Normal is killing us.
I'm not the first person to say that, but I will support that idea here. However many few people these words reach, please read carefully.
"Normal" is having a two-party system where individual votes count for less than they should.
"Normal" is looking out for oneself and our immediate tribe members over our larger community.
"Normal" is being suspicious of our neighbors and their intentions.
"Normal" is an unsanctioned death penalty for petty crimes and misdemeanors.
"Normal" is locking children in cages.
"Normal" is denying the ill their exorbitantly priced medication and letting them die.
"Normal" is a mass shooting every few days.
"Normal" is ignoring the laborers upon whose back-breaking work we all rely on.
"Normal" is a rejection of common sense and common decency.
"Normal" is hatred and suffering.
We can't go back to normal because then nothing will have changed, and if there's something we all need right now, it's change.
We need to change how we define human life.
It's not just people who look and think like you.
We need to change how we define justice and fairness.
Justice is when the punishment fits the crime, fairness is getting what you need, not what you think you deserve.
We need to change what matters to us.
In this world of corporatism, capitalism, consumerist, and other C words I can't think of, we need to start valuing people over things.
We need to change how we express our opinions.
It shouldn't be baseless and vague; anyone who took civics in high school knows that a well-supported opinion is the strongest argument. It seems many of us need a refresher.
We need to change how we look at our elected officials.
They are not our kings or rulers, but our employees. Their job is to represent what is in their citizens' best interests and fight for them, not tell us what we want or need to support (what benefits them and not us).
We need to change how we teach history to our youth.
They say history is written by the victors and our nation is no exception. There is so much erasure and misinformation in our history books.
We need to change how we consume media.
Most news channels don't make it their business to spread lies, but they will go for the story that will increase ratings and generate more ad-space time (it's just business). If you think your primary source of news isn't abiding by proper journalism standards, don't buy into their sensationalization of the news and refuse to watch until journalistic integrity is restored.
But more importantly, we need to change how we look at one another.
Humans are not divided by race or species. We merely come from different cultures that have different interpretations of the same stories. Look closer and you'll realize that we have more in common and our differences are just there to spice things up and challenge how we see the world. These differences do not need to be feared or hated, but embraced and admired.
Remember that conditional love is not love at all.
If you love someone who is a daughter or son, then love all the world's daughters and sons.
If you love someone who is a mother or father, then love all the world's mothers and fathers.
If you love someone who is a man, woman, neither, or both, then love all men, women, and all those who identify as neither or both.
We don't have to like or agree with everyone we meet, but so long as we aren't hurting one another, we should be allowed to carry on with our lives in peace.
Today, tomorrow, and every day that comes after, please, I implore you - as a daughter, as a sister, and as a human being - choose unconditional love for the people who share this home we call Earth.