The below are some slightly reformatted thoughts I posted on my personal FB (and other places) on recent events, please understand these come from moments as things unfolded and a person (i.e. me) who works through things, and has a habit of overthinking…
It is possible to both condemn an action and ask for understanding as to what led that person to that act. It’s also possible this may result in answers we find unsatisfactory or unacceptable, however if we are to grow we must accept what has firmed people’s life’s stories be they from a minority group, sexuality, identity, or a majority.
I would try to do and like to think I have held this view for any and all, not just now and just this type of act, we could all do with understanding where we all came from at times. We are too quick it seems at time to ignore or belittle the utter, to shun their story for whatever reason, but this just breeds resentment and tension… and yes what I am basically trying to get at is the whole fear-anger-hate-dark side quote.
Protecting the rights to freedom of speech, belief, congress et al for all is an important ideal, but this must of course be within limitations for a safe and functional society for all, such that your words and actions do not lead to the direct or indirect harm of others, nor does should such rights protect from the outcomes of such rights (e.g. shout fire in a crowded theatre and cause panic, but be prepared to face the consequences of your actions).
The use of violence etc diminishes your cause, in most cases, exceptions of course may occur, especially when in consideration of the greater good, but it’s still an ideal worth aspiring too. This means of course the structures that govern and protect must have clear guidelines and efforts in place to diminish the possibility of the increase in tensions and aggression between competing ideologies that may confine each other.
Extreme viewpoints, those who refuse to engage or tolerate another, sometimes for illogical, petty, just plain wrong, or even for seemingly arbitrary reasons, and especially those who promote violence, or the reduction in another’s rights over their own, those we see others as lesser. All these, and more of their ilk, irregardless of where they lie in the sociopolitical spectrum can in various ways corrupt society in an insidious manner. The removal of such extreme positions must be done carefully least we act too aggressively and only spread it further, or too weakly and takes deep root. A crude, but effective analogy could be that of cancer and it’s treatments, and vigilance in its remission. (Saw this parallel elsewhere felt it worked to describe many aspects of this issue if we consider humanity one body)
Change is possible, even from an extreme, it’s difficult and not everyone can change it seems but I do believe that even at the heart of the most vile groups we see today change is possible there, but not through violence, but kindness, grace, peace, and love. Change can and does happen, we are often just too impatient.
”When we demonise the other we don’t have to acknowledge their pain”
“Grace and love for all, no boundaries, no man made excuse, compassion must be for all”
And further, should we be careful that the following do notbecome our thinking? Or is it ok depending on who it is we are talking about? Do we have one rule for one, and one for another?
“Love one another, treat your neighbour as yourself… except them they don’t deserve it”
“Your brokenness is irrelevant, or unworthy, because their brokenness is greater.”
“I don’t want to understand those people as that means I may have to see them as people I am called to love”
“Violence is never the answer, we must seek peace, with caveats of course, it’s always ok to hurt them, they don’t matter.”
We must do our utmost to drive out intolerant thinking and actions from our community, such is obvious to me if we are to move forward at all. The ideal of living at peace with one another and our various identities is key and intolerance towards any should not be allowed, or supported, by the community and must be addressed.
Although at the same time I realise that these are fellow humans, misguided as they are, and many I believe can be changed and educated towards a more inclusive way of thinking. It’s easy to push away and react with aggression but this seems to risk further confirmation of their mis-held beliefs? Removal from community can reinforce, misguided/misplaced, feelings of oppression or exclusion which may have led them down this path in the first place?
I suppose that is also a paradox of sorts, how do we accept everyone, even those whose beliefs and actions we abhor, and rightfully condemn and punish when required. Where do we draw the line between keeping them a part of community to re-educate and reform towards a more inclusive way of thinking, and that of rightful indignation and action against their beliefs and actions.
Shalom my peeps.