Another year ending, this time the close of a decade. The news stations have compiled their top ten lists of the moments that made the decade. The rise of gossip media and Britney shaving her head have made the list. Where are the truly monumental moments, the ones that reached past trash media and truly impacted our lives?
Somehow, Heath Ledger’s death holds more weight than President Bush declaring war on Iraq, or the fact that we’ve learned to speak a new language. Words like Fallujah and Abu Ghraib have infiltrated our everyday conversations. We all know what it means to pull a Columbine (4/99), it’s eerie remnants echo through countless campus killings including Virginia Tech, that have plagued this past decade.
We’ve learned to associate terror with the skin color and culture of a people, easily forgetting the domestic terror that happens in homes across America. Somehow, a father slipping into his daughter’s bed at night is less important than imposing our idea of freedom on a country thousands of miles away. Our soldiers laying dead in the sand, their bodies blown apart by i.e.d’s, have become the new face of patriotism.
People live in Tent City, along I-25 and other areas in Colorado Springs, driven there by adjustable rate mortgages and unemployment while our city government offers $53 million in incentives to keep the U.S. Olympic Training Center from moving it’s headquarters. The poor are left to suffer and die, yet their deaths get less air time than the increase in cosmetic surgeries over the last ten years.
Perhaps, as the decade closes, we should take a look at our media and the ignorance it perpetuates. Realize that this has been a decade of indifference. That we are no longer surprised by deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan or pictures of prisoner abuse. The poor of this country continue to suffer. Children in less affluent areas, and around the world, still get hookworm and other diseases for want of a pair of shoes while celebrities spend over $1,000 on a single pair. We aren’t shocked by this, worse yet, many seek to emulate this behavior.
Resolve, as a new decade begins, to open your eyes to these disparities. See your contribution to the media mentality that seeks to dictate importance. Recognize what is truly worth fighting for and what can be done without.