By Briana Brady—Asst. Features Editor
This week, a Facebook post from three years ago (shortly after the 2016 election) came up in my Facebook memories. In reading back over it, I paused to think of what all has occurred since I wrote that post; namely, what I couldn’t see coming in back then, but also, how hope still remains a prominent force in my life. It reads:
“Hey Humanity, I am struggling, hurting, and confused. I am sad, disappointed, and broken. But I am not angry. I am not angry at you, humanity. Anger gets us nowhere, and boy, do we have somewhere to go. No one is born hating another person. Hate is a feeling that comes from being wronged, mistreated, or marginalized by someone else. So for parts of you, humanity, to stand with a campaign that incites bigotry, fear, and division, you must’ve been wronged before. For that, I am sorry. However, I don’t understand why your vengeance should override the opportunity to stand with love, justice, and equality. We all are living by grace after grace, so who are we to hold grudges against others? Let’s live out the love and forgiveness that has been offered to us when we most definitely didn’t deserve it ourselves. I’m trying to do what people are encouraging me to do. ‘Just move on.’ ‘Forget about it, it’s over and done.’ ‘Life goes on,’ they say. But for me, my heart can’t ‘just move on.’ I have friends in numerous marginalized communities whose voices play in my head. Friends who have overcome so many stereotypes and dealt with so much adversity throughout their lifetime—adversity on all fronts. Friends who are told by the setup of society that they’re not as valuable, worthy, intelligent, or HUMAN as the person to their right. They don’t get to ‘just move on.’ They have proving to do. They have to prove that the labels society subjects onto them are false. Somehow, in 2016, they still have to prove that they are deserving of the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as anyone else, and because I stand with them, I cannot really ever ‘move on’ either. So we have to get to work. What’s done is done. Humanity, we’re a broken people. We have to unite and live out the truths of which we speak. I hope that if you look past your hurt and self- preservation, you’ll find that deep down we are all searching for love, deserving of the same opportunities and freedoms, and desperate to be understood. I beg that you, humanity, will move past that surface-level, half-hearted, maybe-sorta-kinda love, and instead, BE love and radiate it in every step you take, word you speak, gesture you make, and human you touch. Talk to people who don’t look like you do. Be open to beliefs completely different than your own. Don’t be afraid to be wrong. We all have to be wrong to grow as humans, and growth is something we are desperate for. Soak up every ounce of wisdom around you. Let people know how much you love them by the way you treat them. Say ‘I love you’ and mean it. Mean it with every ounce of your being. Mean it with every part of your soul. Take time to have deep conversations with others about their hurt. The divisiveness and hatred will only remain amongst us if we don’t have open, honest conversations about the truths that we stand for. When having these conversations, don’t just hear. Please, please, listen. Hearing requires nothing, but listening requires a conscious decision to process and consider what is being heard. It is essential that we listen to one another and try to understand each other. We all have stories. We all want to be understood. Take the time to walk a mile in another man’s shoes. I have always and will always believe in the inherent good in you, humanity. ‘Please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it’ (to quote Hillary Clinton’s concession speech). Be good. Be hope. Be justice. Be truth. Be respect. And please, I beg, be love. I love you.”
So much of what I wrote then I would write again today, with some pleas even more fervent now. I would add the importance of morality, honesty, and being genuine to the piece as well—these are qualities that I feel have been lacking in our society lately, and I hope that they can be revived soon. Finally, I would passionately encourage civic activism and awareness. Everyone must take it upon themselves to exist as engaged, cognizant citizens who vote and push to strengthen our democracy. I hope that a year from now, I can write a different post-election post, knowing that we have chosen love over hate. But, it’s up to all of us, both as individuals and a collective, to decide where we as humanity go from here.