Like so many others yesterday, I watched the tragedy in Boston unfold on the news – standing with co-workers in the lunchroom, mouths covered in horror, heads shaking in disgust, eyes tearing up in sadness at yet more lives lost and damaged beyond repair. The act of one person ruining the lives and hopes and dreams of so many. What was supposed to be a triumphant celebration of achievement, a joyous occasion of accomplishment shattered by unspeakable violence. More questions of what can we do, more fear of where we can go, and more disgust at the actions of cowards. Our country mourns yet again; this time with another city, with another demographic, over another type of violence.
I think any writer with a modicum of a platform, no matter how small it may be, would be remiss in not addressing this attack on some level. The part I need to address is hope. Yes, hope. Since the advent of social media, anyone with access to the internet can voice their opinion publicly, can share their thoughts and feelings and words. And so very much of what I saw on Facebook and Twitter yesterday was, for the first time in a long time, simply support. From tweets simply reading, “My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the tragedy in Boston,” to statuses sharing from all over the world, “NY Loves Boston,” “Dublin’s Heart is With Boston,” to pictures of the Boston skyline, to entire articles depicting the emergency personnel and civilians alike running toward the injured instead of away from the chaos.
The helpers. The picture and words I saw the most yesterday were that of the beloved Mr. Rogers, who said this, “Always look for the helpers.” What phenomenal advice. Look for the helpers. Look for the ones who are doing what they can to make a horrible event bearable. There were so many yesterday. The exhausted runners who should have been celebrating the culmination of years of hard work with an ice bath and a chair continuing to move, to push wheelchairs and help people up and give blood. The people of the city of Boston opening their homes and hearts to those stranded in a strange city that had just been attacked, no questions asked. The restaurant owners giving out free meals without regard to their bottom line. Google setting up a site to help frantic family members find their loved ones. The emergency personnel; the doctors and nurses and fireman and police and EMT’s and servicemen who have dedicated their lives to helping being put to the ultimate test and stepping up once again. The list goes on and on.
Smartphones make it almost frighteningly easy to immediately share pictures and videos without censure; many of us saw some raw video footage of people with limbs blown off, puddles of blood, and tearful horror within minutes of the explosions. But so much of what I saw yesterday gave me hope. These videos were unscripted; this was real life and real reactions, and so much of it showed helpers. These are real people. This is the real world we live in. In the midst of explosions and terror and unknown, these were real people that did everything they could to help. And that is what our country is made up of. Helpers. We’ve shown it over and over and over again, in New York and Pennsylvania on that dark day in 2001, in Newtown just before Christmas, in Boston yesterday, and countless other times; there has always been more helpers than evil. There has always been more love than hate. We just need to remember it.
There’s many who will say I’m being naive, that I’m trying to find the rose-colored lenses for a pair of broken glasses. I’m okay with that. Because I’m right. I may not always remember it, but we’re surrounded by helpers. Try using my rose-colored glasses – you’ll see it too. Instead of the sadness of the homeless person on the corner, you’ll see the helper who drops a quarter in his cup. Instead of the frustration of a crowded bus, you’ll see the helper give up his seat for a tired mom. Instead of anger at being stuck in a long line, you’ll see the helper patiently counting out change for the elderly person at the front. And instead of pure evil in a time of terror, you’ll see the helper in not only the people in Boston that physically risked themselves, but in the millions of us around the world who did what little we could to show our support. To help.
Mr. Rogers was a smart man. Always, always look for the helpers. They’ll be there.
For anyone who may have missed the memo, today the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding Proposition 8, marking what I hope will be the beginning of a historic turning point in our society. Never is social media so prevalent than when a hot-button issue is raised, and today was certainly no exception. Facebook “turned red,” in support, with hundred of thousands of supporters changing their profile picture to a red equal sign, and Twitter’s hashtag of #gaymarriage was certainly the most trending topic. It’s no secret I’m a supporter, and after coming across this fabulous post I wanted to add my own two cents to some of the arguments that popped up across various social media websites throughout the day. Mostly because dumb people are funny.
***If you don’t agree with gay marriage, you probably want to just stop here. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think it’s stupid, and that’s the nicest way I can say it.***
From an article in Nacogdoches County, Texas
“A marriage is between a man and a woman and they’re trying to take a situation that doesn’t constitute marriage and have rights on that,” said Shelia Anthony.
- Well that there’s a good sentence, ain’t it Shelia? I like that nowhere here is there any reasoning, supporting argument, or sentence structure. And that her momma apparently couldn’t spell “Sheila.”
“If you were to put men on one island and woman on another island eventually the world would die off,” said Ethan Yates.
- Yes, and if you put cats on one island and dogs on the other you’d have two islands with only cats and dogs. And if we ran out of water, we’d also die. And if dinosaurs came back, we’d probably die too. And if a meteor hit Earth, again, DEAD. Also, in your particular situation, if we put men on island and “woman,” on another island, which actually means only one woman, that would just be cruel and unusual punishment. But assuming you meant all the women in the world on one island and all the men another – hey Ethan? We fucking discovered Earth was round, we discovered electricity, we invented the internet which allows your dumb opinion to be read by hundreds, we have people in SPACE; I guaran-goddam-tee the men and women would find each other’s island. Also, kudos on coming up with a realistic situation that totally translates well to your strong argument against gay marriage.
Here are some comments from Yahoo! users in response to this article regarding today’s hearings.
“People, you are all missing the main point!! Thje The only reason participants in marriage, (traditional marriage,) were given certain “rights” was because they provide the best environment in which to raise children. It IS that simple! Laws on inheretence inheritance, hospital visitation, etc., can be changed but the fundamental privaleges privileges of marriage should be reserved for marriages consisting of one man and one woman because that is what’s best for the children that might be created. Same-sex marriages do not provide the same benefit to society and thus should not be afforded the same privaleges privileges. It IS that simple.”
- Now that we’ve fixed your grammar and made this an almost coherent paragraph, I’m kind of too tired to point out that if I had to guess, while I’m sure you believe your spawn are the greatest benefit to society since your husband Jimmy Bob was created, they’re probably going to grow up to be assholes. And I can point out about four hundred marriages off the top of my head that are surely of ZERO benefit to society. All of Rush Limbaugh’s (traditional, sacred, marriages) come to mind.
“Gay marriage should be handled at the state level. If you’re gay and want to get married, move to a state where it’s legal. If you don’t agree with gay marriage, move to a state where it’s illegal. Simple as that.”
- Interesting. I would imagine there were a lot of people back in the day that said the same thing about segregation, women’s rights, and interracial marriage. Don’t say it’s not the same thing. IT IS THE SAME THING.
“And GOD said, though shall NOT sleep with another man. Case closed.”
- I’m ignoring the fact that this guy got the verse completely wrong. His misguided point comes across and it’s my favorite. The old standby that every opponent of gay rights ultimately falls back on, seeing as they don’t have any actual reasoning behind their ignorance. The Bible also says if a woman isn’t a virgin when she is married she can be stoned to death. It forbids tattoos and rounded haircuts, folks. I’m not saying the Good Book isn’t good; however, the possibility that it’s slightly outdated in some respects really needs to be considered.
Last year around this time, I published a post detailing all of the things I wished would stop in the year 2012. The fact that none of these things stopped happening kind of hurts my feelings. The Kardashians are still famous and somehow the celebrity gods found something even more annoying than them in Honey Boo Boo and her rotten cow family. We’ve added even more reality TV shows and now watch with baited breath to find out what the hillbilly duck callers will do next and which poor sap will get humiliated the most at a pawn shop. Since no one of any authority will listen to me regarding things we didn’t need more of, here’s some things we learned in 2012 that will hopefully make us better in 2013.
Never has the above been so true as it was during the presidential elections this past year. Social media has given every American with access to WiFi and a modicum of “knowledge” to blast their opinion all over the internet, and wow, did this election make us ugly. On one hand, in my mind it’s a good thing that so many were talking about the issues, interested in the outcome, and genuinely vested in the election of our President. On the other, I am absolutely gobsmacked horrified that so many of the public have the mental capacity to cast a vote for the leader of the free world without having a damn concept of the English language. And from everything I saw, the more vitriolic the hate, the more atrocious the spelling. Facebook and Twitter gives everyone a platform, and I’m pretty sure this election proved that NOT EVERYONE DESERVES ONE. “obamas sucks!” “Hey Mitt Rouamney, no one wants a mormom president,” “baracks an idiot, i didn’t get no free phone,” and “romneys totes winning this debacle,” are some things I saw in Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. The tweets from this election alone should convince all leaders — fuck everything else, we really, really need better education. Because I am seeing the future, it does not contain apostrophes and I. Am. Frightened.
My new favorite person in the world may be Jon Hendren. He took some time this Christmas to retweet some extremely ungrateful (what I have to assume is) teenagers’ horrified responses to their Christmas presents. What I took from it is that teenagers? Pretty much suck. We are apparently raising the most entitled, poor-me generation to ever walk the Earth and the proof? Is in Twitter. From the above picture to the lovely Beliebers venting their extreme frustration at the Newtown shooting interrupting the Ellen show with their idol, Twitter is proof that if you are under 18, you really shouldn’t have a platform. Granted, plenty of folks over 18 (and 21, and 31, and 40,) probably shouldn’t either, but at least they are old enough to be accountable. I have to hope that those of you sending this crap across the internet will be embarrassed at yourselves later in life and wish that perhaps you hadn’t published such a self-centered thought. ( I hope. Please, please, be better.)
There’s an ecard for everything. EVERYTHING. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been known to post them occasionally on my own facebook as they do make me laugh. But we have gotten to the point that every. single. fucking. situation. IN THE WORLD can now be pared down to a cartoon and a clever saying. Drink too much? There’s an ecard for that. Kids driving you crazy? There’s an ecard for that. Husband’s a stereotypical male? Ecard. Stepmother’s pet monkey keeps borrowing your rainbow sweater? Ecard. Bipolar neighbor’s pet ferret keeping you up at night? Ecard. Have to flip your pillow over in the middle of the night? Ecard. Tired of the rodeo clown riding a unicycle down your street with a lasso? Ecard. It’s out of hand, folks. Out. Of. Hand.
The above? Are the top Google searches, by category, in 2012. I’m skipping over the fact that when it comes to the TV show category I don’t even know the first two and the third makes me want to stab my eyes with hot forks because, well, if I think about it too long I want to stab everyone in the eyes with hot forks. But the rest – seriously? Is there one thing on this list – ONE THING – that has made an actual difference in anyone’s lives? Of course, to any of those close with the celebrities who have passed, and those affected by the storms, these were life-changing events. But the rest of us? The general public? How stupid and superficial are we?? Is anyone else concerned that there is not one political figure, not one search on gay marriage laws, not one argument about health care, nor one search on education?
We need to smarten up, folks. Let’s make 2013 the year that we stop glorifying hot messes and start jumping into actual reality, not TV reality. Reality is not pawn shops making millions on a television show. Reality is not neatly explained in a cartoon. Reality is not supported by twitter feeds of our favorite celebrities. The line between reality and social media is markedly different and we need to realize that before Honey Boo Boo is the goddamn president by fucking default.
Happy New Year Everyone!!!