It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. Another of our nation’s children is dead due to severe depression resulting from being bullied because of his sexual orientation. This morning, as I sat beneath the pedestrian overpass where he died, waiting for my light to turn green, I watched as teenage boys gathered around the white wreath memorial, arms around one another, heads bowed and tears streaming down their faces. I cried for their loss. I cried for the loss of the young man. I cried for the loss and the grieving his family, friends, and loved ones are going through now. I am crying for the reason he felt driven to kill himself.
Somewhere along the way, our children have been taught that it is okay to bully another child for any reason and, specifically, if that other child is gay. Across the nation, the numbers are mounting as child after child ends their life because they see no other way. I have a dear friend whose mother once said, “It is better to kill yourself than to be gay.” Little did she know that the child to whom she was saying those things was actually gay, but hiding it. Little did she know the profound effect those words had on her child – the fear, the self-loathing, the self-questioning.
People are shocked over this tragedy. Some people that I’ve talked to have been appalled and have said, “It is so wrong that this is happening to our children.” However, some of those same people are the very people who are willing to stand up and fight against gay marriage and gay rights. They do not see the connection between the message of “gays don’t have a right to marry” and the resulting violence toward gays.
Our nation has spent so much energy on remaining divided, all while preaching we are unified. Americans like to think we are “one nation” – not even under God, anymore, but “one nation” nonetheless – because, I believe, America thinks it gives us power to be united. And being unified does result in power, if there is true unity. However, our nation is so divided on so many different topics, there is no possible way we could be united.
Violence, hatred, bigotry, and prejudice are all learned responses. Babies are born as clean slates with no preconceived notions about what is bad, what is right, what is wrong, or what is acceptable. They are taught that. Therefore, this propensity for children to abuse other children is coming from somewhere. Where?! Where is it coming from? It is coming from parents – parents who are absent, parents who are “too busy to bother,” parents who are vocally aggressive and/or behaviorally violent, parents who just don’t give a damn. Children are learning from their caregivers what is appropriate behavior. They are learning that it is okay to beat up, tease, talk down to, terrorize, and dominate someone who is different than them – be it because of race, religion, gender, financial class, abilities, or sexual orientation.
We just recently finished a very trashy presidential campaign where there was a lot of loud yelling about how Mexicans need to go back to their own country or gays should never be allowed to marry or adopt children or a woman does not have the right to abort a child or we need to kill/save people in other lands through war or the cessation thereof. There were many moral issues up for debate and many a table was pounded by candidates and media alike. The message of, “You do it my way and there is no other way than my way,” was very clear throughout the yearlong bash and, as long as the nation continues to yell that “they” do not have the “right” to do (fill in the blank) then the children are being taught that “they” do not deserve to live.
Turning our eyes away from this very real epidemic of bullying is the most damaging thing we can do to ourselves at this time in history. It fosters an energy of violence and hatred. It makes it okay for husbands to abuse wives, parents to abuse children, rapists to abuse their victims, murderers to kill. And while there are some that could say that I’m really stretching here, let me make a point…
Every single human being alive on this planet right now – and every person that has ever lived and ever will live – is ALL MADE FROM THE SAME STUFF! Each living person is, at the core level of their existence, ENERGY. Our bodies, our systems… they are all the same. We may look different on the outside. We may have different gifts, talents, abilities, and strengths. We may match with others differently. But, at the core of who we are, we are exactly the same as the person beside us, no matter the level of superficial differences.
Because we are ALL energy, we all conduct energy and we all absorb energy. Energy behaves like that. And energy just IS. It doesn’t care about bad, good, or otherwise. It simply exists and it follows the flow of the vehicle that is channelling it. Therefore, if the energy of humanity is being channelled through divisiveness and hate, THAT is what it is going to produce on every level. Energy is energy and wherever the energy goes, it responds to the environment in which it is placed.
If this nation continues to tell its people that an entire segment of the population is not entitled to marry because their “lifestyle” is “unnatural” or, worse yet, “wrong,” then the message being continually sent to the impressionable mind of our youth is: “they” are not natural and “they” are wrong. Couple that with the message that anything that is “unnatural” or “wrong” needs to be ended and there is suddenly an “okay, go!” sign that gives permission to bully. This can be applied to any issue this nation faces because… how you do one thing is how you do everything.
Something needs to be done and it needs to be done now. Continuing on with things as they are now, I foresee a very bleak future. One that actually has no humans in it. The “they” mentality does not serve us. It is not your right to tell me whom I can love, whom I can marry and with whom I can create a family – be it a man or a woman. It is not my right to decide that for you either. It is NOT okay for ANYONE to abuse another human being. EVER! And it is reprehensible that our children are being taught that it is okay.
Healthy behaviors are learned. Compassion is taught. Understanding is also taught. Choose to teach your children these things and stand up for the rights of everyone, not just the people who look like you, talk like you, act like you, believe like you, and have as much money as you.
PLEASE, people! We have got to turn this nation around. It is up to us. Apparently, “love one another” is a lot harder than first assumed, but we CAN do this. It is a choice to treat others with respect or to abuse them. What is YOUR choice?