Often times I struggle when I want to reply to a friend or acquaintance that writes something, says something or posts something on social media that I adamantly disagree with. Most of the time I am told to look the other way and not to engage with people. Confrontation is just not worth the energy you waste, but the fact of the matter is that I am an opinionated person.
The energy I waste holding my opinions in is more harmful to myself than sharing my opinions. I’ve waited just about 25 hours since this friend posted his ignorant thoughts on the recent killing of Cecil the Lion and it’s time for me to come back in full force. While I respect his right to his own beliefs I strongly feel he is misguided.
This kid posted on Facebook yesterday a thought that struck me off guard. He said:
Yeah, a lion is dead that shouldn’t be, but lets get over it and talk about some problems in the world that actually matter a little more?! For instance, black men and women are systematically hunted and killed every day, white people are defending racist symbols and getting their feelings hurt (get off your southern pride and State’s rights kool-aid), a dispatcher hung up on a girl trying to save her best friend’s life, the LGBTQ community is still stoned and hanged and killed and systematically oppressed around the world, and for whatever reason Sarah Palin is still taken seriously by foolish white folks…just to name a few.
Man did I ever have to take a breather after reading that post which was then followed by a walk. I don’t disagree with him in that there are a lot of issues facing this world. A lot of issues that need us to be compassionate. A lot of issues out there that need humans to focus our attention on to them to make positive change on this planet. The issue I have with his post is that human compassion does not need to be limited to one or two issues. Human compassion can be spread out among any and all issues plaguing this humanity.
If we only worried, publicized and became angry about the murder of innocent humans but ignored issues like animal cruelty then we would find ourselves living in a very different universe. If we only focused on issues like “white people defending racist symbols”, an issue I also stand firmly against and strongly believe the confederate flag belongs in the past and not in the present, then who focuses on climate change?
We live in a world with a million issues to face, to fight, and to battle. We also live in a world full of people with many passions. That is what makes this world so great. When there is a wrong deed committed the do-gooders come out in full force to see that right is done. We come together to see that justice is served.
There are people screaming that we shouldn’t be focused on one issue over the other. Well, I hate to break it to you. Some of us think that Black Lives Matter. Some of us think that Gay Lives Matter. Some of us think that Cecil’s life Mattered. Some of us stand with each fight and fight loudly and passionately and believe each fight deserves our voices and our passions. I don’t think one needs to be heard louder than the other. I don’t think I need to divide my attention. I think I can care wholeheartedly about multiple issues as long as I am continuing to fight for what I believe in and I believe in justice for all living things.
This kid updated his post later in the day, as I suppose he received some heat from other Facebook followers of his that decided to not look away from his post like I did, saying:
UPDATE: I would like to clarify that I do not mean to belittle or justify Cecil’s death – I, too, also find it unjustifiable and wrong; however, it is important to eye the bigger picture: stopping the eradication of an entire species. While Cecil’s death is unfortunate, we are ignoring the big picture and glorifying a celebrity lion and ruining some Minnesota man’s life, when we should actually utilize different efforts to make change.
I don’t disagree that there is a bigger picture of poaching that needs to be addressed. If this kid did any research he would realize that the Change.Org petition started in response to Cecil’s death is not calling for a mob attack on Walter Palmer, the murder of this innocent lion. The petition is actually calling for systematic change.
1) We need the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to release their final rule on the listing of the African lion under the Endangered Species Act to help prevent imports of trophy animals killed in outrageous circumstances.
2) We also need USFWS to look into violations of the Lacey Act. If there have been, Mr. Palmer and any accomplices must be held fully accountable.
3) Officials in Zimbabwe already arrested two Zimbabweans. Public pressure must continue so they are held accountable as well as any business they were connected to — these bloody and violent trophy hunting businesses cannot get away with this cruelty.
Cecil’s death is one death that has rocked the international community, but to belittle the raw emotions it has created and to say it has done nothing more than ruin the life of one evil man is ignorant and uneducated.
With all this said. Help create change and sign the Change.Org petition.