I grew up in a very conservative home. My father served up linear, single-minded thinking in an inside-out world. Hate was called love, suffering was called deserved punishment, and everyone not in the family was “other.” Judgment was the language. So, I recognize the psychology of control, fear and abuse. What a painful place to live.
When I see FaceBook posts in support of hate, I cringe. I want to believe my friends grew more kind and thoughtful over the years. I want to believe they are not second or third generation abusers, actively trying to control the convictions, voting rights, and freedoms of other Americans based on religion or race.
I do not weaponized my religious beliefs to judge others. I celebrate all good people. Some are Christian, others Muslim or Jewish, and, yes, some are atheist. My God (kindness) works for good through the eyes of people of all faiths, colors and creeds. In unity, the empowerment of good flourishes. In division, we all suffer.
I do not limit truth-telling. Reinventing a version of the truth is not truth, but rather a lie. I believe when we support people who are not honest, we have an obligation to look at our own motives. What do we have to gain from a manipulator’s agenda? From my perspective, screaming an opinion is how an abuser communicates, not the way a loving, logical and healthy person shares an idea.
I do not choose fear. I love change because we cannot grow without movement away from what is comfortable. If segregation is comfortable, then get to know someone new and challenge your own growth. If your healthcare comforts you and your neighbor’s lack of coverage does not bother you, ask yourself why you are fearful to see others have the security you enjoy. If walls make you feel safer, ask yourself if children caged away from their parents behind walls are a real threat to you. Fear is a choice. Fear is judgment. Fear is not democratic.
At the end of the day, I see as abusers those claiming to save our democracy from science, people of color, a misguided view of the godless and Democrats. In my country we celebrate differences. In my country we embrace our neighbors. In my country we love rather than hate. In my country we are always moving toward a more perfect union, not living in the past.