Hopelessness, despair, grief. Most of us that are empathetic and human were struck by the tragedy in Orlando last week. I saw the horrible news feeds right after I’d hopped on Facebook to post my previous blog, and immediately felt gutted that something so grim had occurred while I was taking time to “rediscover my inner solitude”. There’s a million problems in this world. Billions, really, carried in the heads and on the shoulders of that same number of people. Thinking of that number, billions, how to please, house, nourish the minds, souls and bodies of such a prodigious herd appears to be an impossible feat of philanthropy. And yet we must: figure out how to reconcile the dreams and disappointments of billions of people, how to accept a world that we have built to be unfair to women, gay persons, religious and fringe minorities. We have to identify the issues that hinder us from achieving that perfect world, where we all love, care and support each other—even though we shall never, realistically, see such a utopia.
Part of the problem, worldwide, is guns. No other invention in the history of mankind has given us the access or ease of killing that guns provide. And this isn’t just in reference to Orlando or the shootings that preceded and will, tragically, follow that event. Child soldiers. Warlords in Uganda. Terrorists of all sects and varieties of hate. We have given societies of murderers access to brutal weaponry, and thus, the perfect instruments with which to release their anger. The genie is out of the bottle now, though, and there’s no way to get those weapons out of the hands of the aggressors against peace. Which leads to the mentality that we must now arm ourselves, shore up our holdings, and fight fire with fire. Upon which, seditious advocates of counter-hate appear. Alas, these people are only slightly different from the evils they defame. Take Trump, for example. It’s not about being a republican or holding right-wing values. Heck, even I consider myself a fiscal conservative (although, I’ve never known a politician who truly understands that concept and who doesn’t secretly shake hands with big business and seek to inflate the market—economies must be sustainable and equitable, above all else). But Trump, well, he’s despicable, manipulative and uses incitement to steer the minds of those who have been weakened by fear. But he’s here, like guns, part of our ecosystem, and we must deal with him. So the cycle perpetuates. Monsters rise, other monsters are made to face them. So the bodies mount, faces of victims and tyrants blur, and our human tapestry stains to deepest crimson.
Again, it’s all quite sad, and it will only get sadder should the topics of hate remain our point of focus. Let us not, though, forget those who lined up to give blood in Orlando (ignoring the absurdity that gay men are still banned from doing that). Let us not, though, forget the prayers of our children, families and lovers for the victims in Florida or elsewhere. Let us not, then, shore ourselves up in our walled-fortresses of being. I believe that humans have never been so connected and still so far apart in spirit and community, and that needs to change. It is changing, I suppose, though Twitter condolences, hugs and kisses only go so far as substitute for the real thing. We need to start realizing that what we say, do, or don’t do, has consequences beyond our walled-fortresses. Greet one another. Start, or continue, practicing kindness. Pay attention to your world, to the people you pass through the day. We’re all shadows to one another. No wonder we have no empathy when we can’t even see our fellow humans. Perhaps even break down that initial barrier with which we have surrounded ourselves, and say “hi”. We never say hello anymore, not in big cities at least, and it tends to terrify people if we do. Education will play a role, too; people exposed to alien ideas are less likely to fear them. Everyone needs access to schools of thought. Education should not be withheld by class or means.
But all these acts of kindness and social change will, inevitably, only groom us for the big decisions to our society and ourselves that need to happen. Violence and hate cannot continue on this scale. Politicians need to be more than blusterers or fear-mongers.
Remember the chain. Remember that we are connected. As small as we are, a billion birds can become a bridge across which one could walk to heaven themselves. We’re not birds, and yet we have a similar mystical and allegorical ascension to take. It’s now or never. We’ve run out of time to not care. We have to learn how to love our planet, ourselves and our differences. Any other result will end in eradication, or an erosion of humanity so insidious that we will no longer remember the virtues of our kind. Black, white, Muslim, Christian, gay, straight, male, female, trans, we are all incontestably human. We are all one species, one fractured mirror that shows the same image when reassembled. That’s the first step: stop seeing each other as different, stop relying on classification and separation—even the beneficial kind. You can’t preach inclusion and acceptance from within silos. People are magic. Life is magic. That precept should trump any belief born of faith or secular community. If you respect life, there’s no room for hate, since everything is glorious. Be glorious. Be brave. And love one another.
Make the right decisions on what matter, too.
All my love,