In the midst of this historic win for human rights with the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, I am seeing in some friends’ feeds and in online reports, the flicker of hatred simmering beneath the #lovewins hashtag for some.
Sore winners: Anger wins, too
Sure, there are your usual troll mobs on Twitter but there are also real LGBTQ community members and allies who cannot seem to let go of the pain and the anger of oppression — even in the face of their win. This is not the majority of people in the #lovewins tribe, at least from what I’ve seen but it’s enough to get noticed. And while it’s understandable to be righteously angry at a system of oppression that has denied you your rights (and your safety) for far too long, some of these comments are far from being in alignment with a vision of tolerance and acceptance.
A mob mentality
Folks are calling for things like the making good on the promise of a misguided and ignorant pastor, to light himself on fire. (A promise that was, in fact, never actually made.)
Some are hazing and pressuring friends and colleagues for not displaying the rainbow colors on their profile pic and encouraging those who said they would leave the country if gay marriage became legal to do so. And even worse allegations of hate from the #lovewins crowd (spitting on a priest in the crowd at a gay marriage parade in NYC, making fun of a war veteran’s loss of a limb because he had a differing opinion — though not necessarily a hateful one.)
All of this, to me, seems sadly, so beside the point.Which is why I just wanna say:
You diminish the win, when you diminish another
C’mon guys — let’s just celebrate the victory and the love and the potential for more and future change. It’s common knowledge that you never change minds by belittling people or by calling someone stupid. You don’t ingratiate yourself to those whose hearts and minds you must win over in order for real change to take hold by abusing those you disagree with. If your argument is strong, if your point of view just and fair, you need not stoop so low.
Our country wasn’t ready to accept this historic change because we beat down the opposition, on the contrary, a battle like this was won because little-by-little those minds and hearts were won over by proximity, kindness, empathy and love.
Familiarity beats fear
It’s so easy to hate that which we do not understand (and even easier to hate those who hate or oppress us) but once it becomes personal, once people get to know one another, once someone in your life is affected, once a kind, funny lady dances her way into your living room via your TV on a daily basis, that which you once feared becomes familiar. Fear dissipates in the face of this knowing, this proximity, this sameness.
THAT is why we are here today experiencing this historic moment in time AND that is what will extinguish hatred and war and prejudice on the face of this planet today — proximity, understanding, the sharing of information, person-to-person, no matter the country, race, gender, identity, orientation, abilities, class, and yes, even the politics and/or religious affiliation.
When we open ourselves to one another, we connect, we expand, we find peace and common ground. We realize our humanity and that it’s all the same. We all want the same things and LOVE is the cornerstone of that — not clamoring for the death or destruction of those who oppose us but instead reaching deep for the wisdom to try to understand, to try to love one another, even in the face of adversity.
You don’t have to wrap your arms around those who would do you harm, but you also don’t have to pick up a stone to throw either. Just being, in love and light, that which you hope for the world, is enough to light the flame of understanding in someone else.