Don’t worry. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled programming – highlighting organizations and causes and activists – but I think we’ve come to a critical time in our history here in the United States. I feel as though we’re on the precipice. We’re very close to a point we cannot turn back from, and it’s time. It’s time for us all to stand together. It’s time for us all to love one another. It’s time for us to know our neighbor’s name. It’s time to close the computers and put down our mobile devices, say “well, that was fun for a while, but now there are things to do” and then walk away.
People, we live in the UNITED States. Not the I Don’t Like What You’re Doing So I’m Blaming You States. Not the I Hate Those People There States. Not the You Made Your Bed Now Sleep in it States. Not the You Have Another Skin Color I Don’t Like You States. Not the Everyone For Him or Herself States.
Things are out of control. Too many people have been systematically kept down for far too long and the apathy about that got far too strong.
There are so many names.
Say them. Say them aloud. Here are the the most recent names:
- Alton Sterling
- Philandro Castile
- Brent Thompson
- Four more Dallas officers whose names have yet not been released, but whose names will be released here.
But there are more names, so many more names. Read this list. And this list. And this list…And…the lists go on. There are too many lists.
You know, we know the tragedies by name of location. Dallas. Minneapolis. Baton Rouge. Orlando. Newton, KS, Littleton, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Columbine, Santa Barbara, Sandy Hook, Seattle Pacific, Charleston…the list goes on.
Every single time there is a national tragedy, we post on Facebook, take to Twitter, rant to friends
And then nothing happens.
And then there’s another Michael Brown, another Trayvon Martin, another Alton Sterling, another Brent Thompson, another Orlando another…another…another.
What’s the solution?
Is it a mental health problem? Is it a gun problem? Is it an anger problem? Is it a deeper problem?
Honestly, some days I feel like throwing my hands up in frustration. In walking away. In turning my back and becoming one of those proponents of Everyone for Him or Herself Staters. Wouldn’t that be so easy? Certainly, it would be easier than feeling heartbroken every time someone else dies senselessly.
Instead, I’m going to suggest something different.
I’m going to suggest something “scary.”
You do not have to look like someone else to love that person. You do not have to approve of all the things that person does to love that person. You do not have to have the same religion, sexual orientation, race, interests, hobbies, etc. to love another.
Isn’t that radical?
Isn’t that scary?
In a time where anger and fear and hatred all threaten to divide us all, to bring about the end of the nation known as the “Land of the free, home of the Brave,” some hippie-esque political and social philosopher is calling for us all to love. To come together. To UNITE. To remember “divided we fall, united we conquer.” To transcend the enormous number of problems we’re facing as Americans. To support one another. To see that it’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about US. All of us. We’re all on this raft together.
So go out. Turn off your cell phone. Learn your neighbors’ names. Learn what they do. Learn what their concerns are. Meet your local police officers. Officers, please work to meet those you serve. I know there are a lot of people. Learn about everyone’s families. Have people over for BBQs. Acknowledge the barriers that have been there. Talk about them. Look to understand each other. Turn off the talking heads on the TV. Ask people about their stories. Make a commitment. Start with your neighborhood. Move on to your city as a whole. Then your state. Then your region. Get to know others. Sure, you won’t be able to meet everyone. But you can make an effort. Make an effort to reach out. Chances are, you share the same concerns, fears, joys, and even goals. Chances are, you have more in common than you have different.
Make a commitment to understand another’s experience. Make a commitment to help that person out when you are able to and when you are unable to to find someone who can help. Make a commitment to advocate for that person.
Stop with the revenge thinking. Stop with the tit for tat thinking. It’s too easy to fall into that trap. No, let’s pull together. That doesn’t mean let’s gloss over transgressions that have happened. That doesn’t mean ignoring the history of violence. That certainly doesn’t mean trying to be “colorblind or to sweep the issues plaguing us under the carpet. Let’s talk about them. Let’s figure out how we can resolve them. Let’s get our communities back. Let’s get that national fabric back. Let’s stop letting fear, and hate, and prejudice and bigotry divide us.
Let us become the United States.
Enough is enough.
Let us UNITE.
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