Nothing we can do

I passed a guy on the sidewalk talking to his friend. He said,

“I know it sucks…but there is nothing we can do.”

I have not idea what he was talking about, but those words haunted me from that moment until now. At first I was sad, thinking that life is truly hard. What can someone do if they are born with down syndrome or into poverty or an abusive family? What can you do if your coworker is an asshole but they are “indispensable”? It’s often tempting to say that there is nothing that can be done.

Then something inside me swelled up. It was a feeling of determination and hope. I wanted to run back to that guy and grab him by the shoulders and say, “There is something you can do! You just don’t want to do it!”

We can eliminate carbon in the atmosphere if we wanted it bad enough. We can hold elected official responsible for wrong-doing if we all used out rights as citizens. We can change our names. We can move to different parts of the world. We can invent things and create. People are fucking awesome. We can do amazing feats of engineering, art and thought. We can invent an oxford comma and then decide not to use it.

Of course there is something we can do! We just don’t want to. It’s not helplessness that holds us back. It’s the unwillingness to do the hard things it takes to create happiness. We are lazy and afraid of change. We are afraid of standing up for what’s right. We don’t want the consequences of standing apart from the crowd. People suck.

Every once in a while someone stands up and either they become a matryr, a saint, or a villain.  I wonder what would happen if we all stood up for what’s right at the same time. Would it be chaos? Is life better when we are all sheeple? We have no simulator (yet) that can answer these questions.

For now, I just keep a little part of brain alive with the words, “There is something we can do.”

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