There is a disease running rampant through the whole of humanity. It is a disease that has gone unnoticed and unattended to. The disease of apathy toward others suffering will be the contagion that is and has been slowly disintegrating our world. People have become more and more content with solitary satisfaction and hope that it reaches their family’s and loved ones as well. Sometimes not even that.

We are bound together in unity, for a week, when world countries, including our own, face devastating attacks that kill dozens, hundreds, thousands of people. In the meantime we argue over Starbucks cups and the death toll becomes less and less of a social problem, and becomes more of a private matter for those unlucky souls who have to live through it and with it.

We forget that our reality isn’t everyone’s. Our reality of shelter, clothing, food—even most of the time. We forget the little girl whose reality of rape is greater than her reality of food.

We forget the little boy whose reality of a life of gun and violence is greater than his reality of shoes.

We forget the two parents whose reality of losing one of their children is greater than their reality of getting an education so they can find a job to support their family and create a better life. That reality has yet to even be a dream for them.

Our society has developed this egotistical theme “it’s not happening to me so why should I care? I have my own problems.” This self-centered, selfish methodology creates opportunities for violence, unfairness, poverty, exploitation, and opportunities for those people who are running the show and keeping it this way, to stay in power. Like the rich 1% of the 1% who own more money than the rest of American’s combined, and yet can deduct or cut taxes because of government favors due to incumbency laws. Like the person who’s suffering, and wants their suffering to extend to all so they go to a gun shop, purchase a weapon and use it on an unsuspecting crowd because a store owner is too cheap to run a background check, or decides he needs to carry military grade automatic weapons and sell them to civilians. Like the refugees who are fleeing to this land, a land of opportunity, a land of freedom. Trying to escape the violent reality of their home. A home they would prefer to stay in, and have until now. A home that is being ravaged by war, bigoted laws,  and loss, who we close our boarders to because we’re too concerned with personal opportunities, personal gain, and what these ‘free-loaders’ might deprive of us, what privileges they might ‘steal’ from us. We who are supposed to have learned the value of hard work, we who have the opportunities for education, we who have a growing sense of entitlement that is blocking our progress at every front.

That is who we have become! The people who justify and praise different ways to abuse our rights and call it a healthy outlook on life, a way to accept our circumstances instead of fighting for better ones.  We gloss over our real realities, and the real realities of those who share our world and settle for what realities we’ve allowed ourselves and others to believe. Our county is still #1, our obesity isn’t a problem, education is one path to success instead of the root of it, our middle class isn’t shrinking, our pride isn’t more about states than country now, the American flag still means what it used to. Our fantasy mentality that keeps us from viewing ourselves, our nation, and our world as a reality is crippling our ability for progress, and, more importantly, our sense of duty to help.

Take a stand. Whatever it is, whatever it may be. Don’t settle for an apathetic life of egotism while there is a world of suffering out there. Don’t let another shooting become another statistic without riots, marches, protests, action of any kind to stop the violence. Don’t let hopeful victims flee to the land of opportunity as their last chance for safety become life lessons about how they are doomed to a fate we ourselves don’t have to endure, a life lesson that brotherly kindness and empathy has turned into self-interest and pride. A false pride that is based in entitlement instead of productiveness and usefulness to more than just yourself. So take a stand. Pick a side and fight for it. Choose a cause and raise your voice for a world of more, not less. For a world of freedom, not growing captivity. For a world of opportunity, not decline. For a world united.

You are the voice that can change the world. Don’t quit before you start because you’re afraid you’ll fail. Look at all the people in the world who had that option and changed the world because they refused to heed that deprecating voice in their head that tells them their fight doesn’t matter. Find a reason. Find a cause. Find a fight. Choose to believe in it. Choose to embrace it. Choose to add a voice for it, a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves in a world that has dealt them far worse cards than you’ll ever have. Be an advocate for those who can’t even imagine there are people like you out there who care if they live or die let alone how they live and die. Be a believer in the goodness this world has to offer and then help that goodness grow. Believe in the goodness of people again and what they have to give to this world.

Be a believer in more than just yourself, ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.

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