Usually I make a point of never making any form of political statement, the internet is full of serious comments boasting a political agenda and quite frankly I’m not politically informed enough to comment. It’s very easy at this point, also, to put down any political information I may relay down to some more ultra-emo ramblings of another disgruntled millennial with twenty-four-seven wifi access. That’s not what this. In actual fact, I hold my hands up, when the older generations comment on how ignorant us young ones are, typically I am one of the young ones. I have never voted and some think that this is means to say that I am part of the problem but as the week draws to a close I’ve noticed, time and time again a consistent theme. The phrase “if you’re not angry you’re not paying attention” is thrown around so carelessly these days and the truth is, I am paying attention. I’m not angry but to claim that anger and awareness are the same thing is just deluded nonsense. The nazis were angry as are the left wing. The black panthers were angry and so are the KKK. In all of history has anger really gotten anyone anywhere? In the same stroke however, peace and silence has probably done even less and in my opinion it’ll continue to do even less. The honest answer is that there is no quick fix, people will continue to be angry and others will continue to be blissfully ignorant, no amount of votes are going to change that.
I got in to a taxi over the weekend and anyone who follows my riveting snap chat story on a regular basis will know that I was faced with a very uncomfortable situation. I’ll preface this by saying it was 1am on a Sunday morning and I was coming back from a friends house so you can imagine my surprise when I stepped into the taxi and the gentleman behind the wheel had verses from the Old Testament playing on the radio. At first I laughed, I recorded snippets and sent them to my friends making jokes along the lines of being part of a ritual sacrifice. It was then I heard the booming voice, in stereo, repeat “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, because there is no one left to buy their cargo..” I have since come to learn that this was from the book of revelations, a fitting title since I was having the revelation of a lifetime; I’m going to die. It was as we were driving down the country road, with nothing but darkness ahead of us, I plucked up the courage and asked for the radio. My reasoning was simple, it was too morbid to listen to after enjoying a fun-filled Saturday evening. The man smiled and immediately turned over to whatever repetitive chart singles were playing that night.
At this point, my curiosity was peaked and I asked him why he was listening to bible verses, more so I was baffled as to why any public service worker would make such a public religious statement; if it were the Quran he would’ve received an unfair amount prejudice. He stayed silent for a moment, mulling over his answer, as I imagined every possible way he could drive his car into a tree and murder me and my flagrantly homosexual self in the middle of the woods.
“I’m a Muslim” he spoke, my eyes widened as I only became more intrigued. Immediately before I knew the mans religion I had judged him and made jokes about it. Now I was sat with a man listening to a religion that we are taught opposes his ideologies and one that we are consistently shown does not match up with his lifestyle, yet here he was listening. As the car continued through the various roads he explained that he was listening to the bible to gain understanding, to learn the teachings as he had been taught from an early age. He revealed that his understanding was that everyone was fighting for the same lessons.
It was at that point that I realised that the only thing that is going to make anything easier or make any sense of the world around us is to be less ignorant. I don’t follow a religion, my answer to the this is the same as my political stance, I simply do not know enough to commit my life to one way of living. But we could all stand to be a bit more open minded and willing to learn, to listen and to make informed decisions based on those findings, not what we’re told. It was also at that point that I realised not everything is about race or religion; sometimes people are just assholes. Religion and extremism, race and stereotyping are all very extreme sides of a very thin coin.
That being said, we’ve witnessed what using that thin coin to pay for our mistakes can lead to. It’s for this reason that there will never be a fix and there will never be a way to make everyone happy. The only “fix”, is for everyone to educate themselves as much as possible and not become prey to the general ignorance of the world. Travel, expand your friendship circles, surround yourself with as many different people as possible. Very plainly: become a part of the solution, not the problem.