Kyle. 19. Military Brat. Sophomore at the University of Alabama. Roll Tide.
Originally posted here.
A lot of people – from my family to my friends – have called me a cynic. And, although I can see where they are coming from, I see myself as more of a realist. Hear me out. A lot of people live in a world that is only made up of their immediate lives. They don’t read news articles and, if they watch the news, they only watch the channels that cement what they already believe. They go about the same patterns day-in and day-out and their aspirations in life are to have a stable job, a spouse that loves them and children to adore. To clarify, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of aspiration. It is the majority of America. But, this is not me.
I have had the privilege of living outside this great country. And, for clarifications sake, I do love this country. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and experience first hand countless numbers of different cultures from our own. One side effect of these experiences is that I can’t turn off my brain once it reaches our borders. I have attended conferences that were attended by people from all the over the world and – because of this – I have friends all over. I have friends in Syria, Libya, Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, Sudan, etc. When I read news stories about what is going on in the world, to me it is very real. To me, those are real people that are suffering and dying. They aren’t political arguments to be had between O’Reilly and [Insert random liberal here]. They aren’t points to be made in a the walls of a university classroom. They’re real.
As a gay man that has never had the luxury as passing as straight, I have always been the target of some form of harassment or another. Even when I was younger and didn’t know that I was gay, the other kids knew something was different about me and they made sure to let me know about it. Like many kids, I experienced bullying but I think it’s possible that it seeded deeper in me than maybe it does a lot of other people. To me, bullying is a mild form of the cruelty that people are capable of.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve read countless articles every day that show the very real possibilities of human cruelty. Every day we wake up and see/read the news that more innocent people have died in [insert random country here]. Actually, you don’t even have to leave America. The great “city on a hill,” is no better than any country we believe that we need to “help.”
We are the most powerful populace on the planet. People are dying every single day just to have the chance at a sliver of the power we have. And, yet, we waste it. We elect the same idiots again and again because we’re too lazy to actually take the time to learn from our mistakes. To vote on something other than if there is a (R) or a (D) next to their names. We’re too lazy to think for ourselves so we let extremists (i.e. Fox News/MSNBC) do the thinking/talking for us. We’re so worried about offending people that we actually have a list of things that you’re never supposed to talk about: Race, Religion, Sex, Politics (RRSP). How are we supposed to fix anything without talking about those four things? Those are our problems!
We have a race problem. Ferguson, anyone?
We have a religion problem. And, no, I don’t mean that the existence of religion is a problem. I mean, American religion is a problem. Like everything else, it’s become a business. It’s become a source of hate rather than a source of love. Y’all care more about who I’m having sex with than helping that poor and/or homeless person. That’s a problem.
We have a sex problem. The fact that LGBTQ+ people still do not have full equality in this country and the fact that women’s sexuality is still demonized. The fact that we tell girls/women to dress modestly rather than tell boys not to rape.
We have a politics problem. Our system is broken. We believe it’s our job to run the world and maintain order and yet we can’t even maintain order/run ourselves.
And, do you know what we’re doing about it? Absolutely nothing. A lot of you look at the world and tell yourself that God or [insert random force here] has a plan. That you can just give it to the universe and everything will work out. Meanwhile, millions of people are dying and countries – including our own – are failing. I’m not an optimist because I don’t believe in waiting for someone or something else to fix my problems. And, just because I’m informed does not make me a cynic.
On a daily basis people ask me, “Kyle, why do you get political on Facebook/Twitter/etc.? That’s not what it’s for.” To me, that is exactly what it’s for. Social media is meant to start and drive a conversation. Where else can you find such a large group of people with ranging opinions and thought processes? It wasn’t its intended purpose but social media has developed into an engine that can drive political change. Why wouldn’t I or anyone else use it to inform and/or persuade you?
My aspirations in life are to change this country and this world for the better. To open people’s eye to very real and very harmful problems human beings face every day. To hopefully engage even one person to enacting change, to inspiring them to action or to at least get informed; is the ultimate goal.
My eyes are open and I’m paying attention. Through my own personal experiences and through the eyes/words of others I have seen what human beings are capable of doing. Just because what I say or post may be uncomfortable or unpleasant to hear doesn’t change the fact that it’s real and that it’s happening. And, that realness isn’t changed by the way you or I view a glass of water. It just is.
I am the definition of a realist.
I’m kind of uncomfortable with the #TransKids movement. Is there someone on the Tumblr-verse I can talk to to get some perspective on this? I’m a progressive person but I just cannot wrap my head around this.