While I slept, quite peacefully to be honest, the world was again changed by a brutal attack on innocent people. This time, it’s Belgium, where cowards from the Islamic State launched near-simultaneous attacks on a subway station and an international airport, killing at least thirty people at the time I’m writing this. These were people at an airport getting ready to leave on vacation, or at a subway station on their way to work. These were people who never would have thought to visit an atrocity such as this one on any other living being. These were people with families, friends and loved ones.
Today, I want to do two things. First, my condolences and prayers to those people who lost loved ones today. Spouses were lost as marriages ended tragically. Children lost parents. Parents lost children. People lost aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters. It is unacceptable that we live in a world where this occurs so frequently now. It is unacceptable that the best and brightest among us have found no answers. It is unacceptable that hatred and fear are allowed to rule the day. That’s the second thing I want to talk about. At this time, especially at this time, but most anytime, a society ruled by fear is less productive, less welcoming, less open. At a time when horrific and dastardly things have occurred, yet again, within the borders of the EU, I believe it to be of vital, dare I say, national, importance that we not give into fear-mongering, that we not surrender the vital goodness of human beings to racism, to prejudice, to fear. Make no mistake, we are divided into two groups; those that do good and those that do harm, but membership in those groups is not chosen based on the color of our skin. People who choose to do harm to other people, through vandalism, through robbery, through random shootings and targeted bombings, are not restricted to one race, one creed, one color of skin. So too must we allow good people, those who choose to help rather than harm, not feel pushed aside from our groups based on the color of their skin, or their chosen form of worship. Today, I feel as if our national news organizations have failed in this regard. Rampant speculation has fed the frenzy of hatred, and at some point in the next few days that will lead to an extremist attack against an innocent Muslim in this country. You see, someone has to choose to break the cycle, and in order to keep our eyes glued to them as the choice news source, each cable outlet, each internet hack, has posted more and more graphically violent photos of the disaster in Belgium, and each has used increasing hateful rhetoric in an effort to make me understand who the enemy is. The enemy, my friends, is intolerance. The enemy is hatred. The enemy is fear. The enemy is ignorance...mostly ignorance. Today, I ask you, do not blame the many for the actions of the few. Do not turn your head in hatred away from a man or woman who worships differently than you do. Do not become part of the racist agenda, dividing us into “white, Christian, America” and “everyone else”. You see, the news cycle is part of the problem. Their fear-mongering, their speculation, has turned this into something that every Presidential candidate will now be speaking about. While I don’t want to see this turn into a political meal-ticket, I do want to know how each of the candidates for the office would deal with it. How would their advisors deal with it? Why?
Well, because it matters. If a candidate wishes to contribute to the cycle of violence, he could now do that. If a candidate wishes to sit out, he could do that. Is either approach more viable than the other? Let’s look at the cycle of radicalization... They bomb an airport. In turn, the citizens of that country demand retribution, so they bomb a training camp, or they don’t, because bombs don’t always hits their targets. Someone loses a brother in that bombing who they were trying to de-radicalize and pull out, but instead, in losing their brother, they slip further into radicalization themselves. Then, they bomb an airport. Of course, if history has shown anything, appeasing sociopaths has never worked either. We can’t say “Oh, you bombed an airport, but we know you won’t do it again,” without them doing it again... There is no good answer, save, just maybe, one. You can see where this going, yes? So, today, tomorrow, every single day for the rest of your life, don’t buy into it. Don’t buy into the fear of “that” religion. Don’t buy into the fear of illegals from “that” country. Don’t let them tell you to fear refugees from “that” country. People are, by and large, good, and do not paint good people with the broad brush of bad that the 24-hour media cycle gave birth to in an effort to drive up ratings. Be open. Be loving. Be respectful. You see, I have this strange belief that if we all just treat one another better, no one will ever feel the need to radicalize.