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Choosing love

| Thursday, November 10, 2016

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda

The dark side is present today.

Those of you who know me probably know that the rhetoric of Trump deeply opposes my belief in preferential option for the poor, the marginalized, the migrant, the minority, the suffering.

But I will not hate Trump supporters. I will not give in to hatred.

I admit that I am afraid. I am afraid of what will happen in the next four years. I am afraid of how a Trump presidency will impact the poor, the marginalized, the migrant, the minority, the suffering. I am afraid of how a Trump presidency will impact those I love who are children, women, LGBTQ, Arab, black, Latino, Muslim, refugees or immigrants. I am afraid of how a Trump presidency will impact the world. I am afraid of how a Trump presidency will impact me.

Yet, I am afraid as well that my fear will lead me to hate, will lead me to hate the people who voted for Trump. If I give in to hating an entire group of people, how am I better? How am I different? How will more hate rid hate? (Luke 6:27-36, for reference.)

At the end of the day, this election is full of people who are afraid on both sides of the political binary. People who are afraid of the world and of each other. Thus leading them to being angry at the world and at each other. Leading them to hate the world and each other. If this continues, I don’t know where we will be in the centuries to come. I don’t know if there will be anyone around to know anything.

Last night, my friend and I sat together and discussed politics. She said, “I don’t tell you a lot because I think you’ll disagree.” I told her, “Well, why don’t you tell me? I might surprise you.” So I listened and put myself in her shoes to try to understand her perspective. I think I surprised her.

We talked further and agreed that the fact that we knew that we respected and loved each other made it easier for us to challenge each other. Our known love and respect made it easier for us to listen to each other’s criticisms and reflect critically without getting angry or defensive. It made it easier for us to — dare I say — change each other’s hearts and minds.

I want to believe that my friend and I are just two of many, that what occurred between us last night is a hint of some greater opportunity. Dorothy Day said, “It is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us.” I want to believe that love can burn away the hatred in our world right now. I want to believe that we can surprise each other by listening to each other, by loving each other, by empathizing with each other, and maybe then, we can come to allow all of our hearts not be filled with fear or anger or hatred.

This goes beyond politics. Fear and hatred of the “other” permeates all sorts of interactions, actions, opinions, and social structures. It is easy to love those who are like us, who agree with us. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? It is comfortable to continue surrounding ourselves with people who agree with us and continue looking down on the “other” from afar. But I agree with Pope Benedict XVI when he said, “the world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

So I will continue to love those who most need it. I will continue with renewed fervor to support and champion the poor, the marginalized, the migrant, the minority, the suffering.

And I will continue to love all I encounter. I will in try in my actions and deeds to love those who hurt me, who hate me, who persecute me, who scare me. I will pray that maybe they will open their hearts up to love too. I pray that I will surprise them. I pray that they will surprise me. I pray that we will surprise each other.

Please. Please surprise me.

Gabriela Leskur


Nov. 9

Editor’s note: Gabriela Leskur served as The Observer’s Viewpoint editor from 2014-2015.

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • Punta Venyage

    Thanks for the tone of humility Gabriela. Things may seem scary, but do not be afraid. The image of Trump being a monster is engineered propaganda from the ruling establishment and from the opposing campaign. Over time as you see evidence of the contrary, your fear will dissipate. Approach this next chapter of American history with an open mind and I believe you will be pleased.

    I know you’ve had months of propaganda that “Trump=Hate” and that this election was Team Love vs Team Hate, but I hope now you can take some time as the dust settles and reevaluate what specific ideas have led you to believe this, and to challenge these ideas, and to expose yourself to the information that repudiates the propaganda. Half of the country ≠ HATE, and they voted for Trump because they know that the narrative of Trump being “literally Hitler” is a total fabrication; see why they know this, insist on thinking critically and always considering the counterarguments for each side and representing them in as persuasive of a manner as possible and then you will get closer to the truth.

    Imagine being in dark room and someone has flashlight. Wherever they point the flashlight, that’s all you see. I want you to take the flashlight into your own hands, and you will see that you have been lied to.

    We must all unite now, as this can be an incredible next chapter in American history where EVERYONE is better off.

    • João Pedro Santos

      You surely live in an alternate reality…

      • Punta Venyage

        If you thought Hillary was going to easily crush Trump then you need to reevaluate your understanding of the world, because you’re clearly not getting it.

        Your immediate social circle is likely an echo chamber of confirmation bias as you are apparently clueless as to the thoughts and motivations of those who you disagree with.

        The fact that your fairest and most persuasive representation of those who support Trump is that they are monsters consumed with hatred for everybody shows your childlike understanding of the world.

        Your willingness to readily demonize the opposition and your incapability of presenting the strongest arguments of the other side are a reflection of your bigoted closed mindedness.

        This intolerant attitude and refusal to engage in civil discussion is exactly why Hillary didn’t get elected.

        • João Pedro Santos

          I never thought Hillary was going to easily crush Trump. I am pretty well aware of how racist and xenophobic a lot of Americans are. And no, I’m not tolerating intolerance. I’m not tolerating people who commit hate crimes. I’m not tolerating people who think that sexual assault is OK. But feel free to be blinded by white privilege.

          • Punta Venyage

            Again, you’re missing the point. Your judgment is impaired and you can’t differentiate people who are actually hateful from people who merely disagree with you. Just pause and think for a second that maybe 99% of people want a society where everyone is treated fairly and judged by their actions and not their social identities and this 99% includes those you disagree with politically…

            Also, do you not see the irony in wailing about perceived “racism” but then using racist and divisive “white privilege” terminology?

            You are essentially saying:
            “You disagree with my position, and anyone who disagrees must be racist/xenophobic/(insert other propaganda here). And you must be white because whites are the ultimate class of people that are racist/xenophobic.” This why you assume I am white, even though you have no idea. If you want to collectivize people, at least be aware of the hypocrisy, since you claim of being against this.

            I will say the following in defense of “whites”, which lately are the fodder for every problem in modern society… white/European culture has demonstrably been the most open and accepting culture in the world, and has led to the highest degrees of freedom and standards of living – these are observable facts. Take a moment to stop and think about this amidst your white shaming rhetoric.

            Trump is for black/white/yellow/brown/everybody who identifies as an American. And over time, as people wake up to the lies they have been fed, we will all be able to unite and work together in making America a much greater country for everyone.

          • João Pedro Santos

            Wow, you really need to learn some History lessons. Have you ever heard about slavery? The genocide of Native Americans? The Holocaust? The destruction of the Middle East which is taking place since the 1980s? All done by white people. Well, I guess it’s easy to have the better standards of living when you destroy the lives of everybody else. Please go learn some History and then come back. This election showed how much “white culture” is not progressive at all. Black people, hispanic people, Jewish people, Muslim people, Native Americans? They all opposed your dear leader. White Americans were the only group who decided to choose hate and violence. So you need to face it, there is a bigotry problem among white Americans. Most Muslims always stood up against terrorist attacks. Why is it that a lot of white people don’t stand up against racists and instead endorse them?

          • Punta Venyage

            It is you, Joao who needs to learn history, though I imagine you have been indoctrinated by leftist revisionist history, and are unaware of how you’ve been manipulated.

            I’ll address your first point regarding slavery, and if you treat the topic with fairnes then I’ll gladly move on the others.

            Slavery – Are you aware that less than 2% of White Americans owned slaves in the US? Really, read that again – 2%. This is not and never was a problem by the “Whites”. If you collectivize blame on the 100% for actions of the elitist 2%, then you are a hypocrite.

            Are you aware that slavery was a phenomenon occurring for millennia by ALL people groups?

            And Joao, are you forgetting which people group was the first to end slavery? Oh, that’s right. The racist whites of America.

            And here’s a trivia question, since you brought up slavery.
            What episode of vast slavery was one of the most violent, brutal, and inhumane that has been recorded? Try, the Islamic slave trade which spanned over 1400 years and led to the death of ~120 million people in Africa and involved genital castration of black males on a massive scale, not to mention the treatment of the young girls.

            And to bring it back to the US, one more inconvenient fact for your narrative: Which political party is rooted as the party of slavery and the KKK? I’ll let you figure that one out.

            ^ If you can provide me reasonable discussion on the points I have mentioned here, I would gladly continue the conversation with you regarding your other allegations.

          • João Pedro Santos

            You deny History facts and then call other people revisionists. Your comment only show that Drumpf’s supporters like you are indeed evil racist people. I just hope that, if you have children, they’ll grow up to be better people than you are.

          • Punta Venyage

            Liberal Argument Tactics 101: when you are incapable of having a reasonable discussion or are confronted with evidence inconsistent your position, attack the person! Make sure you call them evil and “-ist”, and attempt to discredit them with full force.

            Here is a prime example, folks, and unfortunately Joao’s type of response isn’t all that rare.

            We can all work together by pursuing an exchange of ideas and putting forth arguments and counterarguments.

            If those you disagree with are wrong, then demonstrate it using the tools of logic!

            Joao: I welcome you, if you are capable, to address the facts I gave you in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Show me which fact or premise you disagree with.

          • João Pedro Santos

            LOL, now you’re the one complaining about “attacking the person”.

          • Punta Venyage

            Attacking your tactics – absolutely. Feel free to pick up the conversation where we left off, with regards to slavery.

            Still waiting