“You will not win my hate”, said the Parisian man whose wife was killed last Friday in the terror attack that gripped the world. America would do well to pay heed to his words.
Xenophobic fear cripples the once open heart. That fear blinds us from seeing our diversity as a strength, and it remains an obstacle for the United States that must be overcome before we truly fulfill our promise as a great nation.
We must rise above our fear that ISIS will find us in the Deli Section of Walmart, or the Terrorists will have already won. Our children are watching our every move. When we hate, when we fear, our children are like sponges, absorbing every drop.
What do we want our children to see in our hearts?
What do we want them to feel for others?
If we choose to allow hate and fear to dictate our lives, be taught in our families, our churches and in our communities, if we allow hate and fear to be the guiding force for our foreign policies, then that will be the lesson we teach our children. If that is our choice, then those who wish to harm us will have succeeded in doing far greater damage to our collective soul as a country than any injury they may inflict upon our flesh.
Our children are watching us right now. Building walls, restricting liberty in the hope for security, and believing that the whole of a people are the sum of the few who wish us ill will may be sacrificing something far greater than the illusion of comfort provided.
Our children were not born to hate. That hate must be carefully taught. Fear can be defeated. It is our greatest enemy. Our collective soul as a nation is at stake.
“We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” F.D.R.
Essay by Steve Rothrock, and photo-art by Tracy Knauss