“You see, love is strong. Stronger than hate even. Love is the only thing that can kill hate, nothing else. You see, hate destroys and that’s why love is stronger. It builds . . . Love keeps one alive. It makes you understand and fight . . .”
Chants of Vote! Vote! Vote! rose to the heavens as mournful prayers Saturday evening when hundreds gathered for a candle-light vigil in the wake of another mass shooting this time in Pittsburg, PA.
The attack left 11 people dead and six others injured when a gunman opened fire during Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Temple in a small Jewish community in Pittsburg. The killer entered the synagogue with an assault rifle and three handguns intent on destruction. He allegedly shouted, “All Jews must die.”
The mournful events of last week that ended with the massacre in Pittsburg actually began with several mail bombs being sent to political officials, philanthropists who support the agenda of Democrats and media outlets, then Americans bore witness to another gunman, this time in Kentucky, who, after being prevented from entering a Black church to wreak havoc, decided to shoot and kill two Blacks who were shopping in a nearby market instead—merely because they were Black. It was a week that brought many in the nation to their knees while others acted as if it was all by chance.
In the wake of such mounting tragedies, apologist who still cling to thinly veiled attempts to cover for a president that spews hate for his own self-aggrandizement, last week had their covers pulled. Those who cling to Trump’s ideology claiming they only support his policies while excusing his behavior and debased rhetoric are as morally bankrupt as the leader they choose to support.
It is beyond time to stop enabling hatred. Those who gathered in Pittsburg Saturday evening and called to the heavens for their fellow Americans to go to the polls and vote, were exactly right. Americans who believe in the sanctity of life, who believe that every human being has the right to live with dignity, who believe that all people are created equal—you have a moral responsibility, a civic obligation to vote and change the current direction of this nation.
True citizens must refuse to continue walking in “locked step in fear and ignorance” pretending what the nation is now experiencing is some sort of benign aberration—it is not.
Whether it is women, Hispanics, Muslims, the LGBTQ community, African Americans, members of the press, political opponents or Jewish worshippers at Shabbat, everyone who is not white and/or does not rally behind the president, his party enablers and their wayward supporters are at risk. Last week’s tragedies provided abundant evidence of what the future may hold. Since Trump’s election when the Republican Party gained total control of the nation’s government, many have cautioned again and again, “Watch what they do, not what they say.”
To stress this is the most important election in recent history might sound cliché because it’s been said repeatedly during recent election cycles, but this time it is truer than it’s ever been. No one can afford to sit out, lay out, back out, pray out, ignore or refuse to participate—on November 6 every vote will count!
As a nation, we must take heed to the words of caution offered for posterity by the German Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemöller, “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was not one left to speak for me.”
As those who held the vigil in Pittsburg, PA, Saturday night implored, I encourage everyone to Vote! Vote! Vote! Of course, this is just my opinion. I’m keeping it real.