Real Life is Not Social Media

If you spend most of your time on social media, particularly political social media, you might think America is a battlefield of racial strife and hatred. Images of violent protests fill our feeds and we take turns shouting ‘No YOU’RE the violent ones!’ back and forth in what seems like perpetual agony. It seems the absolute last thing we needed as a society was a massive natural disaster to escalate the madness.

But natural disasters tend to impact an area rarely experienced on social media: real life. In real life we all know there is no racial tension, bigotry, anti-LGBT discrimination, religious intolerance etc. There may be a sprinkling of examples here and there, but it is so rare we struggle to collect enough of them in a single location to justify any level of concern. After the protesters/rioters leave and the media is gone, daily life returns and the noise and heated emotions dissipate. We find ourselves acting out the feelings of outrage and resistance in a scripted play.

But despite the best efforts of media and the Left, most Americans could truly not care less about skin color, gender, sexuality, religion or any other category that divides us. We simply don’t have the luxury to focus on such nonsense, even if it were desired. Our work lives, the gym, the park, schools, churches and so on are perfectly and naturally diverse on their own. We live in equality every day and the specter of white supremacy or LGBT hate crimes is always just far enough away to only be interesting enough to retweet or comment on.

The unimaginable devastation in Texas this weekend has demonstrated just how real life is and how very little social politics play into it. Throughout the tragedy, fear and overwhelming bravery we have witnessed the absolute best of the human spirit in action. We have seen selflessness, heroics, dedication, perseverance, love and kindness on a scale we nearly forgot was possible. While the rest of the media is fixated on nonsense like Climate Change and the First Lady’s shoes, we have been truly blessed to witness humanity.

I wanted to take a moment to remember this. In a time of unending political strife and media outrage, week after week, without a moment to breathe before the next crisis, to truly see people connect, give and support each other has been revolutionary for the soul. The images of people rescuing others, pulling them in boats to safety, huddled together in shelters and working to absolute exhaustion to feed and save as many people as possible have been indescribably moving. People are good when it matters.

On my feed one particular individual stood out to me that I want to recognize as well. Jesse Kelly, writer and well-known political persona, who lives in Houston, helped organize a massive relief fund and supply rally on twitter. I first saw the true devastation of this event through his timeline and even though his life was impacted immensely, he dedicated his time and energy into helping people in real life while using his social media influence and voice to rally donations and funding.

I have always felt lost in these situations as to helping. There is something surreal about witnessing tragedy from a protected distance through a phone screen. Jesse provided me a direct way to help. He sent out a local church’s address and requested Amazon shipments. His efforts were so successful he had to ask people to stop sending so much and redirect funding to another source. I think a lot of people were given the opportunity to help because of his efforts and I am grateful.

People like Jesse, and so many others, have used their voice and reach in the best possible way to help real people in real life. This matters more than most of us realize. Sometimes we forget that our sharing of news stories or expressing sympathetic comments is appreciated, but not as impactful or helpful as we might imagine in that moment. Being able to reach through the digital barrier and help real people matters.

Everyone in Houston came together and saved one another and without a political agenda or social message managed to demonstrate to the world what true human compassion, love and partnership looks like. No amount of marches or rallies or hashtags could express this any better. The struggle of these people living real lives isn’t going to ease up any time soon and we have to make sure we do not find ourselves lost in another meaningless online controversy and forget them in a week. Their heroics must be remembered.

I will do my small part the best I can remembering Jesse, J.R. Holmsted (who lives in Texas and has organized rescue alerts and shelter notifications tirelessly) and so many others who responded to an unimaginable crisis with selfless, passionate, dedicated effort. They saved real people and they deserve real recognition.

Thank you, everyone, for resisting the pull of the divisive Left, the cold preying eyes of the media seeking soundbites, the hateful people on social media criticizing, spreading resentment, lies and paranoia and the nonsense people fall into with this particular president. Thank you for focusing on the real people saving real lives and recognizing the truth of what we all know. The real world isn’t social media.

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