not all who wander are lost

not all who wander are lost

Sunday, April 18, 2010

High on hate

I just watched the film, Earth from the Elements Trilogy by Deepa Mehta. Haunting, heavy, brilliant. India, circa 1947 as the British were leaving and the country was falling into civil war, Pakistan and India dividing, religious extremism and intolerance mounting. What was especially brilliant about the movie was its depiction of how war slithers into the hearts and minds of regular "peaceful" friends and neighbors. I watched the movie and could not help but think of our own country, our own polarized conversations, the hatred and intolerance that is rising like weeds in our headlines/TV/radio shows.

Don't get me wrong, protest, questioning authority, freedom of speech and debate are all signs of an engaged populace, a healthy democracy. But that isn't what we are seeing these days. What we are starting to see is very unhealthy. Vilification, hatred, racism, personal attacks, ignorance, intolerance, and bigotry. It's a slippery slope we are on. Easy to get sucked in to the negativity and hate of the "other side," whichever it may be. Most Americans are plugged into media sources which specialize in fueling our emotions and furthering our prejudices, rendering us passionately pissed off but not necessarily better informed. It's like we're getting high on hate.

How to stop this trashy trend? How to transform the social environment into something more constructive and positive?

What we listen to, read, watch, forward on email, post on Facebook, how we think and talk about what's going on in our country....Is it hate-based? Does it bash the other side? If it is (and so much of it is, let's be honest) then it's poisoning our minds and hearts, dumbing us down, leaving us distracted, polarized, and ineffective as citizens.

We are the sum of our parts. Each of us matters. What we consume, what we produce matters. So, unplug from those sources of sensationalism and theatrics. Seek substance and thoughtful analysis. It is possible to disagree without attacking each other. It is possible to come together and talk with like-minded people and not bash the other side. Let's keep it constructive.

By doing so, we can begin to transform ourselves into truly informed, effective citizens capable of coming together for our Common Good. I would even offer that it is our obligation to do so.

1 comment:

della said...

Very inspirational, Sara. I agree that listening and being informed is very good. Today is a good day to remind ourselves to not spread hate and use words that inflame. (Oklahoma City)