The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. (Psalm 11:5)
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear. (Psalm 64: 2-4)
Most people, if asked, would say that they would never attack a fellow human being without provocation. Ask them if they’d stab a gay person, or a poor person, or a person of a different ethnicity, and most people would answer with an emphatic negative. The idea of casual violence is appalling, and with good reason. Yet, we use our words for casual violence at times without even thinking of the consequences. People will say, “all poor people need is a good kick in the ass”, or “gay people want to destroy traditional society” or “all liberals are bleeding heart dweebs” without any thought to the violence that those words carry. In fact, often such statements will be vehemently defended as if they are not only true but necessary to be spoken.
There is nothing to be gained from words that seperate. By marking the poor, or the gay, or the other political party as some “other” whose problems you can solve, you make them your enemy. By making the poor, or the gay, or the ideologues your enemy you cut a chasm into any discourse which can only be breached through strenuous effort. Such division is not only fruitless, because by making the ‘other’ in the conversation your enemy you diminish the chance that they will listen to you with an open heart, but it is evil. There is no force on earth more destructive than discord. It is discord that ruins marriages (not gays), that impoverishes the poor (not just lack of financial means), and makes the difference between a statesman and a political hatchetman. How can heaping discordant words onto the discord of the world possibly be used to heal the problems that plague our society? Does throwing gasoline on a fire put it out?
Compassion is not just an ideal. Love is not just a word to be written with sweeping hearts and glitter on a high school girl’s binder. Peace is not just some hippie dream that common sense can do away with. Love, compassion, and peace must necessarily be the driving force behind not just actions, but words. We must speak them into being, hold them in our hearts, and summon them with the strength of all of our actions. If we want to change society for the better the first thing we need to change isn’t our president or our banks or our constitutions to reflect better “values”. We must change our words. By speaking words of compassion and understanding, we can bridge divides and do away with the petty arguments that continue to move our larger social discourse in such dizzying circles. We can stop maintaining the barriers that insulate rich from poor, straight from gay, and liberal from conservative. We can finally start to get to a place where our actions can hold equal force to our words. For if we speak words of violence, our actions inevitably follow in kind. (Be it with picket signs or guns.)
I’m writing this as the first real post of the next era of this blog, because I want all of my readers to hold in their minds the greatest goal that I have as a writer: I want you, dear reader, to feel the love that motivates my word and the sincerity of my conviction. We can change the tone of the discussions that prevail in our society. We don’t have to accept that social change is brought about by defeating the opposition.
Let’s love the world to bits and pieces, and build something better.