News of hate in our world continue to abound this week. First there was the story of Cesar Sayoc, a 56 year old from Florida. He send a series of letter bombs to Democratic fund raisers, members of congress and the senate, actors, President Obama, and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Luckily, each of these bombs were intercepted before someone was injured or killed. The bombs were each filled with shards of glass which would cause severe injuries.
Mr. Sayoc was known as a vocal supporter of Donald Trump. The van that he sometimes lived in was covered in pro Trump posters and posters of Hillary and Obama in the cross hairs of a sniper's rifles. Hate was his primary motivating factory.
A second incident of hate also happened this week. Robert Bowers, a 46 year old who often posted anti semitic posts on social media sites, shot to death 11 people who were worshipping in a synagogue, including a 97 year old man. Bowers felt that Jewish militia men were taking over the US and so he felt compelled to murder Jews. Hate again acted.
Where does this hate come from? I know some people are threatened because the face of the world is changing. Those who have not been represented in politics before are finally having their voices heard. In Australia, women in the Liberal caucus complained of bullying during the recent spill. Women tired of sexism in have become more vocal saying they won't take it anymore in the "Me too" movement. A woman won the most votes in the last US election, and a black man was president for 8 years. Those who have traditionally held power are nervous. They don't want to share their power. So they become more militant about holding their base and clinging to power..
Secondly, we are increasingly becoming a society where people believe if you are not for us then you are against us. Some politicians belittle anyone who disagrees with them. Anger and hatred is fuelled at speeches. Anything that another party has done or is promising to do is wrong. If you don't agree with me 100%, if you don't totally share my beliefs, you are wrong. In bygone days, political parties would work together because they were there for the people. Now preserving power is the be all and end all.
So how do we deal with hate. One we need to call it out. An act of hate is an act of evil. And evil should not be tolerated. Everything that divides us is wrong and must be stopped. Two, rather than seeing differences, we must look for commonalities. All of us want nice communities where we can do well. All of us want places where are families can feel safe. This can only happen in communities filled with love and not hate. Third the focus of our news needs to change. We need to focus on the voices of unity rather than on those who divide. We need to make love and not hatred the focus of our news. Blessings.