It’s time that I, along with the vast majority of us, stop asking the question ‘What is wrong with them?’ and instead ask the fundamental question ‘What is wrong with me?’
We read or listen to the news, we watch multimedia (I am now officially relegating television to the more generic category of ‘Video’ or ‘Multimedia’ since the expansion of broadband internet has changed the game – forever).
Note: We are no longer stuck in front of a major network broadcast (funded by huge advertising dollars) on a monolithic device that must remain stationary and plugged in to a wall outlet.
We receive more information, on a more timely basis, and with less filtering (comparatively) than ever before. Witness the recent, and horrific, example of a young woman with a child, calmly broadcasting a live accounting of a police officer who has just fatally shot her boyfriend beside her – while the badge-sanctioned panic-stricken killer is continuing to babble hysterically from the other side of the vehicle door window.
Filtering of the event, of course, did (and will continue to) take place as the police union, state and federal officials and the ‘establishment’ find ways to unjustly paint the policeman’s actions as ‘justified use of lethal force’.
The original documenting of this event can be found through the following link(s).
But I digress. I provided one horrific (and undeniable) example that illustrates that the role of ‘after the fact’ media broadcasting, after filtering, evaluation of ‘political correctness’ and the inherent bias of the broadcaster itself, has sometimes subtly, sometimes flagrantly, altered the facts and the subsequent social, political or economic impact of the actual event itself.
More and more of us are coming to the realization that the ‘system is broken’ far more than we wanted to believe – and therein rests the Elephant In The Room. We can no longer profess that we are individually, and collectively, unaware and thereby ignorant.
Humorous (slightly) aside: Question: How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time.
How do we solve problems that seem too massive to tackle? Same principle. One bite (step) at a time. The solution is to take that first step.
There is a huge difference between ignorance and stupidity – as we should often remind ourselves. I see the difference this way. Ignorance is doing something unacceptable without full knowledge and insight into what is being done – and the consequences thereof. Stupidity is doing something unacceptable with full knowledge and insight – and doing it anyway.
We, collectively, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, have become part of a stupid society. Stupid, not ignorant. The fact of the matter is that we know better – and yet we allow unacceptable actions (with sometimes tragic consequences) to continue all around us on virtually a daily basis.
Part of our stupidity is that we talk ourselves into believing that ‘there is nothing I can do. After all, I am only a single entity’. Part of the stupidity is that we are just lazy and apathetic.
We can, and should, be making a difference. There is a concept known in physics as inertia. ‘A property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force’.
There is another principle of physics referred to as ‘critical mass’. ‘The minimum size or amount of something required to start or maintain an outcome’.
Historically, revolutions take place because a sufficient group of individuals finally recognize that they, collectively, can overcome inertia, create critical mass and ultimately effect change – meaningful change, albeit sometimes for good and sometimes for prurient, self-serving reasons.
All revolutions are not good – just as all change is not good. However, it can be argued that change, a revision of the status quo, a revisiting and reexamination of the status quo, is an opportunity to refocus and modify things, events, policies, procedures, institutions – that require constant evaluation, monitoring and oversight.
Accountability, in short, is the mechanism by which we, individually and collectively, can monitor and force change, if change is indeed required.
Transparency is the lens with which we are able to enforce our commitment to accountability.
I, together with you, no longer have the excuse that ‘I didn’t know’ and ‘I was ignorant’ therefore I cannot be held complicit and responsible.
Instead, I, together with you, have allowed myself personally and collectively, to become lulled into a lazy stupidity wherein we collectively know that some things, some actions, some policies, some institutions – are not right and yet we choose to do nothing, to maintain a deeply flawed status quo.
I, together with you, have either consciously or subconsciously allowed a growing ‘nanny state’ mentality to persist and thrive, as we collectively abrogate individual responsibilities and actions in deference to an external deity, whether it be political, economic or theologic.
We get what we deserve. Here in British Columbia, in the United States, in Syria and indeed, in countless jurisdictions throughout the world, we are facing decisions – and opportunities that can truly make a difference – if we so choose. If we accept our responsibilities. If we insist on accountability. If we demand transparency.
If you really want to make a difference, you can. Through education. Through familiarity with issues that matter. Through a recognition that only we, individually and collectively, can hold politicians’ and bureaucrats’ ‘feet to the fire’ and demand accountability and transparency. Through acceptance of our responsibility.
Through action, not inaction. Inertia exists only because we choose to not provide the ‘external force’ that is requisite. Critical mass does not exist only because we choose to not actively become a voice in an action that can truly make a difference.
It can be statistically argued that a single snowflake can start an avalanche and that a single pebble can cause a landslide – but only when the conditions and the collective critical mass of others has already created the right environment for a change of state.
Ignorance is no longer a valid excuse. Stupidity has never been an acceptable excuse. We can no longer blame others for the injustices and the shortcomings of our systems, whether they be political, social or economic.
We are responsible. We have the ability to effect positive change.
If you are not happy with an outcome, at least accept that you have individual, as well as collective, responsibility for at least attempting to change that outcome.
If you don’t do that? You are sheep – and you deserve to be preyed on by wolves.