close up of smart phone screen with social media app icons

I am a social media aficionado. The internet allows me to access information immediately. As I am eternally curious, it is a dream come true. Answers to questions are always at a fingertip. And as an avid news gatherer, it provides me availability in the most wide-ranging way.

I prefer to read my news from a variety of sources and limit my watching of the news to almost never. I am disinterested in having to weed out tone, facial expression, or language in an effort to form my own opinions about events in our world. And forming my own opinion is so very important to me.

The upside of social media for me is immediacy and range of information. The downside is the need to have information distilled into quick bites that allows us to keep moving through the vast amount of material available. And the never ending escalator of information keeps us from settling in and addressing and fixing what ails us.

How do we solve the problems we face in our country and in our world when we live in quick bytes and constant roving? (I use the word problems because what we face is neither an “opportunity” nor a “challenge”).

We must sit still.

Yes we can sit in meditation and we can sit in prayer, but I think we must sit in action. We must sit still long enough to understand the problems we, collectively, face. It is a call for a real revolution where change can be made that helps people today and not some distant idealistic goal in the future. People are starving today, people are dying today – we can’t wait for next week, next month, or next year.

What can we fix today?

Violence

We are a violent country. Violence and murder have found us in our home lives, our colleges and universities, shopping centers, hospitals, churches, movie theaters, and most recently and heartbreakingly, nightclubs. The statistics are there. The issue of gun access is one of the top three facing our country right now.

Hunger

We proudly proclaim that we are the greatest nation on earth. But how do we allow our “tired, poor…homeless” to be overlooked and ignored. More than 48 million people in our great nation ( as per www.feedingamerica.org) do not have enough food. There are approximately 560,000 people who are homeless in our country and 25% of them are children. How do we continue to close our eyes to hunger and homelessness?

Hate

We have allowed hate speech to become mainstream speech. Hate speech against race, religion, and sexual preference is common in our everyday lives. We are no longer shocked by hate speech and in fact we are becoming inured to its use. We fail to hold those who speak hate accountable – we fail to hold our elected representatives accountable for their hate speech and lying – we fail to speak up or stand up against hate. Recent events have shown us clearly that hate speech becomes murder.

Why are these still problems? Why do they continue to be problems? Because we have not acted for change. (Were we all working together, what an achievement that would be).

What Can You Do?

  • Educate yourself by understanding the complexity of the problems and the complexity of the solutions.
  • Take the time to read more than a quick tweet or a Facebook post. Read differing viewpoints and form your own opinion on the problem and how you think it can be solved.
  • Take Action – Do Something – Anything. No longer be willing to accept the status quo. Be unwilling to shrug off or ignore what you may not be able to fix immediately. Any and every little bit helps.
  • Vote and Participate — Voting is a lifetime commitment. It’s not a quickie – it’s every election, every resolution or proposition. It’s pushing on even when the outcome is not to your liking. It’s not giving up. Change comes through action and through a concerted effort.

This is a call to action to change our society, our lives for the better. This is a call for an educated revolution that moves us forward as people together and asks us to work for the better good immediately.

There are ways forward to change in our society, but that will only come if each one of us takes responsibility for educating ourselves – really learning about the origins of our societal behavior and how we can be different, and then taking action.

What our nation is facing is real. Problems that can be solved – change that can be real. Solutions require our time and commitment to creating a better country, a better world. Our actions here have direct reactions elsewhere in the world.

We can no longer continue to turn our face away and be blind. On some level, our heart sees and feels and acknowledges our lack of reaction or our efforts to ignore. We hurt ourselves by not responding as much as we hurt others by our inaction. Now is the time to be the change for people in jeopardy –

Today - not in the future.


Photo: Jason Howie | CC License

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About The Author

Carlynne McDonnell's picture

Author, lecturer and Huffington Post columnist Carlynne McDonnell has been a passionate and outspoken proponent of social justice and equality for over twenty five years.  She has worked in fields considered non-traditional for women and has personally seen and been on the receiving end of inappropriate and unequal/inequitable behavior.

She has contributed to MariaShriver.com, The Grindstone, E-Harmony.com and has been interviewed on NPR, morning talk and College and University radio.

Carlynne has presented workshops nationally on women’s equality and effective communication, leadership development, mentoring, and self-value all designed to educate and empower women to seek the best for themselves and others.

She has served on Equal Pay panels, presented at the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women meeting, the National Conference of College Women Student Leaders, the National Collegiate Leadership Conference women’s organizations, multiple colleges and universities, and for the US Marine Corp.

Carlynne has a Master’s in Public Policy and has been working in the corporate, education and non-profit worlds for over 30 years.

Working on the docks in Galveston and then at an East Coast Railroad, Carlynne was the recipient of and witness to discrimination and sexual harassment, pay inequality, and disrespect for women. As a result of these experiences, she became active in the quest for equality by participating in women’s organization that sought change.

Not satisfied with the status quo or the lack of movement to achieving real equality, Carlynne created Change in Our Lifetime, Inc. to push for education and action and women’s equality.

An articulate and passionate activist, she wrote “The Every Woman’s Guide to Equality” to create a larger platform for change beyond equality’s current state, and for achieving real equality for women.

Discover more on her website: www.carlynnemcdonnell.com and connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carlynnemcd/ and Twitter: @carlynnemcd 

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