Monday, February 4, 2008

The Others

It seems like there are always 'others'.
Bad people, stupid people, ignorant people;
people we don't like;
People it is ok to hate.

Perhaps their last name is Clinton,
Or perhaps their last name is Bush;
Or Paul, or Kennedy, or Obama;

Or perhaps 'the others' are a race;
Or a belief;
Or a gender;
Or a sexual orientation;
Or a nationality;
Or a class or category.

We hate them, and everyone who likes them.
We hate what they represent.
We put bumper-stickers on our cars awash in hate or contempt;

We post vitrol on websites,
We wear buttons and T-shirts that drip anger, lies, and hatred.

We tell jokes that dehumanize;
We repeat slander;
We mock;
We make angry, racist, sexist, and paranoid comments.

We find it hard to relate to anyone who likes the other.
Who sees good in them.

We can't countenance a single good thought about them.

And this is unfair.

It is unfair to the other.
It is unfair to those who love or appreciate them.
It is unfair to the world of people who don't want to pass a litmus test to even speak to us.
Or who find that in our presence their speech must be censored.
And it is unfair to us ourselves - because hate blinds us to the truth.

And the truth usually lies in a third place,
Distant from the hills and trenches of our petty wars.
And it is to the truth that we must find our way.

If we can be honest with each other,
If we can hear the voice of the other and not blot it out,
Not block it out with hate;
Not ignore it.
Not censor it.
Not turn it off.
Not walk away.
If we can be in dialog with the other;

We will be wiser people.
We will be richer people.
We may be kinder people.
We may find better leaders.
We can step aside from our anger.
We can cease our fighting.

But first we need to open the gates of our heart and truly listen.
And open our minds to truly hear.

May We Find Peace

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