by Todd Mitchem

Today, more than any time in recent history, we stand divided as a nation. Divided in views, politics, sports teams, and other opinions that are aired on social media. We have become a new type of culture that is offended with everything in life; blaming others has become a standard excuse for everything that goes wrong in our personal lives.  We see it as normal to take out our aggressions on family and friends alike. This anger of proximity, in that we scream at whomever is closest, is causing people to lash out, but not at the person they are most mad at--themselves.

Let’s get real, regardless of your political slant, you have most likely judged someone in the last couple of days as well as called whole classes of people names like: racist, liberal, conservative, redneck, “those people,” and the list goes on. We have become a nation that likes to talk, that loves to judge others, and that is addicted to throwing their opinions at anyone who will listen. This is not sustainable; we are about to reach a breaking point in our society and what could have been disruption has become destruction. Disruption is constructive—moving things forward in a positive manner.  Destruction is what it says: destructive. We don’t need any more destruction in our society.

We allow for huge protests in the name of the First Amendment, but then people turn violent and destroy property. We blame the media, the President, Congress, or the countless other factors in society and claim, “They divide us.” But this logic is flawed because, with the excuse of free speech, we have become a raging nation of “unhappy” complainers. And let me remind you, the judgments and the opinions of how everything should be, come not after, but before we have even done any work on ourselves as individuals. Before we figure out our triggers that stem from habitual and, in most cases, no longer accurate opinions. This all happens before we realize that no one is responsible for our actions or where we are in life except ourselves. What we do very well as a nation is tell everyone our victim story. This is an ego-driven time, where everyone believes that they are the most important person, who deserves more than anyone else, while constantly slinging the phrase “that is not fair.” We have become victims of our own personal sob stories, and we feel uncomfortable and maybe even offended to admit that we are a big part of the problem. The biggest tragedy is that we only talk about being united, but behave as if we are divided.

We resort to protesting for the rights of people who are outside our country, while forgetting about over 2.5 million children who go homeless in this nation each year. We all but ignore veterans who have risked their lives so our right to free speech is protected. We forget about people who need help who are within arm’s reach: the homeless, cancer patients, abused women, and people out of work. If you took all the time that it takes to protest one issue, all the money that it takes for you to prepare and arrive in the city for the protest, and buy matching gear, you could be putting that effort into being a volunteer for battered women, homeless shelters, the American Cancer Society, or any one of the countless organizations that need help. You could take that money and donate it to non-profits so they can put it to better use. However, since we are so self-absorbed, basing our meaning of life on how many “likes” we get on social media, we don’t want to do real work that matters, because no one will know, and no one will recognize us for all our hard work. We would rather raise hell over a few dozen people who are being mistreated somewhere else, than go out and help the children of this nation.

My call to action for ALL Americans is to drop the need to be liked by the world, and focus on the real needs of people whose lives can be changed by your direct actions. It’s time to put down protest and pick up hard work. It’s time for us all to drop our self-absorbed victimhood and begin to make ourselves great, as individuals, communities and a people.

If we want to truly be united and stop this insanity so we can get to work on real issues, I suggest we focus more on positive disruption and progress than negative destruction and complaining. 

The last time I checked, no one on this planet will get out of this life alive. We will all end up in a bag or a box or some other container of your choice, but, in the end, we all end. It is only in these moments we have as the living to build anything of value. It is NOW that we can stop complaining, stop the insanity of “them versus us,” and move into taking control over the only person we can—our individual self. 


Todd Mitchem