“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”
~ William Shakespeare
When faced with the news of unspeakable violence and hatred, we turn to others for answers. We seek leadership from politicians, civil servants, and government officials. We look for someone to say the right words, for someone to take the blame, or someone to provide an explanation for why three people died and countless others were injured. We wonder why it happened at all. We search for reasons.
The truth is that this is the result of what we permit as a society. Each time we hear a racial slur and nervously laugh along with everyone else. Each time we see an injustice and turn the other way. Each time we pass the downtrodden and avoid eye contact. Each time we ignore an opportunity to reach out a hand. We look for answers everywhere, but in the mirror. The reflection that shows us who we have become as a country right at the moment we start thinking “it’s not me.”
Daily, we are faced with choices. The chance to brighten someone’s day. The chance to tell someone they matter. The chance to let someone know they are enough. The chance to try and understand a different point of view. The chance to love instead of hate. Hate cannot be stopped by laws or regulations. Hate is driven out when a society stands up and says no, this is not us. However, before we stand together as a society, we must take responsibility as individuals. We can continue to believe that it does not affect us, until one day, it does.
First, they came for the Socialist, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. ~ Martin Niemöller
We need to take the current avoiding future miseries. We must be brave and stand up for what is right.