If I walked into a hospital and demanded to be employed as a doctor, I’d be laughed out of the building (or detained for a mental health check) because I have no qualifications, no training. If I wanted to work at a call centre, the first thing they’d ask is whether I had sales experience, or customer service experience. If this sounds obvious, it’s because it should be. Jobs should require experience and training from those who would hold these positions. This is necessary to ensure any and all jobs performed in our society are done by qualified individuals. So why is it that arguably the most important position in the entire world requires no such qualifications?
I’m talking about the office of President of the United States of America. If I wanted to run for President I could do it (if I was American, obviously). The only things realistically preventing me from doing it are that I’m poor and an atheist (and again the American thing), because I wouldn’t be able to mount a convincing campaign without money and people think atheists are evil (because nonsensical reasons). Seriously, look it up. The only concrete qualifications one requires is to be American and to be over 35 years of age. No requirements for knowledge of political science or economics, no need for diplomatic experience or frankly, skills of any kind. Does that make sense? If we have skill requirements to work at McDonalds why aren’t there any for the President?
Look, as I mentioned above, I am not American. And you might say, well it’s none of your business how we elect our President. But the problem is that what happens in the US doesn’t stay in the US. Who becomes the President of the United States ultimately affects the entire world, your power and your reach is that long. And frankly, if I can speak for the rest of world, you’re scaring the crap out of us.
I started to write something the other day. It was going to be about the outrage and the hatred which seems to be everywhere we look these days, it pours out of our television screens and breeds throughout the internet. Everyone is angry about something and even people trying to show support are slammed because they didn’t do it exactly how others think they should have.
I was going to write about the divisions people create, the us and them mentality that is so pervasive today. I planned to talk about Black Lives Matter protesting the Pride Parade in Toronto, wanting to ban police floats. And about the people who shout that we should “help our own first” (whatever that means) when it comes to immigration and Syrian refugees. I was going to talk about how dividing people makes us weaker and only strengthens the problems we want to solve; the fear, the hatred, the violence.
And then shit went to hell again in the United States.
Two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, were killed by police in suspicious circumstances, and then five police officers were killed and seven wounded by shooters in Dallas during a protest about the police shootings of Sterling and Castile.
And I start to feel that outrage, and even some of that hatred that I was going to talk about, over all these shootings for the people who choose violence over and over again. But mostly I feel sadness that this keeps happening and that it feels like it will never end because people keep giving in to fear, real and imagined, and continue to fight hate with hate and violence with violence.
But hate doesn’t beat hate, it never has and it never will. If we want this to stop we have to make it stop by choosing a different way. Bring people together instead of drive them apart. Remove the divisions, the us versus them, because only then can we come to understand one another and with understanding we remove the fear and with the fear goes the hatred. Choose love and maybe then we can achieve some peace.