Opinion: Empathy Before Entertainment

Kristen Bosecker, 12, looks at Twitter on her phone during class.

Ellen Brutsché

Kristen Bosecker, 12, looks at Twitter on her phone during class.

Our generation loves to tweet about politics. People love to make jokes about republicans or democrats. Society loves the drama- heated debates and obnoxious tweets. But they do not love people.

This mindset resembles exactly the message Suzanne Collins expresses in The Hunger Games. In the story, the rich people of the dystopian society send 24 lower-class teenagers into an arena to fight to their deaths for the sake of entertainment. These elites do not care about people’s sons and daughters and friends dying- they care about the thrill of the game.

Although our country has, obviously, not gotten to this extreme, the principle stands true. People do not care about people, they care about the thrills. An issue only gets attention if it can result in a Twitter fight or an hour-long talk show on Fox News.

Tarrant County has the highest rate of child abuse-related deaths in the state. Texas represents the second-largest center for human trafficking in the world. One in five teenagers in the country suffer from mental illnesses.

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But CNN blows up when Donald Trump makes a spelling mistake in one of his tweets. Fox News screams socialism when a Clinton breathes. The country goes into chaos to find out Obama’s true birth country.

This country only cares about the issues that give an adrenaline rush discussed over Thanksgiving dinner. If no one creates strong opposition, then no one cares; we have no empathy for people.

We ignore stories like those of Fort Worth child abuse victims, or the Martin High School girl who was raped and never given compensation or the teenage girl in Irving who escaped a home of human trafficking. Instead, the trending hashtags on Twitter express news about the Kardashians and memes about a grape’s surgery.

Real social issues persist not because of Democrats, Republicans or Donald Trump- it comes from the country’s mindset.

Yes, the government needs to improve healthcare. Yes, immigrants need help. But, real people exist behind those issues. Real people who need real help not heated debates or pointed tweets. Other problems stand behind those issues that no politician addresses in a debate: the abused, the neglected, the disabled.  

If the upcoming generation wants to make a real change in the world they have to learn empathy. They have to find the people who need help and then address the bigger issues, with these people in mind. They have to look beyond their screens. Yelling politicians and social media posts cannot overshadow people who need help. Society cannot use politics to satisfy their crave for drama.