We Live In A Bubble
Along with millions of Americans, my husband and I recently viewed the movie “American Sniper” which portrays the four deployments of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. As many have expressed on various social media sites, we also left the theatre in silence as we struggled to express the impact of the film and the ugly reality in which our men and women in uniform, along with their families, live their lives in service to our nation. Whether you agree or disagree with our overseas military strategy matters isn’t the issue; the brutality of war zones worldwide is something that few of us want to acknowledge.
Because I read and follow numerous news outlets and sources, I was already aware of Chris Kyle’s life as a sniper as well as his death. But it was a blogger* writing about how she almost walked out of the movie – twice – who conveyed my thoughts as if she were reading my mind.
She first explained why we need to see this movie, difficult as it may be for some to watch. Not only does the movie chronicle Chris Kyle’s expertise as a sniper who protected American troops, but the writer believes, as do I, that we “need to give a face to all those soldiers you are grateful for and realize the horrors they face.”
Beyond those points, her last reason resonated with me not only from the aspect of the savage realities of war, but also because it encompasses so much of life in America.
“You need to see this movie because you live in a bubble.”
Yes, we do, and the truth can sometimes hurt.
We live in our bubbles because life there is much easier, even with our daily trivial complaints. It’s especially an easy place to avoid political controversies, and ignore what is happening beyond our comfort zones. Politicians of both stripes love for us to remain in those bubbles because it’s the best way for them to control our lives with legislation. They’re quite happy for us to vote them into office and then disappear like good little citizens until it’s time for us to re-emerge and vote in the next election when they’ll tell us how much they have “helped” our lives.
I completely understand bubble living – and I have many days when I long for it. I almost wish I could “unlearn” all of the information I’ve acquired since becoming politically engaged because that knowledge has pierced my bubble. It has revealed the viciousness of politics and the ugliness of human behavior when power and the lust for it trump the need for good government and policies to keep us thriving as communities, states, and a nation.
Reality is hard – but it’s also good medicine. Because my bubble has been pierced by that knowledge, I think I’m far more discerning than ever before with candidates, issues, and the behind-the-scenes shenanigans that dominate the halls of government. My skepticism meter has been raised to the point where I no longer accept an elected official’s explanation of their final vote to pass or defeat legislation because I’ve learned that the procedural votes which pave the way for final passage or defeat can be far more revealing than that final one. And it has had a major impact on my vote, specifically during primary season.
Stepping outside of my bubble hasn’t been easy because by nature, I really don’t like to confront people. Putting my thoughts to ink sets me up for disagreement with many and even the occasional personal attack which has driven me into retreat mode more times than I care to admit. But living in my bubble or “retreat” mentality is only temporary, and God uses those times for reflection, respite, refocusing of what involvement is best suited for me, and reviving my courage to speak up more in defense of what I believe.
There are truly so many critical issues facing our state, nation, and world right now, and if we remain in our bubbles, we have only ourselves to blame for the decline of America and our culture. Stepping out doesn’t have to be magnificent in scale, as we all have some role that we can play. As expressed in one of the lesser-known quotes of the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke: “No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
*Jennifer K. Hale, “Hale and Hearty Words”, http://haleandheartywords.com/2015/01/20/why-i-almost-walked-out-of-american-sniper/
Marcia Chambliss is the Alabama State Coordinator of Smart Girl Politics, a 501(c) (3) non-profit dedicated to the education and training of activists and candidates, and Smart Girl Politics Action, http://sgpaction.com/, a 501(c) (4) which focuses on conservative issues. She can be reached at: Marcia@sgpaction.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics Action.