Do not let them win.

Who are they?  They are the people who are against us.  They are the people who are working all the time to do whatever they can to change how we live, and more – to have us live in fear.

This is not just about the horrid people who would set off bombs in public and murder innocents.  This is about the world in which we live, and our increasing willingness to sacrifice how we live in the name of “

I am about to make what many will consider an ugly statement.  However, none has proven me wrong yet.  After the events of 9/11/01, the terrorists scored a win.

Since that terrible day, we have fundamentally changed the way we live.  We have allowed the violation of civil liberties, and we have turned a blind eye to profiling and racism all in the name of so-called national security.  We have fears that were not so raw before this event.  And now these new awful tragedies, terrorism or otherwise, will increase the nation of fear we occupy.

Fear is how the people in power, no matter how ignorant, foolish, obviously corrupt and unfit, or corporately owned, remain in power.  The government currently running this nation is what the founding fathers warned us to avoid.  The banks and corporations have control, and the puppet government only acts in the best interests of their future campaign financing.

Security is important.  But security that violates our fundamental rights is not security.  And every time something bad happens and our reaction is automatically to clamp down on group ‘x’ or ban object ‘y’, this slaps a bandaid on a far larger, less easy to repair problem.

I believe there is a solution, however.  And that solution is to not let fear win.  We cannot let fear of the next mass shooting or fear of the next act or terror dominate our actions.  Feed the fear, and more things to be afraid of will surely manifest.  What we need to do is acknowledge the bad thing, mourn those who are lost, and then shift our focus on education, on love, on abundance and peace and harmony.

Hippy new-age bullshit propaganda, you might think.  I do not believe that is so, and let me explain why I think this IS the key.  In a world where we are divided by class, divided by gender, divided by race, education, wealth, religion, and all kinds of other artificial separations – someone is allowed to become so desperate, they only way they can see to effect change is to violently lash out.  Somewhere in their psyche, they believe that if they shoot up a movie theatre, or blow themselves up in a public market, or blow up a night-club, or climb a tower and randomly pick off passers-by, they will change the world.  They get it in their head that they will make those they see in opposition to them react to them.

I am not making a political statement here.  I am trying to get across the idea that demonizing and blaming and subsequently fearing those who are different or the unknown or what-have-you changes nothing.  If these terrible acts of violence and terror fundamentally change who we are and how we live, then that proves this awful means achieves the ends.

But it doesn’t.  Not really.  Slapping that bandage onto the sucking chest wound may slow the bleeding, but it certainly won’t heal the wound.  Bans and military strikes and eroding separation of church and state and violating civil liberties to spy on our own feeds the fear and paranoia, but does not repair the damage.  We have to look past the short-term guttural reaction, and start acting in our better interests.

The gaps between us need to be bridged.  Education needs to be about learning, not about meaningless testing.  We need to help the mentally ill, not stigmatize, traumatize and even imprison them.  We need to stand for the rights of all, not against the rights of those different from us in whatever way, real or perceived.  We need to reach out to one another and work together, not erect fences and further the divides between us.

Which is more constructive, building or destroying?  Which do you think goes further to heal our wounded nation, our bleeding world?  How can each of us do anything in the face of overwhelming, seemingly out-of-reach issues?

Do not let them win.  Do not let fear change how you go about your day.  Do not focus on the horrific images of terrible acts of violence, do not feed the fires of rhetoric and hate and anger.  Mourn as you need to, grieve as befits you, but don’t let these awful things change your life on a fundamental level.  Do your part to build trust and love and peace and all the rest of that hippy bullshit stuff, because all of us, no matter where in any divide we fall, are the same.

We are all grains of sand on the beach, drops of water in the ocean, and as unique as any individual is, we are all the same.  Fearing those we perceive as different from us is really fearing ourselves.

Do not let them win.