I expect I’m preaching to the choir here, but if there’s even one single person reading this who has in any way feelings that are anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti-female, anti-male, anti-black, anti-…well, pretty much anti-anything; try really really hard to understand that they’re just people, man. They’re just people mostly trying to make their way through life and be fairly happy doing it. Just…people. But you know what the fucked up thing about all this is? The guy with the gun that shot over 50 people…he was just a person, too. He was trying to make his way through life in the best way he knew how. It’s indescribably sad that he thought this was the best course of action, that this was the best way to represent himself to the world. But don’t let this make you any more anti-gay, anti-Mulsim, anti-female, anti-male, anti-anything. Let this make you stronger. Let this make you more pro-community, pro-acceptance, pro-love; positive and strong in a deeper way than anti- feelings ever can.
This would be a great place to say something like “Love Conquers Hate”, but…I don’t know that love does conquer hate. Conquer is a word that implies such...violence, such animosity, and if love is to be understood as an intangible but positive force, it seems that it would be incapable of something so nasty as Conquering. Love...I don’t know, perhaps rises above hate. Stands taller than hate. Grows deeper and wider and more compassionate and empathetic. But then again, even casting it as a love vs hate paradigm evokes Michael Bay-esque images of light and dark ferociously clashing to win the hearts of mankind. In reality, there are infinite shades of grey in between that exist in varying balances in every single human being, every single person. And again…they’re all just people, man.
So let this make you stronger. Deeper. Wider. Kinder. Prouder. Pride has become sort of a shorthand for the LGBT community, but take it to heart, really freaking take it to your heart. In pride, there is danger, there is discomfort; the taller you stand, the higher you hold your head, the more obvious a target you are. I admit, as a straight white male, I bear little of this danger, and I literally can’t possibly ever truly know the very real, very visceral fear; to presume to sympathize with that plight would be the epitome of privilege. I can do nothing but stand beside, but stand beside I will. Be proud. Hold your head high. There is very little that is within one person’s power, but there is one thing that is within every person’s power. We can live the way we choose to live. Do that. And let this inspire you to live even more. Feel even more deeply. Let this inspire you to love more and more and more. And this is the real-world, tangible manifestation of love and hate. It’s not so much an epic battle [music by John Williams] between two eternal foes, but a slow, steady, studied growth towards more positivity, more acceptance, more empathy. And to be overly blunt, yes, this means empathy towards ALL people, even those that one may consider enemies. They’re still just people.
This all sounded great in my head, and rereading it, it sounds really really really really inspirational-poster-on-the-boardroom-wall cheesy. But I mean it, man. All we can really do is be together, eat together, drink together, sing together, laugh together, live together, die together. Without getting into a whole meaning-of-life thing…I mean…that’s all we can do, right? Just live as fully as we damn well can, and with any tiny shred of luck, someone who we may have considered our eternal foe might see that and think “That doesn’t seem so bad. They’re just people, right?”