“That’s Just the Way Things Are” is an Unacceptable Response

Thinking back on conversations I’ve had, some of the most disturbing ones that stand out to me are the ones that end in, “Well, that’s just the way things are.” Is this hopelessness what our world has come to? We’ll probably end up watching our society run itself into the ground with this attitude. I’ll be discussing important matters such as politics, religion, or just human interests in general and typically the conversation boils down to one of us conceding to “That’s just the way things are.”

In actuality, it isn’t. Change can, and will, happen if we get up and do something. Take, for example, a look at the federal lawsuit Landmark vs. Federal Climate. 21 young people, across the US sued the federal government. They asserted that the federal government, in causing climate change, was violating the youngest generation’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At first, I thought this was an admirable but lofty pursuit — but they won the case! Whatever your feelings are about climate change, these children prove that the phrase, “That’s just the way things are” is entirely unacceptable.

If 21 individuals between the ages of 8 and 19 can jumpstart this kind of change, any of us can. Politics, although overwhelming and exhausting most of the time, cannot be ignored. Ignoring the big issues in favor of topics that are more entertaining is a dangerous habit. I dislike politics as much as the next person, but if real, positive, and productive change is to happen, we must start caring. If we want to end world hunger, end homelessness, end racism and sexism, etc., we can’t accept that the situation is bigger than ourselves. Change starts within ourselves.

Think of the Domino Effect. An entire sequence of movement is affected by a single domino. People are the same exact way. All it takes is one person to decide that the status quo is no longer okay and take action to fix it. Steve Jobs single-handedly changed the face of technology. Oprah single-handedly changed the face of daytime television and raised questions about race and gender awareness. Rosa Parks ignited a movement by refusing to move and Malala Yousafzai decided to be a survivor instead of a victim.

One spark. That’s all it takes! This world is in dire need of a make-over and we’re the only ones who can do it. From taking care of our environment, to the people in it, we need to stop saying, “That’s just the way things are” and do something. This is just an excuse we use when we feel overwhelmed or do not want to do something.

The truth is that it won’t be easy. The things that are worth fighting for in life are never easy and they shouldn’t be. They wouldn’t be as valuable to us if we could easily have whatever we wanted. If we’re to overcome the constant divisions and inequities between identities, we need to ask ourselves, “How are we the same?” instead of “How are we different?”

We need to think more about the person next to us instead of ourselves. So yes, I’m tired of being told that the status quo cannot be changed or that it can wait until tomorrow. The next time someone tells us this, let’s be ready.

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