Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"The Road To Hell Is Paved.......

......and it seems our hand baskets have been shipped." A friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status the other day. I hadn't been paying attention to much of the news outside my own little world and the craziness happening right here at home. So when I saw this, I was flippant. Trying to be funny, I replied that I had received my hand basket and was disappointed. I thought it would be bigger.

I put CNN on in the background and realized, very quickly, what she was talking about. Funny was the last thing I should have been.

This week, in a space of maybe 48 hours, ten American citizens are dead. Ten. Ten individuals lost their lives. Ten families are forever changed. Some were white, some were black, some were cops, some were civilians. Some had extensive criminal records, some were fine, upstanding citizens just trying to do their jobs and go about their day. Trying to keep the peace in a world that becomes less and less peaceful every day.

And why?

I could rattle off a long and detailed explanation about race relations and racial profiling and a bunch of other words that have little impact and even less real meaning. It really comes down to only one word.


Hate is a learned behavior. Hate is taught. Those with hate in their hearts learned it somewhere. It doesn't have to be formal instruction. I mean, I'm not talking about skin-heads or the Klan or White Supremacists or anything that organized with that obvious an agenda. That's easy to see and easy to say to our children, "That is just wrong."

But our children watch us, and listen to us, and imitate our actions and words and how we react and treat (or mistreat) people who are "different" from ourselves. It's much more subtle than a burning cross or pointy hats or a swastika.

It's the extra attention paid to a shopper in a store because they're Native American. It's clutching your purse a little tighter when you're passing a black person on the sidewalk. It's the uneasiness on a plane with a middle eastern looking passenger sitting across the aisle. It's the dirty looks given to someone paying for a cart full of groceries with an EBT card. It's locking the car doors and rolling up the windows when there's a homeless person with a sign asking for money.

It's slippery and insidious and sneaky and slithers it's way into our words and thoughts and actions without us really noticing much. And I am guilty of having all those thoughts at one time or another. And it takes courage and conscious effort to notice it, to recognize that it is wrong, and to change it.

The world today is far too divisive. Each side is shouting their opinion at the top of their lungs so neither side can hear the other. Black Lives Matter. Blue Lives Matter. All Lives Matter. No Syrian Refugees. Veterans Before Refugees. Build The Wall. God Hates Gays. Take The Guns Away. Buy More Guns. It's unsettling. it's confusing, it polarizes everyone, and it's just plain scary. Every time I hear about the latest horrible thing that's happened, it hurts my heart. And every time, we're left with the same question......


Sadly, that is the one question for which we will probably never get a satisfactory answer. How can we? What possible reason could a person have to pick up a gun and kill 50 people? 20 children? 5 police officers? In my mind, it doesn't matter what reason is given. There is no reason that would satisfy me. Or anyone else, I think.

There IS a division in this country. Slavery may have officially ended more than a hundred years ago, but the line between "us" and "them" is still clearly defined. And if you can't see that, or understand it, then you're on the wrong side of it.

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