Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando

I want to say something.  Before we get past the scarcely-observed mourning period for a tragedy like this and jump straight into the blaming and name-calling.  Before we get so entrenched in our own ideas that we stop listening to everyone around us (or maybe it's already too late).  Before we get sick of hearing about it and just want it to blow over.

What I want to say is this:  let's try listening to each other.  I know that people who have different political opinions are annoying.  I know that the media appeals to people who share its ideals and offends everyone else.  But try to find someone who has an opinion different than yours and try listening to them for just a second.  Try to find a reasonable person who thinks differently than you do.  Someone whose voice doesn't grate on your ears.  Someone who doesn't make wild accusations and insults.  Someone who is calm, and logical, and thoughtful, and careful.  Find someone who doesn't just regurgitate your own opinion back at you.

From what I've heard, a young man legally purchased two assault rifles and killed 50 people with them.  Maybe gun control is a discussion we should be having.  And we have to find the balance between keeping people safe and still respecting their constitutional rights.  And that's not a balance we'll ever find if we fight to the death over our opinion rather than looking at a compromise.

That young man was Muslim.  Not all Muslims believe it's ok to kill people who disagree with them, but we've seen over the past years that a shocking number of people are using Islam to justify murder.  There are organizations created and run by Muslims seeking to draw our attention to this huge problem.  Their families were killed by radical Muslim groups, their countries were destroyed by them, and they want the rest of the world to pay attention.  Check out The Clarion Project if you want to learn more.  It is not racist or Islamophobic to say this, so pay attention to the difference.  There's a lot of racist crap out there.  There's a lot of fear of Islam that's unfounded.  But when groups of Muslims are telling us that we should be worried about this, maybe we should listen.

I've seen a lot of comments about how love is more powerful than hate, we just need to love, more love less hate, etc.  And I agree.  But sometimes love means doing the hard things, and pointing out the problems, and fighting to find solutions.  Love doesn't mean ignoring issues and plastering over bullet wounds with flowers and hope.  Love means not letting the ones you love be less than who they should be.  Love is hard, you guys.  So let's love these victims, and their families, and the rest of our country enough to not be flippant about these issues.  Let's really talk about them.  Let's take the time to wonder whether we could be wrong, whether we're looking at it backwards, whether there's something we're missing.  Let's be loving towards the people who disagree with us and try to understand where they're coming from.  That's real love.


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