This doesn’t have to be this difficult.
It really doesn’t.
This is all so frustrating to watch.
I wish I could make you understand some things that you seem unable to grasp:
I wish you understood that no one is out to harm you. We don’t want to take away your ability to worship as you desire, to marry the person you love, to have autonomy over what happens within your body, to live where you feel at home—we just want you to allow that right to other people: to allow them to exhale and breathe and be comfortable in their skin, to let them feel safe in your presence.
I wish you understood that we are for you. Life is difficult for you, we know. It is difficult for everyone, which is why we can’t understand your preoccupation with policing other people’s bodies and bedrooms and marriages, why you can’t simply allow every human being to do what you’re trying to do: make it through days that are painful and terrifying enough without needing to continually fend off your neighbors at home and at work and at school.
I wish you understood that there is abundance here. The stories of scarcity you tell yourself or the ones given to you by your politics and theology simply aren’t true. There is enough food and opportunity and care and work to go around, if we are open-handed and creative enough to make sure that everyone has access to enough; their sustaining daily bread to endure this day.
I wish you understood that diversity is better. Other faith traditions, other pigmentations, other expressions of love, other experiences of the world don’t do anything to diminish yours, they simply show you the beautiful complexity of humanity and they let you get better stories about people you may have only seen from a distance. Difference is not dangerous.
I wish you understood that life does not have to be a war, despite the ways your preachers and politicians spend their days convincing you otherwise. You do not always need to be in battle with other human beings or to be readying yourself for some encroaching enemy, so you can stop clenching your fists. This life can be collaborative instead of competitive. Someone else’s gain does not have to be your loss.
I wish you understood that you are not being attacked. You aren’t. What you are experiencing right now is the defense posture that people continually have to be in as they face your incessant assaults on their efforts to enjoy life, liberty, and happiness as promised in the framework of this nation. They are fending off relentless violence from your legislation and your school board tirades and your coffee shop tantrums. People aren’t trying to injure you, they are trying to avoid injury. These are the God-image-bearers you say all human beings are supposed to be. They are the exhausted, hurting, and hungry neighbors that your Jesus calls you to love.
Most of all, I wish you understood what a waste this hatred is: how much time it squanders, how much unnecessary pain it causes, how many people people it harms—the good it prevents us all from doing together. No child should have to go hungry in America, no one should go bankrupt when they get sick, no one should be living without clean water. The thing that prevents us are the fruitless wars we allow ourselves to be drafted into.
The days we get to be here are so fragile and fleeting for all of us, and to use up so many of them perpetually terrified or feeling as though everyone is your adversary—is simply not worthy of their brevity.
Republican, I wish you realized how good life could be for you and for everyone else if you would simply leave people alone and let them find happiness and have rights and enjoy the time they have here.
Better still, if you could find it within your heart to desire the same good for others that you want for yourself, I think it would bring a revolution that would amaze us all.
I know you may not receive these words well, but I needed to say them.
This could be easier.