Today there was tragedy.
At least 50 people killed, over 50 more injured, while they danced and celebrated at a gay nightclub in Orlando.
Today, as we grieve, there are familiar messages filling our walls on Facebook. Love conquers hate. Love is greater than hate. Love will win in the end.
Today, these messages feel shallow to me. I know that they are supposed to express support. I know that they are supposed to fill us with hope. But, today, for me, they just aren’t cutting it.
Today it feels like hate is winning.
And I know what everyone wants to say about that. I know. I get it.
But today, for this moment, it just isn’t enough. Not for me. Not right now.
Because today it feels like we might be using those cliches to allow us to sit back and wait for things to get better. I worry that we say that love will win out and that somehow excuses our silence.
But the problem is that hate is loud. It is violent and it is active and it is deafening. And our love and our support. It tends to be much more silent. Much more passive. And until we find a way to love more loudly, then hate is going to continue to gain the upper hand.
There are so many different discussions that need to be had in this country. Discussions on gun control. Discussions on mental health. Discussions on terrorism. But those discussions are not the ones that fill my mind today.
Today, for me, it is the hatred.
The hatred that was directed to members of my own community. The hatred that fueled these murders. The hatred that did not need to be inspired by some far away terrorist group because there is plenty of it running rampant in our own country. The hatred that is now being written into laws that exist in our very own states.
And yes, I do believe, with all of my heart, that love can destroy that kind of hate. But I am just not sure that we are loving loudly enough right now.
We are not loving loudly enough when we allow books with LGBT characters to be banned from our school libraries. We are not loving loudly enough when we allow laws to be written that deny equal rights to people who are LGBT. We are not loving loudly enough when we ignore hateful comments and hateful words because we do not know exactly how to confront them. We are not loving loudly enough when we refuse to change the pronouns we use because it upsets our sense of proper grammar. We are not loving loudly enough when we are not actively bringing in books to our classrooms that portray families of all kinds. We are not loving loudly enough when we do not speak up when parents tell us that they do not want their children in the classrooms of teachers who are gay. We are not loving loudly enough when we praise religious leaders even though they continue to spread the message that people who are LGBT are not acceptable and are sinful simply by being who they are.
Our love cannot be a silent love. Our support cannot be silent support. Because no matter how many laws have been passed. No matter what kind of marriage has become legal. We are still the targets of a terrible hatred.
So today, do not tell me that love will conquer hate. Instead, please show me that you will love more loudly. That you will speak up. That you will not stay silent.
Because today, I was afraid to walk to the park with my wife and daughter. Today, I was afraid to hold my wife’s hand. Today, I was so scared. For me. And for my wife. And most of all for my three-year-old daughter. And it was so tempting to stay holed up in our house. And to hide ourselves away from a world that can be so hateful. But my wife and I, we have already done that. We have had our years spent hiding. We will not do that anymore. And I will never let my daughter know the terrible feeling of thinking that the only safe thing to do is to hide who you are. I will not allow her to know what that feels like.
So we walked outside. I held my wife’s hand. My daughter pushed her doll in her stroller. And we walked together hoping that others will start to love more loudly. And then, and only then, will we really get to say that love will conquer hate.