Opinion: Unable to Sleep

by Aza Games

I find myself unable to sleep on the nights when the energy in the country is so volatile. When I do, I dream of unrest and injustice, among other things.

I have been limiting my consumption, setting aside time to both witness and do what I can.

And setting aside time to step away, because I have that luxury.

My heart hurts for George Floyd, his family, for every single (black) American who has been subject to this treatment because for some reason in 2020 we still have to fight systemic racism.

A few thoughts I had, a few things I’ve learned:

Paid protesters are a thing, used to incite violence so that people who don’t look any deeper than a few heavily right wing articles believe that the sole purpose of the protests is looting and burning. A much smaller portion of people are doing that, and many are actively trying to stop it.

But just like ‘good cops’ don’t make the news, peaceful protest doesn’t either.
And on that note, you can have 10 bad cops and 1,000 good ones, but if those 1,000 stand by ‘just following orders’ (or whatever other excuse while their compatriots kill innocent people) you now have 1,010 bad cops. A civilian interfering in an arrest is not going to end well or be effective. Another officer saying “That’s too far” should be what is expected.

Respect and Rights have never come from peaceful protest… When things are protested peacefully there are still people quick to condemn it.
So if those people (you know, the people at the top of the food chain) will condemn you no matter how you protest or voice your dissent, why does it matter what way you do it? Peaceful isn’t working. So let’s get loud.
Medics are being attacked. People are being shot directly in the face from less than 30 feet away with rubber bullets that can kill.

The response apparently now is “if they’re looting. Kill them.” I hate that I have to tell you this, and I’ve had this argument far too much with people over the Coronavirus, but possessions and wealth are replaceable, lives are not. Why this is not a generally agreed upon statement, that lives are more important than wealth, I will never understand. The fact it isn’t is why I believe our country is falling apart.

The money we use today has no value. If the government wanted to compensate every single business owner for the total damages, they could. Money has only the value we give it. Human lives cannot be ‘given’ value. They have it inherently.

Politics has become about more than politics at this point. Who you support, who you donate to, who you vote for in our upcoming elections tells me what you are willing to condone. What you are willing to stand by and either cheer on or turn a blind eye to.

I am a generally forgiving, compromising and understanding person.
But we have one party that demonstrates through actions, beliefs and legislation that some people are less than others based on a bevy of arbitrary factors with roots in the prejudice from the time of the founding of this country and even farther back.

And another party that goes ‘Well… Yeah… It’ll cost a little more and require a closer eye on the people who thrive and profit from that kind of discrimination, but wouldn’t it be worth it? Fewer hungry kids. Fewer people dying of easily treatable illnesses they couldn’t afford to be seen for.

Generation after generation of kids educated better than previous ones could ever hope to be, with little stress of what they’ll do with all that debt after graduation, since they’ll have less.’

I can’t see how you blend the ideals of “Only some people, who we decide are worthy, deserve to be treated like they are of value”. And “Everyone, no matter what I think deserves to be treated like they are of value”.

The two ideas are completely mutually exclusive.
I choose all, instead of some.
I say compassion over condemnation.
Would rather provide aid, than suffer from greed.

Gods… I want to make a difference. To make the world safer, better, more like a world for people than a world for profit.

But I’ll start here, at home.

Maybe if I’m lucky (and yes, luck has something to do with it), work hard, make smart choices I’ll get the chance to work in bigger and bigger places.
So today, this week, this month, this year.

Do what you can to help, even if it’s just something little. Smile at a baby in the grocery store. Tell that lady you like her shoes. Ask him about what he’s working on, even if you don’t care that much. Go vote. Donate to a cause you care about. Protest. Call your representatives. Get involved with your local parties. Run for office.

Let’s change the world.

One action at a time.

19 year old Aza Games has a passion for both writing and human rights and combines those passions to share her thoughts on the matters close to her heart.

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