Tuesday, December 13, 2016


I have a bit of a personal creed when it comes to my internet interactions. While those who know me personally can attest to my occasional (or frequent, depending on the day) usage of profanity, I personally hold myself to a higher standard in places like Facebook, Twitter, and this blog most of the time. I believe it's more productive for discourse with a wider range of people. I also believe in choosing my words carefully which usually results in synonyms for those words being used to greater effect.

So when I say that I'm breaking this rule today, believe me when I say that I chose these words carefully:

What. The. Fuck. 2016. Why?

Okay, so I've chatted a bit on here about my own struggles this year. It basically boils down to having to prioritize school over just about everything else, including self-care at some junctures (which I stopped because that was not working out for anyone). But I'm not even talking about my life. Just this year, for so many people, and for the world at large has been so spectacularly shitty.

I saw this video today (warning for those who don't like profanity, you shouldn't watch this. It's way less reserved than I am). I felt like it pretty concisely summed up a majority of the truly messed up things. Celebrity deaths aside (RIP Ron Glass and Alan Rickman), let me list out the tragedies:

- Pulse Nightclub shooting
- Police Shootings galore, both black people shot by the police and police being shot at.
- Brock Turner being given a slap on the wrist for the violent rape of an unconscious woman.
- Kaepernick and the circus (not his protest, but the response from the peanut gallery. I'm 100% supportive of his freedom to protest in that way, as I've talked about here).
- Brexit giving the finger to the younger generation of Brits.
- Terrorist bombings in a variety of places.
- Columbian's rejecting a peace deal that took four years to orchestrate because it wasn't harsh enough on the former aggressors (who had already given up their weapons).
- The massive earthquake in New Zealand.
- The myriad of human rights violations in Aleppo and other battles throughout the Middle East.
- The Standing Rock stand-off, with military force being used against a group of peaceful protestors trying to defend land that was given to them (where a group of white men in a much more aggressive, armed protest were treated with much more respect just earlier this year, I might point out).
- Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) about the Presidential Election cycle, results, and the fact that white supremacist groups are still alive and well in this country and they are stoked about the next four years.

That was all just off the top of my head, and I probably missed a lot. It just feels like this year has been a constant barrage of news that makes my heart hurt, or highlights the vast injustices still present in this world on a larger scale.

As someone who believes in seasons of life, all of which have lessons to learn, I have to wonder, what the heck were we supposed to learn from this? Did anything positive come out of this year, or was it just a lot of internet outrage and people dying?

Did we finally learn that perhaps (just PERHAPS), the white population as a whole isn't as completely over racism as we liked to tell ourselves that we were a few years back? Did we learn that this country is increasingly divided, and it's very hard to convince people that we're "One Nation" anymore? Did we maybe, maybe learn that perhaps internet outrage is not the best way to communicate a point?

I realize that I'm posting this on the internet, but I'm also trying to keep the outrage to a minimum. And I'm not limiting that last bit to just one side of the aisle either. There was plenty of it on both sides, and it was unproductive and resulted in a lot of large issues being debated to the point where I started questioning the humanity of people on both sides. Because honestly, how can you say THAT?

This year has been unfortunate in that it has normalized a lot of hateful speech. There was no safe corner here. Whatever went wrong immediately had people on both sides screaming at each other without listening. At one point, I started to jump in the fray on Facebook. I got tired of not speaking up. Despite my intentions to keep it civil, in inevitably resulted in people using a string of terrible logic to defend increasingly irrational opinions as if they were pure fact. Does that mean I stop posting what I believe? No, it just means I moderate those posts more closely, and try to step in to maintain discourse.

Because at the end of it all, after this dumpster fire of a year, I still believe in certain things. I believe in rational discourse. I believe in NOT living in an echo chamber of people who believe the same as I do. I believe in hearing other's opinions and considering them respectfully. I believe in them being equally respectful if I don't agree.

There are a lot of hot-button issues. Actually, it feels like literally every issue right now is hot-button for one reason or another. There's really no way around it. The issues are clearly there, and now we need to talk to them, in a respectful enough way to start finding a middle ground.

It requires everyone getting off their high horses and coming to sit at a table, build the respect necessary for a productive conversation, and then being willing to make some compromises. It requires everyday people taking a stand against echo chambers, and inflammatory rhetoric that builds more walls than it burns down.

I have no confidence that the current political system is going to teach this. Already, it is very, very, very difficult for me to keep a lid on it basically any time I hear certain politicians speak. The outrage is there, and it is banging on the door, and I am trying to funnel it into real rhetoric, real arguments, that actually take a point, expand on it, present evidence, and raise the level of discourse around the issue.

This is not easy for me. I am very frustrated by the increase of hateful speech I've heard around my school towards certain groups of people after this election. I am very frustrated by the inability of Christians in America to calm the heck down about certain issues long enough to actually love people. I am really frustrated by the fact that I still can't look the girls that I teach in the eye and promise they will be given a fair shot in life, because the evidence is currently very much to the contrary still.

I am trying, though. I am trying to funnel all that frustration into rational thoughts, statements, evidence, and solutions to suggest. I am trying to formulate how to communicate respectfully with those around me. As school winds down for me this week, I'll probably end up with slightly deeper posts for the rest of the month. Hopefully. There might still be a few posts that are related to what books I'm (finally) reading, or what games I am taking the opportunity to play, short as it is. Aside from those, I'll try and address some things that are finally starting to trickle through my slightly less taxed mind. So... something to look forward to!

Until tomorrow.


  1. For a little bit of better news, Colombia did finally come to a new peace deal.

    1. Oh good, I hadn't heard that! I had to stop listening to news radio for a bit to keep my sanity, and forgot to follow up.