By Carey Wedler
All around the world, hate engulfs humanity. From racism to civil war and authoritarianism to modern imperialism, it seems many people are detached from an integral foundation of being alive: love. There is at least one person, however, who understands the power and necessity of love. So well, in fact, that the 94-year-old woman made it her last wish to share it with the world.
Shirley Batchelder lives at the Steeple Chase Manor retirement home in Franklin, Tennessee. Though she says she has had a “fantastic life,” until just recently, she still had one more item to cross off her bucket list: Batchelder wanted to purchase five seconds of television advertising time to share a simple message: “Love one another.” She contacted local NBC affiliate WSMV-4 to inquire about buying the time, but they obliged her free of charge and did a story on her, instead.
Batchelder practices what she preaches on a daily basis, engaging in social activities with fellow residents at Steeple Chase Manor and visiting with her children and grandchildren. She also takes visits from anyone — even strangers — telling WSMV viewers to “Just walk in and say, ‘I want to see Shirley.’ There’s only one Shirley here. That’s me.”
Her message could not come at more fitting time. One American recently asked (to great applause), “When can we get rid of [Muslims]?” — collectivizing a group of over one billion people in the hopes of forcing them out of “his” country. The media incessantly covers societal divisions like these, highlighting stories that pit Christians against gays, white Americans against African-Americans, Muslims and immigrants, and left versus right, among others. These relentless depictions allow ruthless world leaders to invoke violence against millions of innocent civilians while scores of citizens quibble amongst themselves.
There are seemingly as many strains of prejudice as there are classifications of humanity, from homophobia to anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to misogyny — to name only a few. In Saudi Arabia, a 17-year-old boy was sentenced last week to suffer death by crucifixion for criticizing his government — a chilling distortion of a symbol of love into one that emanates hatred and instills fear.
If humans the world over took Batchelder’s message a little more to heart, however, the world might be much different — and considering her story recently received considerable media attention, she may reach more people than she previously anticipated.
WSMV reported that Batchelder said it is “ultimately up to [everyone] what [they] do with her short message, but she is quite happy that her bucket list is now empty.”
This article (94-Year-Old Woman Destroys Media’s Divide and Conquer Strategy in 3 Words) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Carey Wedler and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: WSMV screen grab. If you spot a typo, email [email protected].