I have been struggling lately. Every time I read a news report of an overdose death the comments are filled with ‘die junkies die, you got what you deserved’ kind of statements. When Prince died, arguments ensued on social media – ‘how dare you say he was a dirty drug addict?’ Then there are those who speak so confidently, ‘Know where your kid is, who their friends are, what they are doing’, in other words – bad parenting creates drug addicts….. There are those who don’t want to ‘waste tax dollars’ to add treatment beds or any kind of program to help ‘those people’.
Then a little boy fell into a gorilla cage… and EVERYONE had an opinion. How the parents (specifically the mother) were to blame, OR, the zoo did the wrong thing. Armchair warriors, judges and jurors sitting at their computers righteously proclaiming what should have, would have, could have been done. They weren’t there, how could they possibly think they knew enough to judge anything?
In Orlando a hate crime of brain-shattering , heart-breaking magnitude was perpetuated on an already harassed LGBT community. The horror takes my breath away. So many on social media expressed their condolences, their horror, their tears. And under those posts…. armchair warriors. It was terrorism, he was Muslim, gun control, don’t take MY guns, ban Muslims, ban assault rifles – yelling, name calling….. My heart is bruised. Whether this man was an ISIS terrorist or sympathizer, whether he was gay and hated himself, whether he had undiagnosed mental health issues — the fact remains that a HATE crime was committed and so many (mostly young gay Latinos) who were innocently out for a Saturday night of fun were senselessly murdered and are being mourned by their loved ones today. Others are still fighting for their lives. Enter the ‘gays deserved this, God’s punishment’ comments….
This morning I awoke to a story about a young boy who was snatched by an alligator in Disney. A horrific story. Underneath the story? You guessed it – ‘how could the parents have been so stupid’.
PEOPLE! What has happened to us? Although social media has been an amazing tool for raising awareness for many causes, my Stop the Silence Speak the Truth campaign among them, it is overwhelming to me the amount of hate and judgement that spews from my computer screen every morning. TV fuels the flames with news of a presidential race fraught with name calling and bullying.
US vs THEM all day, every day. Ah, the faceless scary THEM…..
Social Media has become another weapon. It is used to belittle and marginalize people on a daily basis. These attitudes spill out into the real world and engender fear, stigma and hate.
We need to stop the cycle.
I am taking a break from social media this week. I need to get my head clear. I want to keep Stopping the Silence surrounding the Opiate/Opioid Epidemic. I want to forge ahead with Ending the Stigma. For now, though, I need to walk away from the hate and judgement for just a few days to renew my spirit.
We have lost too many lives to Hate and Stigma.
We lost 49 souls early Sunday morning to Hate.
We continue to lose 129 more every day to Stigma.
In the words of young Martin Richard, “No more hurting each other – PEACE”