The morning after the mass shooting in Las Vegas I woke up to over 10 news alerts on my phone about it. My first thought was that it was an ISIS terrorist attack and if that was the case the number of victims would increase beyond the people at the event. It would include the Muslims and those who are often mistaken as Muslims that get harassed, discriminated against, and yes even shot in retaliation.
I saw the name of the shooter. It wasn’t a Muslim. My next thought was if it was a black person. If it was then people would assume it was connected with Black Lives Matter and the whole country will erupt.
It took me 10 minutes to click around on different stories. So many victims, such a huge tragedy. But there was not much about the person you shot them, just a name. No description. That is when I realized, it must have been a white guy. Every other group is defined first by the color of their skin or their religion.
That is when I began to see the systemic racism in the way we all report crimes.
Read more on my Article How the Vegas Shooting Opened My Eyes to Systemic Racism (Subscription Required)
When the national anthem is played, do you stand out of habit? Are you offended by those who have kneeled? Do you think standing should be required? Would such a requirement align with what it means to be American?
When the national anthem is played I used to stand out of habit. I was quite bored waiting for it to be over. Ever since Colin Kaepernick took a knee, when I stand now, I do so with hope and pride.
Read more on my post in Politics Means Politics, My Flag, My Country, My Choice.
More and more I am concerned about the growing division in America and throughout the world.
I once argued that social media was great because it was getting more people involved in the political process. As we have seen recently, people are getting involved by joining groups with ingrained ideas who seek to battle those with ideas even slightly different from theirs. I recently read through a string of comments from people who were in favor of a policy but were bashing a different group of people who were in favor of the same policy because that other group had a different reason for the policy. This is getting out of hand.
And it is getting violent.
In my neighborhood, I started a monthly meeting for bi-partisan conversation. For me, this is the most important activism I can be involved in.We need to listen to each other. That does not mean we have to agree with or support ideas we find irrational or even immoral.
If you believe in innovation. If you believe in free markets. If you believe in having a choice. Then you believe in Net Neutrality.
Already 1 in 3 people are freelancers and that number is expected to increase in the next few years. Technical advancements have enabled us to market our skills, build networks, and work independently. In fact, most people I know who have not taken the freelancer leap say it is because they need the health insurance that is offered at their company.
Is Universal Healthcare a threat to corporations who need to keep a workforce tied to their desks?
Read more on my post, Watch what politicians do, not what they say
College is not for everyone. We don’t all learn the same way and we don’t all have the capacity for higher education. Also, not everyone is striving for the suburban life. Many people want a simple job and a simple life.
But the simple jobs and simple life are disappearing. While Democrats rally around the vision of free college, which is not free, Trump and friends have been making promises of a simple life with simple jobs which we know they cannot keep, but still got them elected.
Read more on my article on Student Voices.
My son and I have always had long discussions about world events. I thought this was just another conversational starter. But it was more. My son is 22 years old. The bomber was 22 years old. The question really was how did this guy get so warped and how do we stop this?
Some of the answers I came up with are in my article for Politics Means Politics, Manchester Bombing: Trying to Answer the Tough Questions
This is not normal. Each day I look at my news alerts and I remind myself that it is not normal, it is historical and we are living in a time of great change and I have a responsibility to my future and the future of my children to be involved in where this change takes us.
At times it can be exhausting, frustrating, and depressing. But I find ways to stay energized. You can read my article In Search of the Spark: How will we lighten up these dark days, on Organizer Sandbox.
As soon as you label a person you have shut down your ability to understand them. You immediately believe you know everything about that person based on everything you know about the label you have assigned to them. Labels are a favorite tool of many politicians because they keep Americans from discussing and debating issues and policy. Instead, we play team politics and attack “the other.”
You can read more of my thoughts on this on my post, America is Being Killed by Labels
It was just a Kidney stone, caused by an infection, caused by an excess of sugar, caused by me trying to comfort myself, which all landed me in the hospital with Sepsis.
Read how I changed my outlook on life on my post, Don’t Worry, Be Happy – How I Plan to Survive these Turbulent Times, in Organizer Sandbox