The Shifting Sands

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My head has been completely occupied with thoughts lately.

I don’t think I have even told you about my emergency trip in an ambulance over Easter, or even the visit to my sisters. I’ve just been so caught up in the thoughts that are bothering me.

We live on a beautiful planet. And we’ve treated it like shit, but we’re learning from our mistakes. And we treat each other like shit, and for the most part, we’re learning from those mistakes too. As individuals, we know now that it’s OK to chase dreams and set goals and embrace what you are good at. Generations have changed now. Having a “proper job” and a “career” aren’t really the be all and end all that they used to be. It’s OK to be creative and clever and to have opinions and thoughts and dreams and goals. You can brag about your kids without being a wanker and you can be proud of your kids without being labelled a helicopter parent.

And I think the Internet has a lot to do with that.

And this is good.

The example I have in my head when I’m writing this, is my beloved. She creates awesome stuff with her interior design knowledge. Cushions and clocks and tables and all sorts of stuff. It’s great. It really is. Even if I didn’t totally love her, I would still think it is good. You can check out her Etsy store. But this isn’t about throwing publicity her way.

Because the other side of this is a Facebook page I’ve been made aware of that exists solely to “save” Australia from the religion of Islam. It’s a hate page. It offers frequent videos and rants, full of swearing and incitement to jump on the bandwagon to “reclaim” Australia. And I cannot tell you how ashamed the page makes me feel. Ashamed, but also concerned for the welfare of the person behind it.

This seems like a totally unrelated bunch of words at the moment, but bare with me.

Because here is where I am going with this:

For some reason, this hate page has very quickly grown in support and numbers. My beloved’s page is growing… but slowly. Same with the page for this blog. What is it that makes people jump on board with hate speech instead of creativity, is what I want to know.

Not because I want more numbers for me or my beloved, but because I think it might be offering an insight into what people really are passionate about. And this is a scary, scary thought. Because what if it’s the increased access to a ready audience that fuels this kind of thing. People who have these extreme “anti” viewpoints aren’t outsiders any more. There’s a heap of people ready to support them in their vitriol and not one stops to consider the well-being of the person behind the posts.

The thing is, everytime something like the page I’m talking about starts spewing forth opinions and hatred, more people rise. People who share the #illridewithyou hashtag. People who say “You do not speak for me”. People who can see beyond the actions of extremists and embrace humans, regardless of their religious beliefs. And for every ounce of ignorance, there seems to be double the weight in love and courage and humanity.

Because it just isn’t brave to be hateful and destroy.

It takes a lot more courage to love and create.

And yet somehow, this hate page has garnered a lot of support. And there are plenty more just like it.

Have we turned into a world that supports hatred? See, I don’t actually think that we have. I hope we haven’t.

And maybe, just maybe, that is the conclusion I’m looking for, in this blog post. Because I’m aware I haven’t said a huge amount, not really. And I’ve done nothing to empty the thoughts out of my head. But the crux of it is maybe those two words. And they might be what we need to take away when we see hate and vitriol on social media, alongside our friendships and our creativity and our passions. Two simple words, which are the ultimate response to hate and also to the pursuing of dreams. Just two words.

Here they are again:

I hope.

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