I’m not sure about you (and at the risk of over generalizing), but I’m noticing a drastic change in how Americans communicate and how some media outlets treat the subjects of their stories today. While I don’t intend for this to be a political commentary, I’m sensing an appallingly intolerant tone from some of those running for president, with many candidates seeming to strike an “us versus them” chord when articulating their platforms. If you look at many magazine covers or news programs, sensational stories seem to overtake the positive pieces, with a growing percentage focusing on a “villain,” rather than a “hero.” And I’d be lying if I told you that I’m able to easily stomach the horrific shootings of police officers, minorities, theatergoers, students, military members, reporters, etc. and simply accept these deaths as “normal behavior” because…well…it’s America.
Could there be a new, lowered standard in the amount of respect that people are willing to give one another? I’m petrified of becoming desensitized and, frankly, do not want to become comfortable with the increasingly hateful rhetoric and negative media portrayals. As someone who was raised to see the best in people, I obstinately want to believe that there is some logical causation for why some people are choosing to hurt one another with words or actions. Is it stress? Or fear? I don’t intend to oversimplify the reasons, but I am the first to say that I can always strive to do more for others and be better every day.
In searching for potential solutions to counter what I perceive to be a dangerous and divisive cultural phenomenon, I’m reminded of a quote from Anne Frank, the teenage Holocaust victim who authored a personal diary. Frank’s account of her horrific situation was filled with optimism and a surprising amount of hope for her future in spite of the looming threat of being captured by the Nazis during World War II.
“How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
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