know what’s going on in Syria? How many of you watched Obama address the United States last night? How many of you were just pissed that he interrupted your television shows?
How many of you actually understood what he was talking about? How many of you actually cared?
Sure, a video where a girl twerks on a door and falls on a glass table and THEN GETS FREAKING SET ON FIRE (which turned out to be fake BTW, and I know, you all totally know that now bro), can go viral, but yet we have no idea that somewhere in the world hundreds are dying from chemical warfare because we are too wrapped up in the fact we are too pissed off we are missing So you think you can dance to care what the President of our country is talking about on television.
Really guys? Be better human beings. Be more informed. CARE MORE. Today, you will all post status updates hash-tagging #NeverForget. Talking about your individual stories about where you personally were just 12 years ago. You’ll put little heart and American flag emojis all over my news feed and declare your allegiance to the greatest country in the world! And everyone will ‘like’ your status.
And you will feel loved.
But you see the thing is, if you don’t care about what is happening elsewhere in the world, if you don’t have any knowledge about any of the horrific human injustices that are happening everyday, not just in our country, then you really have forgotten what happened 12 years ago on our soil. Where innocent people died for no reason other than hatred and ignorance.
On August 21st, Syria’s own government chemically gassed hundreds of its people. There are photos and videos of children and adults alike dead and foaming at the mouth all over the internet for anyone to see. But hey, don’t just take my word for it, go see for yourself.
And sure, I know how easy it is get wrapped up in your own problems in your own world. To want to watch a funny cat video instead of one of torture and murder. There’s too much evil in the world that can not be helped. However. To make yourself ignorant to what is going on, to be so entitled that you get angry at people who do care for interrupting your nearly perfect life?? That’s the very foundation of this particular soap box.
We are so incredibly lucky to live in America. To live in a country where our president regardless if he’s Republican or Democrat, comes on our TV and makes a stance to be a figure of love and peace instead of a representation of violence and cruelty (like that of Syria). To live in a country that is (at least I believe) continually working to better itself, to rise above itself. To fix our wrongs, to create more rights, to be better global citizens, to be not just better Americans, but better people.
But Meg, you say. We do care. We CARE when 20 innocent school children get shot and killed in cold blood in our own country. We care about OUR homeless people. We care about OUR problems.
Good for you.
But here’s the thing. I believe, if you don’t care about goodness in the world as a whole, your polarized concern for America is a little like showing a viral video a couple days too late. It’s a good try at being relevant, it’s a good attempt, but you miss the mark. You miss the point.
Most of you are American citizens not by choice, but by chance. Our boundaries are man-made. Our government one that our society created itself. Our president is one we personally elected and you? You are a citizen merely out of luck.
And before everyone jumps down my throat about there being a reason more than happenstance that you are an American, tell me this:
If this is true, if you were really born one nation under god, with liberty and justice for all because of fate; if you really believe that, what makes you so nationalistic that you think you deserve the basic human rights you receive everyday more than anyone else in the world? That you earned the right to live here with the freedom to be angry about your president interrupting your cable television to talk about people dying somewhere in the world that is not your own? Hmm? What makes YOU so much better? How did YOU personally earn that selfishness? Because of birth? Because of choice? Perhaps after considering this, you’d prefer to stick with your citizenship being chance. Purpose creates responsibility. Chance absolves that obligation.
Today, I never forget. I never forget that 12 years ago, people died for no reason. And yesterday, I won’t forget that even if it’s not our soil, people continue to do so. So even though I have no cable television to watch Mr. Obama speak about what our nations next steps are, I made an effort to at least try to understand what is going on. I made an effort to at least care. Want to know why? Because I think it is my right as an American to do so. It is my right to be informed. Because more than stupid twerking youtubes, more than Miley breaking a music video record, more than vine compilations and watching So You Think You Can Dance LIVE, I want to be the first to know what is happening in our world on a humanity level. I want to be able to have an opinion. To have a voice. I want to be able to say, #neverforget not because my goal is double-digit likes but because I genuinely want us to be better people from it. To remember what happened to us, and show a little compassion as it continues to happen to others.
I love pop culture. I hope Amanda Bynes gets better soon. I can’t wait for Justin Timberlake’s second half of the 20/20 Experience. Lamar, dude, just admit you have a crack problem. If you aren’t following TunaMeltsMyHeart on Instagram, you are missing out on one of life’s little basic joys. These are all things I keep in my brain. I see nothing wrong with this.
All I’m saying as you post your individual status updates, your tweets, your instagram photos of a flag in B&W–really consider what it means to never forget. Really consider what it means to be an American. Really consider all the luxuries we are afforded just on a basic thinking level that others are not. Make an effort to at least know about what is happening in the rest of the world. We have endless resources at our fingertips thanks to the internet and technology. We have websites like Buzzfeed and ThoughtCatalog and theSkimm which spell out the news in an easy-reading and almost elementary manner. You might not be able to change it, but at least be able to talk about it with the empathy that we in America, whether it is your belief that that is by fate or happenstance, too have experienced the same types of injustices just 12 years ago.
No excuses. Be better citizens. Be better people. Never forget.
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming..