Since our last election I have seen a growing trend. We have ampted up the negative labeling and grouping of people. Pick your favorite; Liberals, Conservatives, Deplorables, Extremists, Mexicans, Illegals, Terrorists, Nationalists, Us and Them. All these terms have one thing in common, they dehumanize each individual. All of these groups of people start with an individual.
History has shown us that it is easy to kill and torture large groups of people. The definition of a massacre would be any incident where one group is killed by another and the perpetrating group has total control of power. Adolph Hitler and his reign is a prime example of how hatred from a distance can have devastating results on the human condition and affects generations for decades. What if Adolph Hitler met some of his victims and was able to speak to them about their hopes and dreams. What if he discovered their hopes, dreams and human circumstances were similar to his own?
When we watch the news and see the violence in the Middle East it is easy to tell ourselves, “they” don’t value human life the way we do in the United States. However, if we were able to meet a mother and her children, we would find she loves her children and wants happiness and health just as we do. If we met a dad, we would see he wants safety to provide the best he can for his family. Children just want to be loved and live carefree for the time they are children. No matter our country or ethnic background, we cry when sad, we laugh and smile when happy and we all want to belong and feel loved.
Everyone has a story. Rather than judge from a far, maybe the answer is to get close, ask questions and find the similarities within us instead of only focusing on the differences. The next time you encounter a rude cashier or waitress, instead of assuming the worse about this person, maybe smile and ask them if they are alright? Ask them if they are having a bad day. A smile can go a long way and can turn a person’s entire mood around. Instead of labeling someone an “illegal”, maybe look past the label and find out why they came here and what is it they hope to achieve. We are all a work in progress. We all have our own journey to complete. We all share the same common human experience. It is much harder to hate when you look someone in the eye.