June 12th, 2016

Today we woke up to the news that over 50 people had been massacred in Orlando , FL.

It’s odd to live through these things so regularly now. It’s odd going through your day as though it were like every other, but so devastatingly unlike. It’s odd to see so many families laughing together on a nice day like this, knowing that well over 50 families tonight won’t be.

It’s easy to be torn. It’s easy to ask: what’s come of this country? Is this the new norm?

What’s frustrating is seeing so many of my smart friends feel helpless, disheartened, and voiceless.

After the news broke, I had a brief discussion with my closest friends about today’s events. It was breaking to hear how disenchanted they were. What I was hearing from them was frustration, mostly because of the political climate. They feel silenced because leadership isn’t doing what they ought to be doing; leading.

As an example, the way in which top politicians react to these events on their social media either seems disingenuous or self-serving.

Politicians have historically and will continue to find whatever platform they can to further themselves. It’s all the more obvious now because of social media, but overall this form of propaganda is not new.

However on days like today we needed to see our candidates be strong leaders. On days like today, that’s when true leadership must shine. Unfortunately many seem to use this occasion as an occasion to prove their points, which is political propaganda at it’s worst.

I’m not an expert on how a political figures ought to use their social media. I barely know what to do with my own social media. However, they have huge reach. A scan through Twitter shows that the top political United States presidential candidates have several million followers. That’s tremendous reach. They could have used that reach to- say- tweet out phone helpline centers or the address of blood banks where donations are being accepted for those affected. Problem solve for the community.

It’s things like this that make my friends feel left out and helpless.

And yet, I do see a country struggling to incorporate more voices than it’s ever had before but in doing so more of us are connected and empathetic towards one another. It’s because of that those who hate feel threatened.

Though I wasn’t born here, this has been my home for the good and the bad. I have been desperately alone, confused, and frightened here. I have learned to be strong, to forgive, to understand, and to love here. I have met the most incredibly talented, spirited, and generous people here.

I have been able to be who I am here, whoever that may be at whatever given time. Indeed, I am learning just who it is I am and that’s a gift that I’ve only ever had here.

I was given my voice in this country.

It’s genuinely hard to know if there is something to say on these days. It’s a difficult world. Love one another.

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