This past week has been a difficult one for many, including me. First there was the shock of the shooting itself. Then came the grief and anger and fear, the frustration and desire for retribution, and the insult of erasure.
The sheer stupidity and incredible ignorance of the public discourse was almost unbearable if you even bothered to listen, which truth be told, I did not. Because I knew it would be dreadful and I refused to subject myself to it. But I am aware of the effect it had on those I love.
I do not advocate willful ignorance. Hiding one’s head in the sand is not a practical solution to the ills of our world but, I can spend five minutes a day in research to discover the facts of what happened and to get confirmation that the reactions of the ignorant and hateful factions of our society are indeed what I had suspected they would be. I refuse to spend the precious substance of my life, my time, exposing my soul to the wasteful and damaging effects of hate-speech.
I am angry that someone massacred forty-nine people. Forty-nine of my fellow humans died for no other reason than the hate of another damaged human. I am angry that those who have a voice are ignoring the fact that those who died were members of a community that has historically been targeted for violence and that has not been protected by those who are entrusted with the defense of the people.
I have loved ones who have been a part of that community for decades. I too identify as a member of that community, I identify as Queer, although I am not seen as such by almost anyone. I am angry at the erasure of identity being practiced by those with a public voice in the discourse surrounding this tragedy.
But the worst thing of all to me is the despair I witness in the hearts and souls of those whom I love. Two beloveds in particular have spoken words of despair this week, one young and straight, the other gay and middle-aged. Despair does not discriminate.
Despair is the enemy, make no mistake. It is normal and natural and completely understandable and I do not ridicule my beloveds, for their despair is a familiar shadow. But Hope is needed and Faith is necessary. We cannot affect change, and we need change, if we hold no Hope. Despair robs us of our will, our energy, our purpose and our joy.
I know the world is a dangerous place. I know that much of our society is ignorant and operating from a place of fear and hatred. I know that much of our human race is ill and damaged. But I believe that we are not beyond Healing, that we are not beyond Hope.
I have Faith that the majority of the human race is not represented by the voices shouting hatred at the top of their lungs. Indeed those voices are so loud that they all but drown out the voices of our higher angels with their “Sound and Fury”. But they are indeed idiots and their words signify nothing. I have Faith that we can continue to affect change, and healing and the positive evolution of our species and our society if we keep working, struggling, fighting, believing. I believe that we can indeed re-enchant the world so long as we do not give up Hope.
I am not delusional, although I may be stubborn. And if the world chooses to see me as simple or sentimental because I choose Hope and Faith, so be it but, I will not despair, for despair is the enemy of change and I am a champion of Hope.