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Have you ever noticed that when you buy something new, you begin to see it everywhere? Particularly a large purchase, like a car. I know when I bought mine I began to see them everywhere. I suppose they were always there, but your level of awareness for them is higher because you’ve experienced them in a new way. I’ve noticed that feeling a lot lately, particularly with events surrounding my community. I suppose they were always happening, but my level of awareness of them is higher because I am experiencing them in a new way. I’ve heard many people saying it isn’t as bad as it seems and that what is happening is proportional to what is happening in other communities all the time. Which is fair, I don’t have an exact measure of the atrocities other communities have experienced. However, I am having trouble reconciling within myself the idea that somehow, because it was always happening and because other communities experience it too, it is okay that it is happening. No one seems to have made that connection clear to me.

Honestly, I may be resistant to the idea of condoning suffering. Condoning that idea that a significant, although minority, number of people do not feel safe in their own country, a country that was built on the principles of freedom. That the minority include all types, and that “minority” and “inferior” are somehow synonymous. Self-preservation as a way of life is not freedom. It is simply surviving. It is steeling yourself for what is to come next and trying desperately to hold on to the glimmer of hope that this time, maybe this time, the ending will be different. It’s exhausting work. It’s hardening work, work that strips away at your very being. And if you are willing, you spend a significant amount of time working to bring those parts back. Forgiving and praying and rationalizing. Anything to keep that glimmer of hope of a day when you don’t wonder what is next.

I think, as people, we all deserve that right. To prosper more than persevere, to hope more than hurt, to live more than survive. I think that should be fundamentally engrained within us, in our very genes, because we have evolved to the point that we have the capacity to place value on intangible necessities. In honesty, however, I do not believe we truly understand that we should at minimum respect one another as human beings. Empathize with the pain we ourselves have experienced, sympathize with those we have not. And I am not sure what it will take to get there. But at the end of the day, I suppose if you have nothing you have hope. Abandoning hope is leaving the one thing no one can take away from you. So I am hopeful. For what, I’m not sure. But hopeful nonetheless.

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