#SpencerAtUF: A Story of Love (Kind Of)

(Photo Credit: Sam Schaffer of the Valencia Voice)
“Do you love everyone on earth? Do you love every stranger on the street like you love your mom?” -Richard Spencer, at the University of Florida, Oct. 2017

The short answer to this question, for me, is yes. This afternoon I watched part of the livestream of Richard Spencer’s contentious talk at the University of Florida in Gainesville — from the other side of the country, worried about my people on the ground back home.

And then I heard those words.

“Do you love every stranger on the street like you love your mom?” I immediately closed the live stream and just stared at the wall for a moment, stuck somewhere between a laugh and a sob. Of course that’s it, I thought to myself then. The facade of power that Richard Spencer and his heinous ilk cling to is steeped in the notion that everyone is as callous and cruel as them. We are not. And — as a friend just pointed out to me: the Greeks had something like five words for love, because they recognized early on the complexity and nuance of the emotion — we never have been.

Every day I see more and more people performing acts of selfless love for others. Every day I see people reaching out, speaking up, helping lift and heal and support those around them. Every day I see people using their strengths and their resources to make life better for those who have less. Every day I see people love strangers on their street as their mothers, their neighbors as themselves. One would think that a self-described “cultural Christian” such as Richard Spencer would understand this concept, but I digress.

Oddly and unexpectedly enough, this is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt truly encouraged in this never-ending fight against fascism and hatred. If what these loud few cowards are banking on is a deficit of love on our part, they have never stood a chance.

Hang in there, y’all. Take care of one another and yourselves. Be love.