A few weeks ago, an armed man entered a house of worship for a close-knit Jewish community. When the gunfire ended, and the police secured the scene, there were almost a dozen innocent victims who were killed simply because of their religious beliefs. Along with the deceased, police officers were also injured in the carnage. Surprisingly, the gunman did not die in this attack, but will instead be held criminally responsible for his heinous actions.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident that was precipitated by one man who was deeply disturbed in his thoughts and viewpoints. No, unfortunately, this nation has to count the victims of intolerance and hate on an almost daily basis. No matter the issue at the core of the hatred and violence, what is startlingly clear is that intolerance and discrimination are still thriving in the minds and souls of too many.
Violence isn’t directed just toward those with a different religious view, it is manifested towards anyone who holds a different set of values or viewpoints. Last month, a man sent home-made pipe bombs to several politicians and celebrities who held different political views. While no one was injured in this potentially deadly act, the intention on the part of the suspect appeared to be the demise of those whom he saw as a threat to his own political ideologies. Politics and religion are not the only topics that act as barriers to unity in the hearts of the nation’s citizens.
Sexual orientation, immigration, income disparity and even environmental concerns also bring about disagreements that can quickly escalate to vitriolic reactions. Social media is one outlet for those who have hate and intolerance to spread. While these types of posts or negative comments can cause hurt feelings and lead to friends falling out, social media posts are relatively harmless until it is taken to the next level. Social media can facilitate the forming of groups that have hatred of a particular group or cause as a unifying factor. It’s when these groups decide to plan actions that can cause harm to others or property that hatred becomes a serious problem.
Sadly, the root of many of these hatreds can be traced back to politics. In the past, people who did not agree with the other’s viewpoints channeled their energies into getting citizens to vote to effect change. Sadly, we have seemed to lost interest in patiently working to change policies while also maintaining courteous behavior towards those with whom we disagree. Instead, many people choose to make their point by harming others through either words or actions. In spite of the fact that we are now living in the year 2018, the division in this country seems to be widening. The only hope for turning things around may be by reaching out to the younger generation in an effort to teach them that love is the most powerful force for change in the hearts and minds of others.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.