What if I said you can be outraged by the killing of a lion, the killing of blacks, and the high number of veteran suicides? These things are not exclusive, we can all work together and use our anger about what is wrong in the world to try and make things right! ~ J Eric Murphy
After the killing of Cecil the lion and the outrage that followed left many people wondering why others were not outraged by other things. The thing is many people who were upset about the slaughter of Cecil the lion were upset about other wrong things that are happening today. It just seems that when one thing takes the spotlight for a moment people forget about other things that are wrong. However, this is not true and we don’t forget about how black lives matter, how veterans are struggling with suicide, how women’s reproductive rights are under fire, and countless other things that are wrong in our world. You see, it’s okay to be angry about more than one thing at a time and you can use that anger constructively to change things.
In the aftermath of the Cecil the lion memes came various counter memes including a black man dressed as the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz with the caption: “Maybe white people will care if I get killed now.” That misses the point that many of the same people who were angry about the killing of Cecil were also angry about the killing of young black men and women on our streets. One outrage taking the spotlight momentarily does not mean that we have forgotten what is going on. What it means is that we are well aware of what is going on but we are just posting about the lion today. We will continue to use the collective force of our anger to make our voices heard and inspire changes.
Another posting about the meme relates to black lives matter and how it seems over shadowed by the Cecil the lion outrage. Most of us are aware that veterans are suffering the ravages of war and are struggling with PTSD. The suicide rates for veterans is 50% higher than civilians who come from similar backgrounds. The rate is about one per day. Yes, this is troubling and we can be angry about this too. Many of the people posting about the lion have also posted about veterans and the politicians who refused to fund veteran suicide prevention. We can fight all of these injustices together.
One thing that hasn’t been compared yet to the Cecil the lion posting is the attack on women’s rights, specifically the right to reproductive choice. While Planned Parenthood is under attack from a group who have maliciously edited a video they are not being compared to the death of a lion. Although the people who put together the video are much like the people who are defending the hunter for killing Cecil, so self righteous that they don’t realize the damage that they are doing. While less than 3% of what Planned Parenthood does is abortion services most of what they do is prevention and screenings for women who can’t afford them on their own. If you look at fetal tissue donations it really is no different than organ donation as they are used to help save lives.
All in all one outrage does not trump all others and we can fight more than one injustice at once. It is okay to be angry about the lion, about black lives being taken, the high rate of veteran suicides, women’s reproductive rights being stolen, and other things things that are going wrong. Because you may not like the attention given to some things that people are upset over doesn’t mean that people are not upset about your issue. It simply means that it is the issue taking the spotlight at the moment. All of the other issues are in the background and we know about them, they will get focused on again soon. Together we can make a difference on whatever has the focus of the moment or even if it doesn’t.