Thursday, July 2, 2015

Hashtag: The Human Team - Part One

Hello world.

I think we can all agree that there's no shortage of things to DISagree about. I won't even bother listing any of them here. We all know what those issues are. Many of us have been all over Facebook, bickering about them as of late. Let's just start over, okay?

This post, and the series that will follow, is an effort, on my part, to stop focusing on our differences and start realizing there's a lot we DO agree on! And that as members of the Human Race, we are all in this together.

Come to think of it, I don't like that term, "Human Race." Using the word "race" makes it feel like we're all competing with one another for some prize that will end up gathering dust on our mantle, and will eventually be pawned for gambling money on the show Pawn Stars. Oh, sure, we'll say on camera that we are going to use the money to take our family out for a nice buffet dinner at the Rio, but America will know the truth..,

Well, that's one way to look at it. I wonder, however, if you'll allow me to propose a new term: The Human Team. Go forth and hashtag. #TheHumanTeam

Sure, there are quite a lot of stinkers who we simply do not want on our team (#TheHumanTeam) - We're looking at you, Kim Jong Un, ISIS, and Lex Luthor... But when it comes down to it, most of us DO want the best for humanity in general. We may look at the problems we face from different angles, and through different lenses, but though our methods might differ greatly, often our goals are the same.

So, will you, good reader, join me for the duration of this blog series in putting aside our differences and focusing on loving our fellow man? There's a LOT we can do together to spread love, and the great news is that it doesn't matter what your religion or political slant may be!

Awesome, right?!

Because the list of worthy (and nonpartisan (and a-religious)) causes is quite long, with each item deserving of a full blog post (at the very least!) I will be posting on ONE topic with each entry in this series. Today I present:

Human Trafficking

[Hi. James here. I wrote this blog post. Here's a quick message from me, from AFTER I finished writing this blog post, but before I wrote what follows, within the quotations.

"Please don't click away! I know it's a depressing topic, but I have done my best to keep you entertained along the way. Sure, you may cry, but only moments later you will be rolling on the ground, laughing so hard you can barely breathe! Promise!"]

The most glaring issue facing humanity, in my opinion, and in the opinion of the makers of the first Taken film (and the makers of the lesser known, but more on the nose, Human Trafficking, starring the incomparable, President Snow), is human trafficking.

If you're reading this and thinking, "yeah! This guy's right on! I HATE traffic!" then you NEED to stop driving at some point and then, once you've pulled to a complete stop, pull out your smartphone and Google the phrase "human trafficking." If you have anything even remotely resembling a soul you will be utterly disgusted by what you find.

One of the first things you will discover is the estimated number of slaves on Earth right now.

The conservative number is 27 million.

The unthinkable truth that there are over 27 million slaves alive today is often too tragic to be believed when one first hears the number. I know from experience. It's a big BIG number. But the important thing here is to zero in on each of those numbers individually, and think about them as fellow members of the human team (#TheHumanTeam), because each of those 27 million+ slaves have a name, a family, feelings, desires, hopes, and dreams. These are humans being treated worse, in most cases, than animals. But not animals that are being treated well. Not at all.

Why, you ask, is this still a problem? How can people justify enslaving their fellow humans? Are we not enlightened enough as a species to have done away with this barbaric practice?! Those are the easy questions to answer, and I'll bet if you think for half a second you could figure out the answer.

Go ahead.

Think for half a second.

I'll wait.


Bingo! You got it! Good for you!

You are correct. The answer is MONEY.

Slave labor is more profitable than banking, big tobacco, oil, and even Hollywood (actually, Hollywood isn't anywhere near slave labor in profitability). I won't go into numbers, mainly because I don't like them. It's hard for me to get to the end of a list and know what number I'm on without looking.

Anyway, just trust me on this one. Slave Labor is bigger than it's ever been, and it's not getting any better. There are many abolitionist groups and anti-trafficking organizations working to end slavery, but if we're going to make this happen these groups need to be so numerous, and their supporters so mind-bendingly plentiful that we're able to overwhelm the forces of evil who see people as disposable commodities.

I don't want to be guilty of, well, guilting you into action, so I will purposely NOT share anecdotes from the slave trade, but I highly encourage you to do some searching. Do your research and you will discover what heinous crimes are being committed against your fellow men and women of the Human Team. It will turn your stomach, and it WILL yank those tears right out of your eyes.

The truth is unfathomably tragic, and far FAR worse than any of us can even imagine.

It's too much for one person to fix.

It's too much for a dozen, or a hundred, or a thousand.

But ten-thousand... A hundred thousand... Oh yeah. That many people actually giving a crap. That many people with integrity, with grit, determination, compassion...

Slavery would be as good as dead.

So, you've gotten in touch with that conscience of yours. What's next?

I'm glad you asked.

The first thing you should do is log into your Twitter account and follow these handles, for they are organizations worthy of your click (they're all working HARD to end slavery):

@Love146 -Love 146
@FreetheSlaves - Free the Slaves
@StoptheTraffik - Stop the Straffic
@IJM - International Justice Mission
@NFS - Not For Sale
@HIforfreedom - Hope Initiative (hyperlink to come, once I'm on a computer. But really, you guys know how this Google thing works, right?)

There are PLENTY more, which you can discover easily by looking at similar Twitter accounts right there on each of their profiles, but these are all great, reputable organizations.

Read their tweets!!!

They all have websites as well. I mean, duh. And you can find those by using the Google machine on your computer phone.

Lastly, here is a book (ProTip: you read it), for those of you who don't get all your information from the YouTube. I could link more books but I know reading is going out of style like mesh tank-tops. and frankly, this is the ONE book you should read, if you're going to read a book, which you probably won't. But I had to try, right?

Disposable People - by Kevin Bales
This guy and this book are responsible for tossing the number 27 million out into the ether.

Now, everyone and their crazy uncle, Frank, and their crazy uncle Frank's on-again-off-again girlfriend, Darla, has heard that there are over 27 million slaves alive today, but none of them would know that if it wasn't for Mr. Bales and his amazing and gut wrenching and tear-jerking book, Disposable People.

Read it, please.

And help stop slavery.

And join #TheHumanTeam!

And please don't be a stranger. Come on back for my next entry.

Oh, hey! I just found this commercial for my next entry!


Next time, on the View From Here, I will showcase yet another terrible evil which all of us on The Human Team (#TheHumanTeam) can join forces to fight, just like The Avengers did in that movie, The Avengers, and that other movie, The Avengers: Age of Ultron. And like the Guardians of the Galaxy did in that movie, The Guardians of the Galaxy. Oh! And like Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Randy Quaid did in that movie, Fourth of July.

Until then,

Peace, love, and a third thing.

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