The dialog of the growing violence in America has been an on-going talk for some populations and segments of American society for most of its history. There are the peacemakers in society that have been a resounding voice for decade upon decade attempting to sound an alarm of attention on the growing violence, yet the clear deterioration of American society is being ignored.
The news is filled with stories of violence and death.
Troy Davis was unjustly executed and killed by the legal structure of who believe they have the right to take life. Trayvon Martin was gunned down in the street for his appearance and then the nation polarized to justify openly killing a teenager in America. While non-profits struggle to secure funding to tend to those most in need, Americans are donating money in mass to fund the legal defense of the man who openly shot an unarmed teenager. This is violence and death.
One in four women is abused in America. Thus, women are unsafe in their own homes en masse and every male Republican Senator voted against the Violence Against Women Act, as well as against the Equal Pay Act. We have, then, social system that oppresses its women oppresses every generation.
Children are being sexually exploited and oppressed by priests and university administrators. Some children are being held back multiple years at the elementary level (K-5) for not testing well on standardized tests inspite of grades because of the No Child Left Behind policies. Prison projections are based on 3rd grade literacy rates. This is violence and death.
Young people in pain in some of the poorest communities now have access to military grade weapons that top national leaders do nothing about and offer no explanation for where they are coming from. The divorce rate is at a steady fifty percent and even more are completely opting out of marriage as a viable choice and the result is that children are the largest population in American society in poverty. Instead of demanding the accountability of men and fathers, society labels and stereotypes single mothers as a social ill. There are over 14 million Americans out of work, and news of cannibalism, kids publicly bullying elders, national terrorists shooting up college campuses, movie theaters and places of worship overwhelm us. This is violence and death.
Surely more of us need to care and join the dialog around violence with some preventative measures we can take because the dis-ease of our social system is erupting in dangerously violent ways. I believe that we must take a therapeutic approach to the dis-ease of growing violence in society. Collectively we share a common existence; we need to learn how to handle our own stressors in healthier ways, we need to learn to resolve conflict without resorting to violence, we need to acknowledge that where we are headed is not good for the masses and we have the choice to do something healthy about it. Being healthy is a choice, just like reacting violently is a choice. This is hope and life.
In therapy self-inventory is necessary, our existence is a culmination of our experiences. As a society, the baby boom generation grew up during the time of segregation and open oppression, members of that same generation are now the elders of society. They are the members of Congress, Senate, the Supreme Court and in many of the leadership positions in America. These elders were socialized as children to hate, to feel superior, to justify inequality as biologically inherent, to divide from “others” who are lessor, and to bully through the legal and education structure. We have before us a necessary and sober task—to question where and how the social world we have grown up in has shaped us directly and indirectly in unhealthy ways. This is hope and life.
The first therapeutic step for our society is to face the reality of our dis-ease and the roots of it. To face lingering generational pain that we may not even understand is the reality of our current society; we have to heal because the alternative is this path of erupting violence and dis-ease. People have been told to be silent, to suffer in silence, to cover up or drown the pain in anyway necessary.
People are addicted to alcohol, pharmaceuticals, pornography, food, shopping, and empty relationships to fill the places of social pain. Generation upon generation is walking around with behaviors that we have collectively created or allowed and it’s obvious that those from every race, gender, and economic bracket are impacted and suffering.
After we face who we are then we need to deal with self. Self-control is a habit that must be developed; our society is detached morally but technologically drunk on the lifestyle of wealth and affluence that always brings periods of height and collapse throughout world history. Pride always comes before the fall. Now is our opportunity to make a humble healthy change; individually and collectively. This is hope and life.
It is no longer possible to ignore violence because it’s in your city, your suburb, your rural community, your temple of worship and it is not going to change until we collectively decide to change and reach for those who need more assistance in working through the reality of our sick social world.
No longer is there someone to blame, a group to stereotype as “violent people.” What has happened generationally is impacting where we are right now, we shall either choose to collectively heal by dealing with self so that we can deal with each other or we shall destroy ourselves together by way of a violent death.
My hope is that each of us will determine to begin to authentically deal with self, we are the only change that is coming to address and heal the growing violence plaguing society. We are the change, let us heal. This is hope and life.
Photo by loop_oh, via Flickr Creative Commons.