by James R. Campbell
This message is at least two years in the making. It is long overdue, and has required much thought. I am writing this message to the youth of the world in light of recent events at home and abroad.
Our media has treated us to any number of horrific images of late, the latest being the blood bath in Orlando, Florida. The impression that one gets from these stories is that all people are that way. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was a hate crime and an act of lone-wolf terrorism based on the twisted ideology of a death cult that wants to take us back to the seventh century.
This group hates the LGBT community. I am not one to judge, even though I could not accept that life, I feel that it is my job to reach out to these people in friendship. Nothing is to be gained by a blood bath like the one we had in Orlando. Hate divides, and when the media plays up these images, this helps breed mistrust. The lack of trust in our society poses a threat that is as grave and dangerous as that posed by the twisted ideology that breeds terrorism.
We need each other; we are all connected to one another, and thus, to all life. The universe is one living organism. We are merely a small part of it. Many, if not most of us, fail to take stock of this; but it is a fact. The news media seeks to separate by way of controlling what we see and hear, and thus, our perceptions of the world at large.
It isn’t always like that. Our local community raised money for a little girl who was attacked by a dog while visiting in New Mexico. My heart was lifted in joy at hearing this, especially in light of recent events.
I will not be so blind as to tell you that bad things don’t happen in this world. They do. More often than we care to hear. We can’t turn away, and we can’t deny reality. On the other hand, we are dubious if we are led to believe that we can’t change it
All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Apathy kills, this I firmly believe. I know that I am one man, I can’t do it all. As cousin Lisa once told me “There is no magic wand.” That having been said, that leaves us to do it. We do what we can, and start where we are. That is all that life asks of us, no less.
Each one of us, myself included, has a part to play. To do no less is to contribute to the very dysfunction that makes these horrible events such standard fare.
Whenever there is hate speech, put it down, refute it. Love is the answer. We must take care of each other.
To future generations, as well as the present one, I say this:
Get involved with life. Don’t let one day pass by that you don’t help someone. One voice can make a difference, whenever there is wrong, make your voices heard, and put it right. There is strength in numbers, and there is too much to do. One person can’t do it all, we must unite and be the change we want to see.
Avoid the easy lure of escaping in to a world of drugs and alcohol. We have lost far too many of our talented people, who were the best and brightest among us, because of alcohol and drugs. You can’t take part in life if you are stoned. Modern living takes a clear head; how else does anybody draw a rational conclusion with regards to anything we see and hear?
So much of what we hear these days is trash; nothing more. The tabloids are crammed with it; and the mainstream media is not much better. Worst of all are the conspiracy theorists who preach gloom and doom: they see death and destruction under every rock. The axiom is sent as of this moment. “Choose you this day, who you will believe.”
Beware of those who have an overly glossy view of the world. Optimism is one thing, but when people gloss over the reality of the negative events that happen, then they contribute to the problems we have. Nothing is as delusional as a rose-colored sandcastle. With these people, all is merry and bright, no matter what happens. It is this kind of thinking that helps to feed the apathy we talked about earlier. The ultimate damage this attitude produces is immeasurable.
I am not saying that one can’t be happy in spite of these circumstances. It takes effort, but it is doable. There is such a thing as absolute happiness, a life state that goes beyond relative happiness, which is dependent on external variables. Relative happiness crumbles, and we are disappointed. Absolute happiness is achievable. This kind of happiness doesn’t avoid the acknowledgment of the world’s troubles, instead, it sustains us in spite of them.
There are some people who wouldn’t know what to do if they were told to be absolutely happy for one day. They would never complete the assignment. They are so used to a negative perception they cannot live any other way.
As a blind person, I often encounter people who judge someone based on their appearance, or some other variable that says nothing about the person underneath. Nothing irritates me more than that. I find it hard to deal with people who are distrustful. Again, some people are not trustworthy, but again, the media wants us to believe that the world is a bad place. And it is; this is the reason it’s up to us to make it better. We can’t reach everybody, it starts with each of us reaching one person at a time. The chain begins with us, and we each have a part.
Let me conclude by issuing this challenge to the readers, on behalf of future generations. Find one thing that you can do to help someone this day, and tell a friend about it tomorrow. From there, extend outward, doing as much for each other as you can. And by all means, encourage your friend to do likewise. And by all means, protect our girls. They are our most valued resource, and while they deserve their independence, let us be ever mindful that their safety is paramount. Respect the girl, and she will respect you. Always remember that, if you haven’t learned anything else from what you have just read. And as always, thanks for your time.
With Loving Kindness,
James R. Campbell
About the Author
James R. Campbell, 61, is poet and writer living with total blindness. He has a Bachelor’s in psychology. He has written articles for the Matilda Ziegler Magazine and Consumervision. A a member of Behind our Eyes, Campbell has three poem collections on CD. They can be downloaded at Recordinglibrary.org. In his free time, he likes cooking, playing harmonica, reptiles, and keeping up with current events.