This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.
By Alas Chansons El
Texas, January 19, 2011
The Entirety of the Civilized Population
Greetings to the all the noble and principled inhabitants of our good Mother Earth,
I, Chanse, am writing to beseech you, not on my behalf, but on the behalf of your conscience, of our world, of our souls, so please, hear me out.
Throughout the history of our world we have suffered such maladies as war, plague, famine, and drought, many of them, through our own faults, and we have prevailed. However, we have not succeeded by standing alone -- no, we have banded together in our darkest hours, to cure plagues, halt floods, repair damages, and to heal wounds. And yet, even as we boast of the latest ways we are helping these poor, stricken countries, we turn a blind eye to the horrendous crimes going on all around us. As a group, we are willing to acknowledge a disaster caused by Mother Nature, yet we are just as likely to blame it on her. When it comes to disasters, disasters caused by our own mistakes, disasters of infinitely greater proportions, we refuse to admit our guilt. Our most preventable problems are the very same ones that we allow the most freedom to run rampant through our lives.
Drugs, crime, murder, genocide, discrimination, inequality, violence, a failing climate, a dying world -- many of our most easily prevented evils are our most serious. How can we blame global warming on the natural processes of the earth when we are releasing millions of gallons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere? How can we blame our land and waters for being contaminated when we are the ones who have dumped so many barrels of poisons and pollutants onto them? How can we instill values of equality in the next generation if we don’t strive to learn them ourselves? Why do so many people have to suffer, starving and hopeless, because we refuse to share our wealth?
I have learned through first-hand experience, and through the accounts of others, that a disagreement cannot truly be solved through fights and arguments, for one party will always leave feeling beaten and subdued, yet they will still truly believe in their point of view and will be left with nothing but the need to retaliate and redeem themselves. The only way to permanently put a problem to rights is to talk through it, civilly debate it, and agree on a solution. Now, if I, a teenage girl, have figured this out, then how come our leaders, the greatest and smartest people of our time, have not? Why must they still sacrifice the lives of the people over petty disputes, like religion, money, land, that will not ever truly be resolved through loss of life and finances?
Why must we all be so afraid to take a stand? How many crimes, murders, and drug addictions could have been prevented, how many lives could have been saved from years of torture, of suffering, of abandonment, if someone had simply stood up, put their foot down and said “This is not right”? We are afraid to voice our opinions, the ones that really matter, because we are terrified that no one will stand with us, that we will be ridiculed. Let me tell you one thing that many people refuse to accept: If your opinion is justified, if it is sensible, if it is right, you will find yourself not standing alone -- you will find yourself surrounded by the people that agree with you, people that would otherwise not have taken a stand. So, instead of thinking about what could happen if you take a stand, think about what will happen if you take that stand: People will rise up around you, people will help you, and together, you will move mountains.
Take a stand, you never know what will happen.