Liberal. Conservative. Radical. Racist. Mysogynist. Narcissist. Bully. Cretin. Neanderthal. Elitist. Journalist. Politician. Fundamentalist. Welfare queen. Fag. Pig. Fascist. Homophobe. Retard. Oreo. Camel Jockey. Redneck. Nigger. Raghead. Uncle Tom. White trash. Trailer trash. Bible Thumper. Hymie. Feminazi. Bubba. Bimbo. Quran Thumper. Evangelical. Good Old Boy. Tree Hugger. Christ Killer.
Raise your hand if you have ever used one of these terms to identify another person. I am ashamed to admit that I have, too. The list is incomplete, of course. We have lots more labels at our disposal, ways we identify or describe others, particular those whose politics, religious practices, skin color, ethnicity, sexual identity or place of birth differs from our own. Convenient. Derogatory. Cruel.
Divisive, and that’s important. If ever there was a time for unity, for a people to draw closer together in common purpose, it is now as we struggle to find a way to conduct our lives under a national leader who divides us. He’s succeeding at this because in our distress we feel the need to assign blame. Washington is in a mess because of those #@!%& (fill in the blank). The middle class is suffering because of those #@!%& (fill in the blank). I lost my job because of those #@!%& (fill in the blank).
Last week’s marches, spreading from small towns to capital cities around the world, demonstrate simultaneously our shared distress and our determination to fight back against the forces that would divide us. Millions of us united in common cause. Now that the marches have ended, what shall we do? What can I do?
Here is a beginning for us as individuals: Instead of resorting to labels, which divide us, let us pause and make an honest effort to see the whole person behind that label. And let us love that person. Start there.
Love trumps hate. Every time.