Eli Wiesel wrote, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” It took a while for that to seep when I first heard it. I was young, and passionate, and not in the least bit resigned, or living in fear, or surrounded by ignorance. I hadn’t even learned to keep my mouth shut very well. But, over the years, I slipped into that gray area, where I argued less about issues, about rights, about ideals. Perhaps I didn’t have the energy. Or got too busy. Somehow I became indifferent to suffering and hatred and bad stuff that always seemed to be happening far, far away. Like famine in Africa. Or civil wars in eastern European countries with names I couldn’t pronounce. Even Columbine seemed distant and isolated. But then, on a crystal clear December morning, 20 young students and several teachers were massacred in Sandy Hook Elementary School and I woke up crying. I consoled myself with the thought that the whole world would change. It didn’t.
I’m not going to write about the stats on all the violence since Sandy Hook, nor the latest, and worst massacre in Orlando. Or even the gun related deaths that have already happened since. I will pray for those poor souls, and their loved ones, and ask you do too, and then, oh yes, then I am going to beg you to start talking about this epidemic of apathy that has our whole country in a stranglehold. I mean seriously folks, let’s discuss the issues plaguing our communities. With your dog-walker, or dry cleaner, your sister and brother, certainly your Priest or Rabbi, your yoga teacher, even the guy you work with who has a weekly time at the shooting range. Talk to anyone and everyone and don’t back down until we create a real difference in terms of gun sense legislation. Let’s start with that one. Don’t wait for the President or even your Senator. Start across your back yard fence, your playground, your own aisle. We will not break this stalemate until we start the dialogue. We can’t wait for our elected officials to make this change for us. They simply can’t do it. More than half of them are in the NRA’s pockets, and the rest are too busy working hard not working with the opposing party to do anything of importance.
But you can make a difference. I can make a difference. Together we can surely make a difference. Mary Karr took Wiesel’s quote one step further when she wrote, “The opposite of love isn’t hate. It isn’t even indifference. It’s fear.” There is a grip sweeping across our planet, a current, strong and intoxicating, and this fear halts us. But, as we also saw this week, there is a powerful love. Love wins. Maybe not today. But maybe tomorrow. It’s up to us to get conversational.
And while you’re at it, find out when your city is planning their Gay Pride Parade. And go celebrate. I mean really, who doesn’t love a parade? Isn’t that what June is all about? Invite your neighbors too.