It’s your fault. It’s my fault. It is our collective fault, and the whole world is reeling with the consequences while pretending to stand firm. We have leaped off the cliff, slipped down the slope, and are falling still; without moving a muscle.
1. We are drowning in complacency.
Merriam-Webster defines complacency as “self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies." Complacency is a failure to act, and even more condemning, failure to acknowledge. It is the quiet allowing of evil’s existence: not as heinous as outright support, but just as damning.
We live in a society where tragedy is normalcy. Where the evening news reports on corruption at home and violence abroad, interspersed with commentary on a celebrity’s pregnancy and the local high school football game. We do not flinch when we hear of another terrorist attack. It is horrific–and perhaps induces a shudder. But it is not unexpected. Another Hollywood star is accused of sexual assault, and we might fire off an outraged tweet, or get a #cancelwhoever hashtag trending. But we are not shocked. We pat ourselves on the back for our awareness, our social consciousness, how woke we are. And we scroll through the rest of our daily dose of horror.
The inhumane has become a part of humanity. It has always been, but a hated part, a dark mark on the brighter pages of dignity and truth. Now it writes the book, infusing pages with spilled blood and the ink that invariably spills behind it. Yet we let the stolen authorship continue. Not out of maliciousness, but out of inertia. It takes a monumental effort to transition from passively experiencing life to becoming an active constructor of it. But we all have a duty to create. To create change, to create art, to create a form for ourselves that is unlike any other form. To create a world for our children and theirs to grow old in without dread.
2. It requires facing fear and telling it: you are not welcome here.
In “Morning in America”, Jon Bellion sings: “we’re secretly out of control, and everyone knows. When the class president overdosed, we all pretended it was rare, it was shocking, and all the town was talking, but we’re secretly out of control, and everyone knows." It’s a vivid image, but a valid one. We are called to care in a real way. Virtual awareness and expression is not a waste of space, but it must be supported by real-world efforts. It must be translational. The alternative is a digital space of drama and panic that fails to reflect a stagnant outside world.
Frankly, we cannot afford complacency. Not when it is bought with another victim, another loss. Not when complacency wears disguises like “it’s too much of a hassle to vote,” or “why should I fight against that? No one will listen anyway."
3. Neutrality is a luxury.
Who are we to decide to “stay out of it” when that very issue is the someone’s daily reality? Choose to make a choice. Take a stand, no matter what side of the room you may be standing on. Don't wait for someone else to give you something to retweet. Don't wait until we become so silent that we allow our authorities to be chosen based on the sheer amount of noise they make.
If you believe something, share it. If you are outraged by something, condemn it. If you feel the world lacks something, create it. If you feel something is misunderstood, explain it. Above all, be active. Care openly, and completely. Resist the pull of complacency with all your strength, and become an agent of change.
4. You can't control others, you can only influence them.
Become that influence.