Not without hesitation, but refusing to stay silent I present this essay. I have no intent in engaging a debate or insulting anyone. My intent is to highlight a common theme and send a message of love and understanding.
Recent national events have stirred up controversy and highlighted deep seeded wounds. Over the past several years, racial and religious, and political tensions seem to have caught a blaze. Unity feels as if it’s at an all time low. Less than a week ago, such tensions came to the forefront once again.
It feels surreal. As if it’s a dejavu, simultaneously uncharted and familiar. Familiar because we’ve been down this road before, uncharted because it’s a new generation at the helm. Hopefully we will not need to relearn our ancestors’ past lessons.
In scrolling through my feed, I know, I’m trying to quit, but that’s a different topic, I’ve noticed a common thread binding racism, politics, cruel victimization, and religion. The voices in opposition to those who rejected the white supremacists are the same which support the president and the Republican Party. They did not support the supremacists, they simply attacked their opposition. To be clear I am not referring to all who voted for him. I am referring those who did vote for him, are republicans, and have spoken against the left side of the debate instead of denouncing hate. I see this lack of denouncing as a careful seduction of the worst kind. Opposing those who defend equal and human rights and not rejecting the incitement of hate, in fact IS supporting those who are limiting human rights. Perhaps, they disagree with the Left’s’ methods. Perhaps, but this is not purely about methods. This is about what lurks beneath the surface.
Hiding underneath the chaos, confusion, and manipulation is a pervasive, diseased mentality. I’ve noticed that these same individuals who blame the Left, are the same folks who say anti-bullying and diversity campaigns are futile. They cry that kids and parents are too sensitive. According to them, we should teach our children to stand up for themselves using force, NOT that we should be teaching our children kindness in the first place. This is how it begins. The lesson becomes reactive instead of proactive with the victim caught in a persistent cycle of revenge. Just like that, the child has learned to rationalize and use hate. This matures into each side being unrecognizable and guilty of the same crimes. We must stop blaming the victim.
I find it deplorable. Yes, “deplorable.” I find one human manipulating, oppressing, or victimizing another for any reason as deplorable. I find supporting such acts equally deplorable. I become further disturbed when the same individuals cite religious justification. Regarding the present turmoil, the president’s supporters/Republicans/permitters of hate proclaim themselves to be Christians. Maybe they are. This is not for me to decide. However, I’ve been a Christian all of my life. I have never been taught that harming or even threatening another was ever Jesus’s central mission. Jesus said, ‘What you have done for another, you have done for me.’* Prior to Jesus’s teaching, God gave Moses Ten Commandments* to live by. Every commandment calls for respect and love without exception. Regardless of what religion you may or may not practice, these themes are relatively similar in ALL world religions. Each religion teaches a core set of values which are focused on loving and respecting oneself and one another. Nowhere does it say that if someone angers or disagrees with you, you are excused to assault, injure, or murder. The guidelines call for love, peace, and patience. In the book of 1 Corinthians, love is placed before hope, and even above faith.*. The layers of hypocrisy and illogic that surround the weekend’s events are terrifyingly bewildering.
The warped idea that the mistreatment of others is permissible, especially if it is self serving, is dangerous. It’s the common thread threatening humanity. It is driving the dehumanization of individuals and groups which leads to further polarizing extremes, racism, and cycles of hate. Even more troubling when it’s passed onto the next generation. Children are not born hating. Think of holding an infant. Innately, they receive and give love. Is there evil out there? Yes. It is wise to teach our children how to handle such hardship and how to problem solve? Yes. I argue that if we are to move past an age of hate, we must teach our children how to treat others with respect and how answer the hate with love instead of perpetuating it. Our children are watching and learning.
Not until we begin to look beneath the surface, will we begin to value one another. Together we need to put in the work to allow understanding and healing. Unless we take such an approach, this type of behavior and violence is sure to continue. We must teach our children what is means to love. We need to show kindness in disagreements, demonstrate empathy, and NOT be driven purely by own self serving desires. Will it be easy? No. We as adults need to honestly reexamine our motives and behaviors. It will not be easy. My belief is that it will bring peace. I believe in peace.
Be kind. Love another.
It really is this simple.
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
*1 Corinthians 13:13
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”