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Jonathan Hopkins: Let’s put our energy into things that matter



For the Monitor
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

I have been trying really hard lately not to get distracted. There are so many things that we see or hear on a daily basis that want our attention, and they are just a distraction to real problems and issues.

I don’t care if the flag is at half-staff. I don’t care if people are burning their Nike gear. I don’t care if animals are no longer in a cage on a box of cookies. I don’t care if some really rich football players are kneeling. I don’t care what Jennifer Lawrence is wearing on the red carpet. I don’t care what some pastor said at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. These are fake issues meant to distract us from real problems that people are facing.

I care about the single mom working two jobs to feed and house her kids. I care about the immigrant who is being ripped apart from their family. I care about the worker having to go to the Friendly Kitchen because their job doesn’t pay enough. I care about the father who lost his daughter to opioids. I care about the person who is released from prison trying to make a new life. I care about the middle school kid who is being bullied because they are gay. I care about the woman who needs affordable health care. I care about the person on death row about to be executed for a crime he didn’t commit. I care about the person of color who is afraid to be pulled over by police.

We have real issues facing our country, our communities. We are so easily distracted by shiny objects and things we can’t do anything about besides be angry. I have only so much time and emotional outrage. I want to save it for things that matter to real people, not imagined controversy drummed up to get me to click on a website or watch more cable news.

I don’t know the answers to all these things. However, I am convinced that a good starting point for all of us is turning off the television and stepping away from the computer. The only way problems actually get solved is for us to come together and talk. It is about rolling up our sleeves and getting to work trying to solve the real problems we face. We can all be mad about the condition of our society, or we can all get to work trying to make it better. Lately I have been working really hard at trying to focus on making things better.

(Jonathan Hopkins lives in Concord.)