On Broken Ground We Stand

On Broken Ground We Stand

"Hate cannot drive out Hate. Only Love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.
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We've all heard the phrase that says we should never judge another person unless we have "walked a mile in their shoes." With all of the recent events in our country, from Alton Sterling to the Dallas Police Shooting, I have seen a lot of judgement and more importantly, a lot of hate, fill my news feed. I have seen those who just want to be right, who want to justify and condemn and those who just want the chance to have the infamous "Facebook debate." My question for you: is all of this really important?

Imagine.

Waking up today in a bed that is empty, because your husband was a Dallas Police Officer. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was protecting those who chose to protest. He was putting his own life in danger for the rights and safety of so many other Americans, and now he is gone. Imagine telling your little girl that daddy isn't coming home tonight, or any other night; and on top of that not being able to give her a real reason why. That's the thing about children, they weren't born with hate in their hearts. They can't understand why something like this would happen, why someone would choose to do this to so many people, and so many families. Imagine the pain, the confusion and the sting you feel knowing your best friend, provider and protector was taken from you for no other reason than pure hatred and terrorism. Imagine having to get through every single day knowing this didn't have to happen. Imagine having to be that strong.

Imagine.

Waking up today as a police officer in the United States. Imagine checking your phone in the morning to see the thousands of Americans speaking out and sending death threats to men and women in uniform just like you. Imagine leaving your family every morning knowing that you may not come home simply because you are a police officer. Imagine being this police officer; the one who has wanted this position their entire life for the sole reason to protect and serve every American, even the ones who speak hate against them. Imagine being criticized, threatened and dehumanized because of the one percent who do not wear their badge with honor. Imagine being a cop today, knowing what state this country is in, and still going in to work every single day.

Imagine.

Being the mother or father of a person who was brutally murdered at the hands of police. Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to the phone call that your baby was gone. Imagine having to be afraid every time you walk out the door. Imagine being a moving target just because of the color of your skin. Imagine justice never coming for you, because the ones meant to protect you have taken your child away and for some reason it's justified. Imagine the helplessness you feel when no one seems to listen, and no one seems to understand. Imagine having to feel that way.

I understand that some of you will and have said "Don't break the law, don't get murdered." I don't need to hear your opinion on how you should or should not avoid being killed by a police officer. I just know that regardless of a person's past, they are still a person. With their life comes family and friends and a story. I don't think anyone deserve to die that way.

With this, killing police officers at random, especially targeting police officers for the color of their skin as well, is doing exactly what you are fighting to stop. You cannot fight hate with hate. You cannot say that Black Lives Matter and then say that Police Lives don't. Many do not see it this way, but many do. The majority of police officers are wonderful and sacrificial people. They do not get paid very much at all, and yet they risk their lives every single day for Americans like you. They risk their lives to make this country a better place, because that is the purpose that's been put in their hearts. They don't deserve brutality, they deserve it the least of us all.

There are bad cops, yes. It's awful and it's not okay by any means. I'm just trying to put myself in the shoes of these men and women. Of the brave police officers that serve us everyday. Of the men and women who have lost their children, and are just trying to understand. Have an opinion, protest and express your freedom of speech. That's what this country was founded on. But please, do it from a place of love. Do it because you want what's right.

I cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be an African American in this country. We all have struggles that you will not understand unless you've been there. I cannot pretend to understand the fear and oppression that many feel. I do know though, that any race can be racist. I know hating someone for the color of their skin, no matter what the color, needs to stop. I know that we can never move forward as a nation if we continue to divide ourselves. I also cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be a police officer in a country that is becoming scarier by the day. I do not know how it feels to leave my family and sacrifice my entire life for strangers. I will never know how that feels. I can never express my gratitude for those who serve and protect. The cops the media so often shows us are the one percent; all cops are not this way. Most cops do this because of the love for people and the love for their country, please stop blaming them for the one percent. We salute you for your service, and thank you immensely for putting your lives on the line for us.

Our officers should not have to fear for their lives. They serve us with honor. They serve us to make a difference. However, our American people, of any color, should not have to fear for their lives either. We have to stop looking at the world in such a divided way. We have to fight for each other, and not against. We have to try to understand what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes. We are going backwards as a country; we have to come together and learn to stand as one for what really matters. Murder is not the answer. Violence is not the answer. Love is the only glue that will put us back together; we are not black or white; we are Americans, and we matter.

Cover Image Credit: Abc11.com

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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A Little Skepticism Goes A Long Way

Be informed citizens and verify what you see and hear.

rahma
rahma
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These days more than ever before we are being bombarded constantly by a lot of news and information, a considerable amount of which is inaccurate. Sometimes there's an agenda behind it to mislead people and other times its just rumors or distortion of the facts. So, how do you sift through all this and get accurate information? How can you avoid being misled or brainwashed?

This is an important topic because the decisions each of us make can affect others. And if you are a responsible citizen your decisions can affect large numbers of people, hopefully positively, but negatively as well.

It's been said that common sense is not something that can be taught, but I am going to disagree. I think with the right training, teaching the fundamentals behind common sense can get people to have a better sense of what it is and start practicing it. All you will need is to improve your general knowledge and gain some experience, college is a good place for that, then add a little skepticism and you are on your way to start making sensible decisions.

One of the fundamental things to remember is not to believe a statement at face value, you must first verify. Even if you believe it's from a trusted source, they may have gotten their info from a questionable one. There's a saying that journalists like to use: "if your mother said, 'I love you' you should verify it.'" While this is taking it a bit too far, you get the idea.

If you feel that something is not adding up, or doesn't make sense then you are probably right. This is all the more reason to check something out further. In the past, if someone showed a picture or video of something that was sufficient proof. But nowadays with so many videos and picture editing software, it would have to go through more verification to prove its authenticity. That's not the case with everything but that's something that often needs to be done.

One way of checking if something sounds fishy is to look at all the parties involved and what do they have to gain and lose. This sometimes is easier to use when you're dealing with a politics-related issue, but it can work for other things where more than one person/group is involved. For example, most people and countries as well will not do something that is self-destructive, so if one party is accusing the other of doing something self-destructive or disadvantageous then it's likely that there is something inaccurate about the account. Perhaps the accusing party is setting the other one up or trying to gain some praise they don't deserve.

A lot of times all it takes is a little skepticism and some digging to get to the truth. So please don't be that one which retweets rumors or helps spread misinformation. Verify before you report it.

rahma
rahma

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