Reading the news these days or going on social media, makes me depressed. I’m tired of waking up to hear about yet another mass shooting or black man being shot by the cops unprovoked. It happens so often that we have become desensitized to it. We are all up in arms for at least a month after the event and then we move on. We need to stop moving on. We need to stop just sending our thoughts and prayers. Where is the action? We can’t let this stuff slide anymore. Why is there so much hate in this country and in this world?
Hate is not born within us. We do not come out of the womb hating others for their differences from us. Hate is taught. It is taught in our homes, on television, on the radio, at school, at church or other religious places, and we absorb it and start hating. My parents didn’t teach me to hate. I grew up in Philadelphia and my best friends were Dominican, African American, Jewish, Puerto Rican, and Vietnamese. I saw no reason to hate. They were my friends. I knew that we looked different, but that didn’t matter to me. I accepted everyone. My parents taught me to judge people by their character not the color of their skin, their religion, culture, or sexual orientation. When my sister came out that she was gay, we accepted her with open arms. Love is love.
So when I hear about 49 people being killed and 53 being injured at a Gay Night Club in Florida, by a man who was full of hate, I can’t understand. I can’t understand how someone can be full of so much hate. This hate must have been taught to him. We are all human and we all bleed the same, yet people choose to hate others for their differences. I believe this hate stems from fear, misinformation, insecurities, and how we are educated or lack there of. How can we ever hope to stop the cycle of hate passed down from generation to generation?
People must want to see the world in a different way than their parents or their community. I just read about a speech made by Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Cox and he apologized to the gay community about being homophobic and said that after getting to know many gay people, he has seen the error in his ways. This gives me hope, that we can break the cycle of hate. A lot of this hate stems from people believing stereotypes about other people and fearing those who are different. Many times the people who are full of hate, have never taken the time to get to know a gay person, a black person, or a muslim person or anyone else that is different for that matter. They let their fear shield them from interacting with people different from themselves.
If everyone took the time to get to know people that were different from them, then they may not be so quick to judge people based on stereotypes they hear and see in the media or from family or friends. They would know first hand that these are good people. Of course, there are bad people in all races, religions, and sexual orientations, but they are not the majority. Not all Christians are members of the KKK or Westboro Baptist Church, many of them are loving and accepting. Not all Muslims are terrorists or part of ISIS. Most Muslims are loving people, who just want to live a normal life like the rest of us. No matter what color you are, there will be people who commit crimes and people who don’t. There will be nice people and not so nice people. No one person is the same and we can’t stereotype them as such.
We need to teach our children to love and accept everyone. We need to judge people by their character not by any other factor. Media like Fox News needs to stop promoting hatred of Muslims and claiming they are all terrorists. People need to stop listening to Trump, who pretty much hates everyone but rich white men and poor angry white men. Where is the love? We need to spread acceptance and love. If your parents or your community are full of hate, then it is time to move or time to stand up and say, “this is wrong.” We cannot live like this any more.
Our country was founded on hate, unfortunately. The pilgrims set up camp here and killed the Native Americans out of fear and hatred. They brought over slaves from Africa, out of fear and hatred. They mistreated the Chinese out of fear and hatred. They discriminated against almost every group that settled here, out of fear they would take our jobs, they were different, they looked different, they spoke different, they practiced different religions. They hated the Jews, the Irish, the Chinese, the Japanese, etc. etc. Now it is the Mexicans and the Muslims. Each time we get over it and then turn our hate to the next group coming in. When will this stop? We are meant to be a country for people seeking freedom and happiness.
People have fought hard for acceptance and we have made some progress. We gave women more rights, we ended slavery and segregation, we legalized gay marriage. We still have a long ways to go though in the battle between love and hate. We all thought we were doing a great job being progressive and accepting others, but we didn’t realize how many people still remain in this country that are holding on to the past out of fear of progress and fear of love. They hide behind their religions. They hide behind their Confederate Flags. They hide behind their Fox News. Trump has brought them out from hiding, and shown us this country’s true colors. But love can still win.
We have to believe that love can win, or we might as well just give in to Trump being President and bringing about WWIII. Love can win. We need to kill them with kindness. We need to educate them and show them that what they fear is not true. If that Mormon Governor can find the error in his ways, then hopefully many more will. We need to come together and use our power to change laws that benefit all communities. We need to push for gun control. We need to stop laws that discriminate against the trans community and their use of bathrooms. We need to be on the right side of history. No more laws restricting women from making decisions about their own bodies. No more division. We need to come together and be on the same team. We need to elect officials that represent love not hate.
The time is now. We have made strides in the past, but we need to keep pushing for progress and not let fear stand in our way. Those living in fear, will either have to join us or move to a secluded island somewhere, because we aren’t stopping until everyone is actually equal. I know I sound like an idealist, but what is wrong with wanting to live in an ideal world? It is better than accepting that our reality is mass shootings everyday, discriminatory laws, and Presidential candidates like Trump. I want to believe that there can be something better. We just have to fight for it. Love conquers hate and it will win in the end!! Let’s believe in a better world!
Published by Melissa Gittelman