On the heels of having written about “Saving Our Boys”, today – seven months later, I am still concerned that the gun culture is taking newer heights. When in the middle of a city our young males can walk up to another and take a life stone-coldly, we are in deep trouble. The rhetoric about this is many, and the blame-game is tremendous. From Government, to Opposition, to Police to Parents, and Society and its political biases, everyone one is being blamed by everyone else. The churches and religions are not left off the hook, and are all being blamed for this monstrous act plaguing the nation. The churches’ lack of a collective and well constructed voice, and their seeming misguided focus is being lambasted by believers and non-believers alike. So who or what is really to be blamed?
I do not have the answer, let me hasten to say. What I do have however, is a few thoughts and observations about the nature of our society lately.
We have really been busy tearing each other up via social media, and live radio talk shows. We continue to treat others with scorn, neglect the younger generations, and the responsibilities we have been given to teach them basic values that many of us were introduced to as children. (Granted, some of them care squat about these values now. Maybe the tree is already bent out of shape?)
The fact is, our basic etiquette, manners and social responsibilities have been eroded. We have a serious Hurricane-Maria-Effect happening to our once-upon-a-time culture of courtesy, an effect which sadly has long preceded Hurricane Maria itself. No one cares to stop to give way for the benefit of another, everyone is busy, everyone is entitled to everything more than the other person, and no one dares to accept wrong when he or she is wrong. If this is what we teach then it is the modus operandi for those who are so awakened to the lessons being taught. After all, our children live what they learn.
On that note, we need to revisit these basics. These things which created a sense of belief and patriotism among our populace. It has been a while now that I have been lamenting about the need for Civics to return to our school curriculum. Interestingly, it is being echoed now by some of those within the realm of policy formulation. Let us hope it takes root or effect soon.
Allow me however to propose that, we need Civics for adults too. Truth be told, many politically fiery nationals within and without Dominica, define their patriotism in political cloaks, by chiding those who are opposed to their points of views as being non-patriotic and the likes. Let us be fair – there will always be those for and against what we subscribe to. Like the popular cliche – “to each his / her own”. Notwithstanding the fact that we all should have and be allowed the right to choose what we believe religiously, politically and otherwise, we have the responsibilities to be civil about it.
The way we denigrate each other. The verbal abuse of each other, the slander, the nasty memes being created, and our inability to have candid, level-headed political discourse in the same room are dangerous trends. These are not civil, they are not mature, and they certainly aren’t patriotic to say the least. They fail to complement the commonwealth values of respect for the opinions of others, respect for diversity, democracy and the power of consensus.
These to me describe strongly the scary tone of our present society. This is the tone that those who are engrossed in the gun war are hearing, feeling, listening to and are seeking to survive within. Mark you, I am not making excuses for that gun-slinging behavior at all, as a matter of fact, I strongly believe some well-grown-adults are raping our young men off their innocence and ability to become positive contributors to society by using them to do these dirty acts for them. Still, the environment of selfishness, uncaring silence, me-myself-and-I and uncivil displays only works in tandem with the weaker or more emotionally, socially, and psychologically vulnerable elements of our society.
We have so much work to do to take our young men and women back. We need to preserve the male species as much as we seek to protect our females. Alas, all hands and heads must be prepared to change something in order to impact someone else positively. This battle is hard – but it is necessary to be fought for the salvation of our society, our populace, our young men and our peace of find.
What can you do to make a difference sooner than later? We need a new collective attitude to birth a new civil behavior throughout our land. Once the tensed tone dissipates, better may follow.