Come Together or Fall Apart: A Response to the Shootings in Orlando 6/12/16
Let us at least begin to acknowledge that when we attend to an issue with the very pathology that has shaped the issue itself, we become complicit. The spirit of opposition with which we approach this monumental tragedy, our eagerness to dive into contention over whose views are to blame for the heartbreak that is meanwhile shattering us all is how we become complicit with the violence, how we collude with the hate. Like all dynamic phenomena, this is not an either/or issue, rather it is a both/and issue; it is at once a gun-control issue and a mental health issue, an issue of terror and an issue of hate. We perseverate on the issue that presents itself in our collective conscious because it allows us to remain blind to the larger issue that is lurking in our collective unconscious. In other words, we are dangerously committed to remaining unconscious.
The minute one of these occurrences enters the political arena; it is stripped of its humanity – its emotionality becomes scapegoated. Diving headfirst into solution, into debates about solution, is a trauma-response…an attempt to make meaning out of the tragedy and establish, or in some cases re-establish, one’s sense of agency. And it is wholly understandable, for were we to acknowledge that we do not actually understand the problem at hand, then we would have to acknowledge that we do not actually know how to fix it. And if we acknowledge that we do not know how to fix it, then we have to find the courage to authentically connect through our shared experience of fear and disappointment rather than feigning connection through negatively bonding over our hatred for the other. And the charge with which we approach these debates with one another is perhaps a defense against the onslaught of emotion that threatens to overtake us when we encounter the shadow of our humanity, the ugliest part of our existence, and the accompanying reality that no one person or law or department can keep us safe, rather that we are just as much a part of the problem as we are a part of the solution, and that we are going to have to be willing to come together, or else we are sure to fall apart. Tonight I not only stand with Orlando, but I also stand with all who are scared and confused, those who have ideas but who nonetheless are unaware of the solution.