Thursday, August 28, 2014

Different Realities

Friends from Ukraine write, “Hey, are people paying attention? Russia is invading us—sending thousands to fight alongside separatists and arming them.”

I haven’t had the heart to say, “No we really aren’t paying attention. You are probably on your own.”

Friends in the Middle East ask, “Are people at home up in arms about what ISIS is doing to tens of thousands of people here? Syria is in chaos, Iraq is falling apart, and the only things growing are refugee camps!”

I respond, “Well, we got mad when they killed a journalist, but that’s about it.”

Friends from south Asia inquire about ways that the nation has responded to the death of an American general in Afghanistan, or the murder of Christian aid workers. “Have there been memorials and prayer vigils? What did the President say about the general?

I answer, “Not really, and not much.”

White friends ask when everyone will get tired of all this pseudo racist stuff surrounding a thug who beat up a cop and then got shot. Black friends ask when whites will wake up to the systemic racism that permeates our society’s power structures.

I don’t have an answer.

I imagine all of these inquirers getting together, and asking rather pointedly, “then what in the world do people you know care about right now?”

That I can answer. “Well, a lot of them are dumping buckets of water over their heads and making a video about it to post on Facebook—it’s for ALS awareness. LeBron is coming back to Cleveland. The NFL and college football seasons are starting up. And the new season of most TV shows is about to begin.”

They have nothing to say.

And then I ask myself "what can I/we/our nation/concerned observers do to change all of these things?"

There is only one step I can come up with, but it is the best I could give.

I can pray. And so can you.

The question we may not want to hear next--"So, did you?"