Does anyone care anymore?


Russia launches an invasion of Ukraine. In Ethiopia, disputes between the people of Tigray region and the central government erupt into full-scale warfare that involves many of the country’s ethnic groups as well as neighboring Eritrea. In the United States, the political divide has become so stark that members of one party who act or speak according to their conscience rather than toe the party line—no matter how stupid—are threatened with political retaliation and in some cases actual physical threats. Disaffected young men with unfettered access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition and schooled in outlandish conspiracy theories constantly fed to them by certain media outlets and unscrupulous politicians gun down people in churches, shopping malls, and schools.

Each of these incidents evoke outpourings of sympathy, thoughts, and prayers, and then quickly devolve into hyperpartisan wrangling, finger pointing, and rationalizations—anything but deal with the real problem—and soon they fade to the back of the paper or no longer lead on the TV news show.

In the case of some, like the crisis in Ethiopia, which has seen up to half a million people killed in the past two years, never make the TV news at all unless a foreigner gets caught up in it and has yet to make the front page of any major American newspaper. An actor slapping a comedian on camera at an awards ceremony gets more coverage than the death of so many Africans. And when was the last time you read or heard anything about the crisis of the Rohingya people in Myanmar, where attacks by the government have forced hundreds of thousands of them to flee to southern Bangladesh?

As I keep track of the crises and conflicts happening around the globe and notice the lack of concern that seems apparent in our so-called advanced, civilized society, I am beginning to wonder if people truly care about anything anymore other than their own selfish self-interest, and whether or not they realize that ignoring the plight of others diminishes us all.

Incidents of violence, bigotry, and intolerance have become so commonplace throughout the world that people hardly seem to notice. Take school shootings, for example. It took the senseless slaughter of 19  fourth graders in Uvalde, Texas, for the American people to stand up and take notice. But only for a while.

Except for a few of us die-hards who seem to never stop weeping for the killed and maimed, most of our fellow citizens are too busy planning for the Independence Day weekend or the Thanksgiving parade to take the time to put pressure on our feckless politicians to climb out of the pockets of big money interests and do what’s right for the citizens they sarcastically claim to represent.

Many of us are like my friend who in a recent election said he didn’t much like either candidate so he would stay home and not vote. Then, after the election, he was very verbally dissatisfied with the outcome. When I tried explaining to him that the outcome was largely determined by people like him who didn’t vote, allowing the activists at the extremes of both sets of political beliefs to carry the day, he became angry and turned away. “Not my fault,” he said. It’s never ‘my’ fault for most people.

People don’t seem to realize that failure to care for others can cause negative consequences for us all.

Does anyone care anymore? – NWI