Hiiii, August! 🙂 I love August (and Lughnasadh; hope everyone who celebrates had a lovely one!) because it really starts to feel like the year is on the wane, even if not weather-wise just yet. July is still so “high summer” in my head that it doesn’t feel real yet.
I’ve always been a fan of the waning half of the year. It feels comforting somehow. It may be because so many of our traditions around kinship and camaraderie take place in the latter half of the year.
I wish that was all I wanted to talk about, but there are other, very heavy matters on my mind and heart. (Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton…) We gotta talk about this stuff, you guys. Mental illness is NOT to blame. I know people who struggle very hard, every single day of their lives, with various forms of mental illness. NONE of them have ever killed someone, much less plotted and carried out attacks leaving dozens of people injured or dead.
You know what is to blame (in addition to ridiculously easy access to military-grade weapons of mass murder)? Othering — such as the racism and hatred that is fueled, fomented, and reveled in by the bigot in the WH. When you hammer home the message that certain groups of Other people are taking away or threatening someone’s safety, well-being, economic stability, jobs, etc. you are fomenting hatred and whipping an often-already-unstable mob into a frenzy that results, over and over, in some white man mass murdering people in a public setting.
Hatred spreads like wildfire in a dry season. If life is already hard and then a voice you trust says, “There’s the problem! These are the ones to blame!” it’s awfully easy to turn those negative feelings against those scapegoats. When someone looks sub-human to someone else, it’s easier to commit violence against them.
When you look your Other-y neighbors in the eye and realize they have the same humanity as you, it becomes much harder to even consider harming them in any way.
The process doesn’t start with guns. It starts with words.
Watch your words, my friends. Who are we (even subconsciously) Othering with our speech, our texts, our posts and tweets? Who can we better embrace — visibly, vocally — as equals, and how far can we spread that message? It has to be as consistent as the messages of racism, bigotry, and hate have been.
I still believe we can drown out hatred. But it takes love and vulnerability — big, scary, messy love that’s wide open and relentless, doubling down when it quakes and never quitting. Tireless, amazing, ACTIVE love is the only thing that has ever been equal to hate’s roar. Love is greater still.