WE THE PEOPLE ARE ORLANDO

BY DAVE BRIDGEFORTH

It has taken me four days and nights to locate the words to share what my soul is feeling. My spirit is disturbed at the insanity of the ways of our world. My heart is broken because I wear my gayness like I wear my blackness, boldly without apology; just as my straight white brother wears his. I know the pulse of the LGBT experience of color like I know the spelling of my full name. Forty-nine of our brothers and sisters were gunned down, another 53 are wounded, some gravely, and still some of us on this wayward planet are not phased by this atrocity. Way too many of us don’t care because no one died that we knew or loved, no one close enough to us for us to taste the bitter blood in our mouths, or feel the void in our lives. There are many of us who are disturbed but are lost as to what to do and send our condolences in sadness. Most of us are looking for someone to blame. We have our pitch forks pointed in fear at the Muslim community; we have fashioned our own mental bombs armed for retaliation at ISIS.

Some of us over here in this part of the world have a beef with some of them in that part of the world. The wars still continue on both sides of the roaring seas as we all lose the loved ones we are all fighting with the intention to protect. We have forgotten that, "we are more alike than unlike", as Maya Angelou would say. For we have become a deeply segregated people. Our Muslim brothers and sisters are not our enemies. Fear and hate are our enemy. It is the fear in the hearts of the terrorist, the bigot, the racist, the misogynist, the homophobe that breeds into the minds of the confused, perpetuating hate into our world.

A year before I was born onto this earth 15 people were murdered, 6 injured, during the U.S. Postal Service shooting in 1986. Another 15 killed, 24 injured during the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. At Virginia Tech in 2007, 33 people were shot down. Eight of our elders were murdered in cold blood at the Carthage Nursing Home shooting in 2009; the same year 13 people where killed and 30 injured at the Fort Hood massacre. In 2012, while watching a movie at an Aurora theatre the viewers were drilled with bullets leaving 12 dead and 58 severely wounded. Also, that same year in December, 20 of our precious children, our babies, and 6 of our educators were shot to death at the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Last year alone, between the Charleston church shooting, Umpqua Community College shooting, and the San Bernardino mass shooting, 32 people lost their lives. Now in the wake of the Pulse, Orlando massacre many have continued life as usual, the majority of the LGBT community are livid with broken hearts, some are too numb to pay attention; and then there are those petrified into seclusion. So many people are simply saddened sending prayers and condolences, as if that's the only thing we have the power to do, as if we the people aren’t the people being murdered.

Wasn't it Einstein who called insanity doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome? With our own insanity we pray to God above the stars for help, but "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." —Shakespeare (Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)). We pray to God as if he/she hasn't already given us the power. We pray to God as if he/she is the cause of our pain and suffering, as if God controls these things, as if we didn't create our laws or create wars or terror in the hearts of our own brothers and sisters. The God we seek lives within, it is the very force that empowers us all.

Do not pray! Do not send your thoughts and hearts!  We did that when our children were slaughtered by our own. Let us get our asses up with a righteous indignation and use the power we have and change the way we do things. Reform the constructs of our world, the laws of the land that allow us to buy guns to express our pain. Other than for sport, why else would we need a gun in the first place? Whether to protect ourselves in fear or to express the hate that grows from being afraid and confused for way too long. 

When you know your enemy's story you begin to realize that he isn't your enemy he is you, afraid. He is you in fear. But we don't listen to said enemy long enough to realize he is not our enemy, but he is one of us. We do not listen long enough to understand that if there is no enemy within, then the enemy outside can do us no harm. "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto", — "I am human, and nothing of that which is human is alien to me." —Terence, 170 BCE (The words of the slave of a Roman Senator that was freed out of amazement of his education, enlightenment and abilities.)

We haven't examined the "us" carefully enough to realize that at the core we not only are made up of the same stuff, but we are all reaching to live in peace.

We are on a path to suicide as a people, as the human race. How much more must we hurt our own selves? How many more of our brothers and sisters and children and mothers and fathers and husbands and wives must die before we realize we’ve got this all wrong?