Friday, February 24, 2012

"The world is just too messed up for me to take care of it..."

A few months ago when I was having a conversation with a good friend about politics, he told me he wasn't paying attention to what the presidential candidates were up to anymore because he had given up on our country completely. His proposed solution to his frustration was to find work outside of the country as soon as possible. 

        "If you dislike the way our country is run," I said, "Why don't you work to change it instead of running away? Why don't you take action to fix what you're frustrated with?"
        "The world is just too messed up for me to take care of it," he replied.

I've heard variations of this phrase uttered from my friends' and family members' lips a thousand times and I know I've said it to myself as well.

It's ridiculously easy to go about life thinking the problems in the world are too big and you are too small to make an impact. I went through elementary, middle, and high school believing that injustice was some kind of dark monster; but it was a dark monster that lived inside someone else's closet and was therefore, not my responsibility to take care of.

But one day, during my first semester of college, my mind whispered, "What if that dark monster was attacking your neighbor, your friend, your sister? Or, what if the monster was attacking you, and the rest of the world glanced over and saw your terror and pain, but did nothing."
 "Sorry, Alexandra" the world would say, "but that monster is just too big, ugly, and scary for us to face. Besides, it's attacking you and not us so I guess you're on your own this time."

I realized then that when we become aware of an injustice and do nothing, even if we are not the ones causing it, our non-action causes it to continue. Injustice exists because of hatred but is sustained by the nourishment of indifference. We may not be the reason a problem occurs, but in denying responsibility, we become the reason for the problem's survival.
Yes, the monster of injustice is big. Yes, it can be ugly. Yes, it can be scary. 
But it only lives when you feed it.

The minute you choose to open your eyes, the minute you choose to care instead of abiding in the comfort of indifference, the minute you realize that the people the dark monster oppresses are, in fact, your neighbors, your friends, your siblings and yourself, the dark monster begins to starve.

Injustice is huge, but nobody said you had to take it on all at once. Start small. Start with opening your eyes. Start with caring. Start with not turning your back on someone else's suffering. Start with standing up and speaking out about what you know to be true. Start with getting one person out of injustice's clutches. Because, if you start small, others will follow your example and pretty soon the world will be taking over injustice instead of injustice taking over the world.

You can submit yourself to the notion that the world is just too messed up for you to take care of it. Or, you can decide for yourself that the world is just too messed up for you not to take care of it.

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