How is it that we are still watching people get shot and killed in this country because of the color of their skin or their nationality? Watching the slaughter of the Ukrainians has traumatized us in its lack of respect for human life, but we are also traumatized by the violence occurring in our own country and the deadly intolerance of differences. Whatever happened to the “melting pot” description of America where out of many different origins, people tried the experiment of not only tolerating the differences but celebrating them and becoming “the city of light on a hill”?
We must start the change from intolerance to compassion somewhere. I believe it is with our own words and example with our children. When the young man who perpetrated the murders in Buffalo was being arrested, I was thinking that at some point he was a toddler, at some point he reached out his arms to be held. At what point did it all go so wrong?
Both hatred and love are “caught.” It is our greatest responsibility within each of our own spheres of influence to embrace civility over disrespect, compassion over blaming, and problem solving over retaliation. Our responsibility is to curate what we are allowing our children and grandchildren and also ourselves to be exposed to in media platforms. There is the story that a grandfather told his son that love sits on one shoulder and hate on the other. The child asked which of the two would win out. The grandfather’s reply was, “Whichever one you feed.” That is where we must begin.