The Slow-Mo Destruction of Us

Valentine’s Day was a very sad day. It is hard to imagine that kids went off to school and were either brutally murdered or traumatized by the madness of their friends and teachers being shot. I really cannot begin to comprehend the feelings of these students, the school staff, or the families. Pretty much the response is “Thoughts and Prayers.” The utter denial of such an atrocity is so hard to imagine. How can people even let these words fall from their lips when the world stopped for many people on this day?

Humans are becoming dehumanized. They seem to be able to separate themselves from others’ pain and suffering. Our country is full of suffering every day. Most people do not even blink over it. Our government is becoming cold and callous to the poor and vulnerable — they believe these people deserve it. Dying is not Earth shattering; hospital staff can turn away the dying who are uninsured, and then go have dinner. Our politicians can see 17 people lose their lives, and the only emotional stirring is…thoughts and prayers. What is happening to us?

We are besieged every day with suffering. Just look at corporate farming. All it takes is to watch one video of the most unimaginable horrors that happen every single day, and we casually walk into a grocery store and pick up meat for dinner. Our amazing athletes go to a country that actually tortures domesticated dogs in the most horrid ways…but we go to this country anyway. We watch in Spain, as partying humans participate joyfully in the “Running of the Bulls”, literally terrifying an animal until they brutally kill the bull amid cheers. What kind of human ignores this kind of pain inflicted on a life? Humans love violent movies and video games. Over and over, the watchers or the players are subjected to unspeakable violence that stays with their subconsciousness. How much does it affect the way they respond to others in their daily life? We have certainly become quick to anger and quick to act in violent ways.

In a society that texts instead of talking, and posts a life story rather than living one, we keep isolating ourselves from humanity. We disregard the homeless vet on the street, we ignore the autistic student, we have no time for the sick and elderly parent…it doesn’t fit in our world that it appears full, only to be fake, but rather a life filled of loneliness and despair.

We support companies that isolate our kids to a life on a screen. Companies that prefer robots to humans. Where empty stores, where customers have no interaction and lonely rooms in front of a screen are patronized over cozy bookstores and creative storefronts on a downtown street. We support companies that treat employees with disregard, because we do not want to recognize the face of the worker.

We send our kids to schools that constantly remind our young children, “Do not talk, keep your hands to yourself.” A system that keeps our children in a building, sitting in rows for over twelve years, yet the true classroom awaits outside the school grounds. We send kids through years of mindless tasks, and forget about the joy of true discovery. We label and categorize kids. Then we ask them in their junior year of high school to do well on a four hour test, and to create for admissions departments a marathon of activities and classes that supposedly create a superior student, only to find that 1 in 3 of these students will not continue college for a sophomore year. We take the bliss of learning and the chance at failure away from our students in lieu of a parade of sameness.

We watch workers toil away for years in search of the American Dream in a rigged system to nowhere. The fragility of the human spirit demeaned down to a profit piece in the shareholder grasp of wealth and success. The despair on faces as they age, running out of time, as the rug continues to be pulled out from under them over and over again. We see the result, yet we do not stop the game. We are prisoners in a life that we watch on ads in movies, on Instagram and Facebook, that we cannot seem to capture. The carrot in front of us, always out of reach. The hopelessness in our time. The dehumanized world we live in and continue to support.

The tragedy on Valentine’s Day was a double-edged sword. It was the tragedy that seventeen people lost their lives in a brutal rampage, and it was a tragedy that a young man lived in a country that would result in the desire to kill and destroy. We innocently ask why. But the why is all around us. The refusal to accept that we are dehumanizing people. Every day. Everywhere. If you felt your heart break on this horrific day, then you are not lost. You can be a voice for change.

We must rethink violence. What we watch. What we play. We must rethink our treatment of animals and the animal holocaust that exists around the world. We must support companies that practice integrity and social responsibility. We must treat employees as valuable members of society, who have partners, families, and dreams to take care of. Our educational system must open doors to learning, creativity, and self love. Most importantly, we must “see” people, their needs and heartbreaks. We can no longer look away. Humanity is drowning. It is up to all of us to save it.

If life steers you into a dead end road, and you are trying to find your way, skip the GPS, take the road with no traffic. Founder studiO, early morning poet.