I did not know any of the 49 people murdered in the Orlando night club. I would eulogize them one by one if I did. And so I will eulogize all of them.
They were individual humans. They had careers and jobs, families and friends, lovers and partners. They had hobbies and interests; they possessed skills and talents. They went out on a Sunday night to have some drinks, to laugh, and dance, and enjoy life with others.
They were a part of our human family. And so they belonged to each of us as well. And that we too often forget. Our hates we remember. Our prejudices and aversions, our fear of differences, our loathing those not like us—that we keep in focus. But the fact we are all connected in our humanity, that we are all related as people of earth, that, we sadly forget.
The abomination in Orlando was not an ugly accident; it was not a fluke of nature or some terrible mishap. It was a planned and thought out act of horrendous violence, prejudice and rage against—not “that group,” or “those people,” or “gays”—but rather against our human family members. It was against all of us as thinking, caring people.
That well-known line in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” is appropriate here: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
We can blame this nightmare on despicable politics, on our gruesome gun culture, on irrational homophobia, and all of that no doubt had its influence to some extent. But the cold truth is, those shocking murders came from some distorted place within us as a society. They were the result of lies we believe about others. They happened because we refuse to accept people we have chosen to fear or detest. People we classify, separate, isolate, and keep at a distance, unwilling to see them as a part of each and every one of us.
Wouldn’t it be something if we could get to the place where we stopped giving each other labels—Blacks, Mexicans, LGBT, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Liberals, Conservatives—and just saw one another as interesting human beings, as people related to us in profoundly human ways?
Perhaps that is one way to end the violence we just keep heaping on each other over and over again. Stop labeling one another.
Here’s another: learning to love all people.
In Audrey Niffenegger’s amazing novel, “The Time Traveller’s Wife,” Clare Abshire, out of a life of heartache, mystery, despair, beauty and loss, says, “There is only one page left to write on. I will fill it with words of only one syllable. I love. I have loved. I will love.”
I am angry and I am deeply saddened by this vicious attack on the gay community. But if I and our society could achieve Clare’s level of maturity after these barbarous acts, then we might end our violence against one another.
© 2016 Timothy Moody