Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Sunday morning. I woke to the unspeakable. Again. As the day went on, the horror and the tragedy grew. I didn’t know what to say. I knew I had to say something. This is what I posted to Facebook and on Twitter:

We are all gay. We are all Muslim. Don't let hate define our nation or ourselves.
I’ve been around the Internet long enough to avoid the comments on the domestic terrorist attack that left 50 innocent people dead at the Pride nightclub in Orlando and more than 50 others wounded and, in too many cases, fighting for their lives. I know how bigoted and vile the comments from the anonymous cowards can be. Empowered by right-wing politicians and pundits, sanctified in their tiny minds by so-called Christian speakers and, overwhelmed by the fear that has been implanted in their souls, holding nothing more dear than the profits of the sacred gun lobby.

What I didn’t expect were some of the comments from a few Facebook friends. People who should have known better.

The first comment to my post started with “We are all people” and, though I have no doubt it was well intentioned, it was every bit as absurd and wrong a response to my words as “All Lives Matter” is to “Black Lives Matter.” It is the response of someone who just does not understand the problem and speaks from a position of authority and security not enjoyed by black lives, gay lives or Muslim lives. Of course, we are all people. Of course, all lives matter. You’ve missed the point.

I didn’t delete that comment. As I said, I felt the poster, though somewhat clueless, was well intentioned.

I did delete a comment from another poster because, quite honestly, it made me so furious I screamed at my screen. It read:

I’m neither gay or Muslim. I don’t mind if others are, as long as they don’t force their views on others.

I have never had a gay person try to force their views on me. I’ve never had a Muslim try to force their views on me. You know who has tried to force their views on me?

Christians who think their religious beliefs should be the law of the land and the politicians who pander to them. They spout hatred toward gays and try to enact laws discriminating against gays. They demonize gays with fantasies of transpersons going to bathrooms to molest children. And, when these so-called Christians don’t succeed in their malevolent schemes, they rend their clothes and wail that they are the ones being discriminated against.

Jesus weeps at their bigotry and dishonesty.

You know who else has tried to force their views on me?

Right-wing Politicians fostering fear to get votes and amass power. None of them sought laws against Christians when a Timothy McVeigh blew up an office building. None of them even wanted the government to investigate the right-wing, generally white supremacist militia movement that fueled McVeigh.

None of them blame all Christians for murderous acts by those who profess to Christianity.

But...Muslims? Fair game for the fear-mongers.

As the day went on, more of my Facebook friends posted. There were those who had experience such terror in their own lives and talked of how this new grief and horror triggered their memories of those fearful incidents.

One deeply religious friend requested prayers for a family who lost a son in the Orlando attack. Compassion without judgment. Which should always be the response of a true person of faith.

Others wondered if the madness would ever end. One poster wrote the battle was lost with Sandy Hook. Because if the killing of innocent children didn’t bring change, nothing would.

Then there was the post from a friend who lives in Canada, a post that made my stomach feel like I had just swallowed a basketball of despair:

This happens in your nation almost every single day.

How do you live with any peace of mind in your country?

After Sandy Hook, how do you have any more tears?
Tears I have.

Answers are more elusive because implementing them would require so many of my fellow Americans to make radical changes in their way of looking at these situations. I don’t know how to convince them to do that.

What I do know is that I won’t allow myself to be defined by fear or hate. What I also know is that I will never stop hoping that my country will not be defined by them either.

Tears I have.

But I also have hope.

© 2016 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to find the words after all these tragedies. I, for one, find myself saying the same things over and over. We ask for our lawmakers to do something, besides a 'moment of silence' which as some Democrats in Congress have pointed out have become meaningless. President Obama has said he seems to be talking about these events way too often, yet nothing changes. Sadly, certain politicians and others use this to their own advantage. I see our country is growing ugly. Sinclair Lewis wrote, 'It can't happen here," decades ago, and I'm afraid his novel may become prophecy.