It’s On Us

My heart is so heavy.

It hit me today. Driving to the grocery store early this morning, the tears began to flow. Two hours later, they haven’t really stopped.

How, how can a world filled with so much love and beauty be countered by so much anger and hatred?

We cannot continue to live like this. As fear builds and builds we will want to shut ourselves off from the world. We will want to stop taking risks. We will attempt to prevent any vulnerability from seeping into our lives. We will stop living.

But isn’t that what they want? They, being those spreading such hate?

They are trying to tear us apart but we must be stronger than that. We ARE stronger than that.

Look at the response to this weekend’s monstrosities. Lines of people waiting to give blood in 100 degree heat. Words of love and support overflowing on all social media channels. On the radio this morning, the country channel I always listen to created the hashtag #musicistherapy and various artists have been coming onto the show unasked to spread love through their music.

Despite this tragedy, yet again this country responds with immense amounts of love. There has to come a point where this love overpowers the hatred that has become ever too present.

Each day we have a choice: we can choose love, or we can choose hate. We can choose happiness, or we can choose negativity. We can choose to smile or we can choose to continue looking at the world as if it is doing all it can to work against us.

The power is ours. It’s on us. 

But when will we stop saying and start doing?

This problem is bigger than personal choice. Yes, we can preach love and acceptance and all the good vibes in the world but at the end of the day there will always be people who, for reasons we will never fully know, continue to choose to do bad. That’s a dynamic that will always be present.

Therefore we must actively work to prevent those people from doing so easily what they wish to do: destroy lives, destroy hope, destroy our country.

But how will we do that when the people who have the power to change things, the vast majority of our policy makers with whom we have trusted the task of keeping us safe, favor personal priorities and the interests of powerful lobbyists over the greater good of our nation?

We have so much work to do yet we are going nowhere. Therefore, it’s on us. We can continue to increase the pressure on lawmakers to act. We can continue to call out, to put them on the spot, and perhaps they will start to listen. We can continue to elect officials that are committed to these changes as well — because they really do exist, I know this firsthand.

What we need to realize is there is a fine line between protecting our civil liberties and increasingly putting our entire country at risk for more and more violence. Does it really make sense to allow terrorists, who have been clearly identified as ISIL sympathizers and have been flagged on the terror watch list, to purchase firearms, just so you are able to purchase guns as you please as well?

I don’t think so. The truth is, if we continue to allow these types of purchases to happen, the guns that pro-gun activists cite as “necessary for protection” will have no protective ability at all.

I call for prayers, for love, for good thoughts. These actions can do immense good, especially as those affected by this incredible tragedy try to piece themselves back together through the healing process. But I also call for action.

This needs to end. We all agree. So can’t we agree to sacrifice a small portion of our personal comforts in order to take our nation back, to take our safety back, so that we can start living again?

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