Open Letter: Love will always trump hate

I’m very disheartened today.

Today, 50 souls departed this Earth. 50 people with friends and families. Each one of them, only longing for a night to celebrate, to show their pride.

Hate is a powerful emotion. Hate is what drove a man to commit this heinous act. Hate has the ability to tear families apart. Hate has the ability to promote destruction. However, love is much more powerful than hate.

While 50 families grieve the loss of their loved ones, and many others grieve the loss of their friends, we must unite against hatred. Today, I’ve seen many take to their computer screens and share their feelings on these events. I have seen many call for a ban on muslims from entering this country. I have seen some blame all Republicans for their lack of action on gun control legislation. I have seen some blame all Democrats for being “soft on national security.”

I was even called an ignorant homophobe for suggesting that we take time to pray for those afflicted before becoming political. But I call on everyone to stop the finger pointing and name calling. I call on everyone to unite against hatred, and promote love instead.

Love is a powerful emotion. Love is what drives our fellow humans to shield strangers from bullets. Love is what brings strangers together in times of conflict. Love is what causes lines to go for miles while strangers wait to donate blood to those in need.

I understand many are angry and frustrated. Angry that lawmakers in Washington have not taken action on common sense gun legislation, some that, arguably, could have prevented this tragedy. Frustrated that a foreign terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for an act of terror on U.S. soil, and that we were not able to prevent it. I understand we are enraged, but anger can turn into hatred, and hate is not what we need right now.

There is only one race, the human race. There is only one love, love for your fellow man. Labels, a social construct, continue to divide us. But we must remember that we are all the same. Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, we are all Americans.

Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was the commencement speaker at my college graduation this past May. His speech was truly inspiring, and I think there is a lesson we can all learn in his words:

“I’m tired of this call in our country for this idea of tolerance — that is not the aspiration. We have a nation right now that seems to think the greatest and highest achievement is for us to be a tolerant nation, but I say no. We’re not called to be a tolerant nation. We’re called to be a nation of love. What we need to do is understand that we have to love each other, that we have to see each other have worth and dignity and value.”

So please, be you a Republican or Democrat, Gay or Straight, Hispanic, Asian, African American, Caucasian, remember we are all Americans. Love those with with whom you disagree with, even if they don’t love you back. Listen to each other. And together, we will ensure that America will one day be a place where anyone or any creed, ethnicity, or sexual identity can go into a nightclub and not fear for their life because of who they are.

“Don’t give in to cynicism. It is a toxic spiritual state. You’ve got to be one that, wherever you are, like a flower you’ve got to blossom where you’re planted. You cannot eliminate darkness. You cannot banish it by cursing darkness. The only way to get rid of darkness is light and to be the light yourself.”

Love you all, Willy

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