June 14, 2016

Where Is Our Humanness?

I have to write something, something about the unspeakable horror of the killings in Orlando and the political points heartless, moronic people are trying to score with the deaths of 49 innocent people. 

I am not going to point fingers at specific "leaders"  or others in the public sphere, because I believe the problems that are unfolding on an almost daily basis mean the fingers need to point at all of us. We are allowing our moral compass, our humanness, our basic decency, to be debased by those who seem to lack those values. 

If someone allows hate to be spoken often enough, then soon the hate seems normal. The ability of the human mind to become numb to a grotestic level of abuse is why folks were able to emerge alive from Nazi death camps after World War II. It is why people like John McCain were able to survive 6 years of torture with his humanity intact (yes, he was a hero). It is a self defense mechanism that allows humans to survive against unspeakable ills. 

It is also one of the reasons we seem to tolerate things that are so blatantly wrong, evil, and hateful. It must be why we allow people to shrink and poison our humanity without rising up against it, rejecting it fully and completely. We start to shrug at the horrors and retreat into our own space, thus allowing it to continue. 

What someone feels about homosexual people, people of color, people of different religions, people of different cultural heritage, or people who are just, different, is a matter between that person, his conscious, and his or her creator. It has no place being used to destroy or discriminate in public. 

Make beliefs known? Yes. Work to change laws if you disagree? Absolutely. Kill, denigrate, destroy, humiliate or marginalize others. No. Regardless of how much we think of ourselves, we are are not a Supreme Being and have no right to act like one. This applies to Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, follows of Hinduism, Atheists...whatever. We are not in control.


I don't expect these few words to change anyone or anything directly. But, if what I believe is true, then I must take this small, public stand against allowing others to steal my humanness when I stay silent.

I reject the mean-spiritedness that is our current method of public discourse. I reject the people who point their finger at others while ignoring their own part in the problem. 

I reject hate.

I choose tolerance.

I choose love. 


35 comments:

  1. It is all so heartbreaking, isn't it? Live and let live isn't a consideration any longer. The hate in this country today is palpable and frightening. I'm glad you spoke against hate and I'm with you.
    b

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    1. I know this post doesn't fit the "mission" of the blog, but at some point things get to where something must be said and done. Thanks, Barb.

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  2. You say it doesn't fit the mission of the blog, yet isn't that what we strive for in our individual retirement journeys, in life - tolerance, love, acceptance, regardless of the differences. Because in many things there is no right or wrong, there is only different. And it's ok to be different. As John Lennon sang - let it be.

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    1. You are so right, Mona. Politics in this blog is not expected, but I hope the message above is not perceived that way.

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  3. There is certainly an element of desensitization involved. but up here in Canada, we don't hear about them all unless they're really bad. But there have been *18* mass shootings in the U.S. since June 1st. And people say that Mexico is dangerous. Amazing.

    http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting

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    1. Almost one third of all guns deaths in the world happen in the U.S. To believe some, the problem is we need more guns to stop all the gun violence.

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    2. Your response to Kevin reminded me of this quote--"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

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    3. "There are indeed wolves among the sheep, but the response is not to train all sheep to fight wolves. In other countries, sheepdogs are generally sufficient to protect the sheep. Until you find out how to cure wolves of their fondness for veal, take out their fangs if you can." (from a friend that lives in Japan). And love. Always love.

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    4. Laura, that is beautiful and powerful. I deeply appreciate your sharing.

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  4. The real problem is a belief that says my "beliefs are right". Until each
    test our beliefs for truth, and rejecting the not proven and unprove-able beliefs with real evidence, the issue will continue. Or we adopt a all true philosophy....

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    1. Humans are very good at hearing only the message that fits preconceived notions. Accepting a position that calls into question part of our worldview is very, very difficult. But, as you note, it is the ultimate answer.

      Thanks, Fred.

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  5. This tragedy is heartbreaking. I can only imagine the terror of those poor young people trapped and facing the end of their life by a disturbed man with an assault weapon. How can anyone justify weapons of war be available to civilians? I love the quote from Laura above.

    It has been my experience that those who have been sheltered from others who are different, tend to be the most intolerant. Sadly, my mother's religious beliefs have biased her against the LGBT community. I remember the day she discovered that the son of a close Christian friend was gay, and the son was actually a pastor himself. I could see her trying to make sense of how this fit into her religious beliefs. I think it was the start of a little understanding and a little acceptance. Still a ways to go.

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    1. Changing our worldview, of how we think things are supposed to all fit together, is tough. When that shift involves strongly held religious convictions it is even harder.

      In the Orlando case there appears to be a familiar pattern: someone professes a deep hatred for a certain lifestyle, but is actually part of that lifestyle. He just can't make sense of what he is supposed to think and what he does think. Violence is the result.

      There is no simple solution to all of this. I'm not sure there is even a complicated solution to the terror issue. But, I know that hatred or vilification has not worked for the last several hundred years.

      Assault weapons are designed to kill humans. Period. End of sentence. To sell them is to sell death. They are not used for target shooting or even hunting - unless that hunting involves people.

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  6. I just pray that the hate mongering so gleefully reported daily by our media as a part of the campaign circus every 4 years.. comes to a halt. The current rhetoric spewing forth from various politicians , is frightening. A hate crime such as this is a horrid example of prejudice and the failure of our government to protect our citizens with proper gun control. No one needs to purchase and own an assault rifle. And any politician voicing prejudice against an entire religion just reinforces the whole hatefulness behind this most current violent act. I have to have faith that my fellow humans will vote against hatred and against assault weapons for anyone who wants one.

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    1. I agree completely, Madeline. Unfortunately, whoever wins the presidential election will be intensely disliked by a large number of our fellow citizens. I don't see the hate and purposeful lies stopping on November 9th. I expect them to get worse. Pray and hunker down.

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  7. Thank you. I could not have said it better myself.

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    1. Thank you Peter and Ellen. I am encouraged by the comments left to this point. I have not had to delete any hateful ones yet.

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  8. I saw the "comfort dogs" lined up to visit the folks in Orlando on GMA this morning and I remembered how powerful they were to the folks in Newtown, CT. I know how much comfort my Maine Coon cat Dusty brings me every day. I wish I could somehow take the gentle caring that animals provide and soothe our entire hurting nation. But "pray and hunker down" seems like it will continue to apply. The "comfort" I'm getting now from the news reports is that our nation IS stepping up and making a stand of support for the innocent lives that experienced this trauma. I am the same age as you are Bob and I remember how scary it was with all the protesters against the Viet Nam war and the marchs for Women's Rights and Civil Rights and that Senator Kennedy was murdered and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was murdered and at the time I was wondering if I could in good conscience bring a child into this world. At that time, thank God, our schools were safe zones, at least here in PA. I don't remember ever hearing about movie theaters, prayer meetings, elementary schools, malls, and night clubs being unsafe to enter.

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    1. Times have changed, in so many ways, both good and bad. Racism and sexism are still present but are tougher to hide. Religious tolerance seems like a quaint idea from bygone days. Violence, in word and deed, is everywhere including schools,movie theaters, and night clubs. As a society we continue to deny that easy access to weapons is the problem. Ok, then sell all the guns you want but don't sell bullets. If guns aren't then the problem then it must be that blasted ammunition.

      The Vietnam protest era was scary, but seemed less out of control than now.

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  9. All I know is that I have not seen my Muslim neighbors since Saturday.
    I had been asking them questions about Ramadan on Friday. I believe they are afraid to be outside. When will this nightmare end? I am not against people owning guns, but why does anyone need an assault weapon?

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    1. I imagine Muslim citizens are scared. Irrational emotion is a very dangerous and unpredictable force. We have been through this as a country before: locking up Japanese-American citizens during WW II, forcing Natave Americans onto barren reservations...always afraid of the "others."

      Can't we remember we are a country founded by "others?"

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  10. Good words. It's amazing that so many of us feel the same way, but cannot influence the powerful ones to make even the least controversial progress--banning assault weapons. There is no sane purpose for these weapons.

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    1. The only people who want assault weapons are the NRA, criminals, terrorists, and politicians who get money from the NRA. Is that really the majority of Americans?

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    2. And my husband.

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  11. Well said, Bob. This is so disheartening, and yet our society seems unable to do much besides pick sides and rant. This election cycle is again ramping it up to fever pitch and, if anything, worse than ever. I wouldn't have believed it could get worse, and yet it has. Your voice of reason is much appreciated and I agree with you wholeheartedly. Laura's quote is also wonderful.

    I fear for the peaceful Muslims in our community. We have a fairly new mosque about 10 miles from my home, and as I drove past it yesterday, I thought about how awful it must be for them. It's sad really that people can't live and let live. No one wants to be painted with the broad brush that condemns everyone in their community based on the actions of the worst actors.
    Peace to all of us.
    --Hope

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    1. Being able to vent in public is probably helpful to me and folks like you, Hope. But, what do we do to change things? Clearly the answer doesn't seem to be through the political process. I guess it really is one-to-one, one human caring and connecting to another human.

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  12. Hi Nora! I'm coming here a bit late to comment on this post but please believe me I agree with you 100%. I so believe like John Lennon and Yoko said, "the war is over when we say it is." Changing the craziness in our country right now is really up to us. We can no longer sit back and hope things will right themselves and that we don't have to do anything. We must all do what we can, right where we are. I don't think it has to be big to be effective if ALL OF US get involved. Thank you for your post and let's do this! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi, Kathy. Bob here, though Nora is welcome, too!

      Speaking up must be a requirement of citizenship. To do nothing is, in effect, to support hate and evil.

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  13. Your words are so meaningful on this topic. I'm printing out this post and mailing it to my grown son as it sure sums up how I feel but could not express as well as you. It begins within each and every heart and I'm not letting hate or intolerance into my being. "And the greatest of these is love." - still says it all.

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    1. 1 Corinthians, correct? I hope your son finds these words encouraging and that they speak to him.

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