I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed, and came across the following image:
I’ve seen similar images/posts shared in the past. Typically the general tone is along the lines of “We should take care of our OWN first” or something similar. Without getting into the ridiculousness of the idea that people who are born on one side of a border are somehow less worthy of food, shelter, or clean drinking water – lets examine this “meme” a little further.
First and foremost – I think it’s safe to say almost everyone would agree that this Ex-Serviceman should be housed. In fact, if the entire picture said “Share if you think veterans should be housed” – I might actually share it! (Fun fact: I wouldn’t, because I don’t share memes…but you get the point). What really annoys me about this meme, is that it isn’t meant to spread awareness of homelessness, or the lack of services available to veterans — the point of this particular meme, is to make refugees the enemy. There is literally ZERO need for this, other to spread unnecessary hate. If you truly care about housing veterans – why not share a meme supporting better social programs for veterans returning from a tour of duty? Why not share memes about not sending veterans into unnecessary wars? This soldier is not living in his car because of refugees!
This meme was created to deflect from the actual problems (useless wars, constant military intervention in other countries, lack of PTSD support, etc) and instead distract you with a non existent problem/threat.
Here is the thing, sadly in today’s world, people see something online that says “like and share me” and almost instinctively – without using a single ounce of critical thinking – go ahead and share it. I genuinely believe the majority of people spreading these memes don’t actually realise what they are sharing, why they are sharing it, or how it impacts other people. Don’t get me wrong, there are idiots out there – A LOT OF EM – that share things to intentionally spread hate, but fuck those people – this post isn’t about them or for them.
This post is for the everyday person who most likely sees 5-10 of these memes on their feeds each day. I just want you to take a moment and think – even for 10 seconds, before clicking “Share”. Perhaps you will still share it, that’s fine and completely up to you – but at least spend the 10 seconds to know what you are sharing, and WHY people want you to share it.
This has been a Public Service Announcement.