Hate and Love are Both a Choice – Remembering Matthew Shepard

“The most perplexing thing about hate is… it’s something you CHOOSE.”  These words were spoken by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered 14 years ago.  Please watch this powerful video.

“It’s not going to stop until we ALL decide, by the millions, that we aren’t going to live in that world anymore.” – Jason Marsden

Millions of us have made that decision.  We are not willing to live in a world of hatred, of ignorance, or of fear.  Instead, we have made a decision to live and work for a world of justice and love.

Have YOU?

Judy Shepard is right.  Hate is a choice.  So is LOVE.  So are the qualities of kindness, understanding, intelligence, and honesty.  Every day, every moment,  we have the opportunity to make choices about the kind of life we want, and the kind of world we want.  We are constantly shaping our reality.

So, what world do we want to co-create?

If you live in one of the more progressive European countries,like Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia (especially Denmark), and Great Britain)this post may not make sense to you.  These countries have largely outgrown the backwards thinking that leads to homophobia.   But if you live in a society that is still heavily influenced by fundamentalist reich-wing religion, you have probably seen plenty of  tragic violence done in the name of “tradition” or “values”.

Our global society is being born, and there are a great number of individuals who fear change.  If you live in the U.S. you can see this breathtaking amount of fear and ignorance on display nearly every day.  In this country, every little step forward has to fought for.  There is a large segment of the population that is mired in ignorance, superstition, anger, and fear — and they have a very loud megaphone in our media.

But as millions of us support the rights of all  people to live openly, fearlessly — we are changing our society into one that values love and justice.   When millions of us support the rights of all individuals to marry the one they love, our world gets brighter.
When millions of us speak up against bigotry or cruelty of every sort, our world is transformed.

How to start?  You already know what needs to be done.  If you know someone who’s in pain, be a friend.  Be supportive.  Be kind.  Be strong  when they feel weak.  In whatever way is natural to you, take a stand for justice and equality.  This is NOT about gay rights alone…lots of people are bullied or attacked for one reason or another.  This is about the rights of ALL beings to be respected.  It’s about the rights of ALL beings to be allowed to reach their full potential and to live a joyful life.

Sometimes those of us on a “positive” consciousness path hesitate to confront negativity;  we don’t want to give it too much energy.  (And that’s a justifiable concern – we’ve all witnessed the folly of “fighting” for peace, for example.)  Instead of “fighting against” hatred, take action FOR LOVE.  BE a force FOR justice.  BE a force FOR life.  Be kind.  And be voice for those who are voiceless, or who feel powerless.  You will FEEL the difference as empowering, rather than participating in negativity.  It’s a constant learning experience.  We are creating a better civilization…not simply “fighting against” negativity.  We are creating a world where hatred becomes irrelevant – and then disappears.  

One easy way is to hold those people who use the media to espouse hatred or superstitious condemnation, accountable.  These  politicians and pundits know that every time they demonize gays, or minorities, women (or whomever else they consider to be “other than) … the unhinged among their audience, sadly, often take action.  Hate crimes go up.  They know it, and they don’t care because they’re trying to “energize the base” or sell books.  They are coming from a very small, ego-centered reality, and they are doing genuine harm.  Call them out.

Speak up.  Take action.  Sign a petition, or start one.  Help out at a fundraiser.  If their inaccurate words are quoted online, correct them with a comment.  (Lies are everywhere!)

If the speaker is a politician, put energy into a new candidate and vote bigots out – and email them to let them know their behavior is unacceptable.   If the speaker is a pundit, boycott the sponsors, and let them know that bigotry and hate do not deserve a public megaphone any longer.

Bullies need to be called out for what they are, rather than allowed to hide their bigotry draped in the robes of religion or political  respectability. 

Use social media to connect up with others who insist on a more loving world… and take action TOGETHER with other compassionate people…We’re everywhere.

You can see that hatred and cruelty –  whether directed at the LGBT Community, or at women, or at minorities, or at undocumented workers, or at the poor, or at animals, or at environmentalists, teachers, scientists, atheists, the homeless — is all based upon a low level of consciousness and fear of the unknown.  So your best tool is to raise consciousness and relieve fear…speak truth to power.

Visit The Matthew Shepard Foundation to find out how to help the LGBT community.

Synergy is powerful.  When millions of us combine our energies, transformation happens.

Why?  Because cruelty and bigotry have no place in the world we are working to co-create.  Those regressive traits belong to the dustbin of history.

Don’t be silent.  Don’t be neutral.  Use your energy and your voice.  Take the opportunity to express love,  acceptance, openness, kindness… and do not be silent when you hear or see someone espousing judgement and cruelty.  Speak up for justice and love.

With every action, with every choice, with every boycott, with every vote, we are making the decision that we are not willing to live in a hateful world anymore.  Instead, we are determined to live in a world of justice and fairness for ALL — where every living being has value — and our work of creating this new society is just beginning.  It’s a lifetime work, and the goals will keep changing as we move forward.

We will no longer keep silent in the face of bigotry and dogmatic brutality.  Instead we envision, take action — and celebrate each new piece of a new reality.  Positive CHANGE is what its all about.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. voice13
    Oct 14, 2012 @ 10:51:02

    This blog post is not about the hate crimes prevention act – which I agree can be misused — but it is about being a voice for the downtrodden, the beaten, the harassed, and the scapegoats.

    What jumped out at me from this video most was that one statement, it seemed to move through me like electricity: *”It’s not going to stop until we ALL decide, by the millions, that we aren’t going to live in that world anymore.*”

    The truth of it – only WE can CHANGE THE WORLD. Not the corporations who currently stand upon our backs, not the government, police, etc. ALL of US. We could change it RIGHT NOW if enough of us decide to.

    And it inspired me to write about what we can do to refuse to continue on this paradigm where bigots and bullies have a megaphone, and because of their inflammatory and ridiculous statements, people are beaten and killed. And its NOT just about gay individuals, its about whomever is being bashed for political points this week.

    But speaking of gay issues: When I spent some time in a state in the mid-west, I used to go dancing at a gay dance club, and I can tell you it was frightening leaving the club, because there were invariably a car-load of drunk jerks outside who wanted to just “bash some queer heads” for entertainment. They would violently gang up on anyone who was alone outside the club…and the cops stood by night after night and let it happen. People got badly hurt and nothing was done. We had to walk each other to our cars and avoid ever being caught alone…and it was all because we simply wanted to dance! We only had each other for protection, as the police would do nothing. Eventually the place had to close, which was of course what the cops wanted.

    I saw the same thing at a peace rally just as the US invaded Iraq. A bunch of drunk thugs came up and started pushing the peace protestors. The cops did nothing until the thugs started pulling baseball bats from their cars, laughing about killing “hippies”, and only then, half-heatedly intervened.

    Anyway, my point is that WE make up society. We humans are capable of so much more – we are multi-dimensional amazing beings! Most of us are so enslaved and dumbed-down to be good little obedient wage-slaves, that we don’t even understand or even approach our potential for greatness and goodness. Imagine a society where all people are valued, and educated, and healthy…and encouraged to challenge themselves to become more.

    if we don’t want to live in a cruel, small-minded, petty society, we have to ALL decide that we simply won’t put up with it.

    You know that I am a gentle soul, but I can turn into a Valkyrie if need be to protect helpless animals or anyone being hurt. From what I believe that I know about you, it seems to me that if you saw someone being beaten YOU certainly would do something as well. You would stand up for the weak, the outnumbered…the helpless. And that is the point of this post. If people had the courage to refuse to give in to bigots or pettiness, we could see our society blossom into something much more beautiful. It’s up to US.

    We can’t just stand by and be “good Germans” and do/say nothing while people lie about, and distort things on television and radio. We can’t allow the bullies to harass others. WE have to say, “enough”.

    It’s a challenging thing to come from a space of kindness, and yet be ready to step up or speak out. I certainly haven’t mastered it yet — the blog is helping me sort out thoughts and find the way. I am pleased that others are enjoying sharing the journey.


  2. call me anny moo us
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 05:37:39

    It is very understandable not wanting to give negativity to much energy. Focusing on the positive seven times as much as the negative is only logical. A lesson to be learned as one takes the seemingly necessary looks through history and politics so as not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We see things like the dissident’s who have been slaughtered for standing up. The list is quite numerous regardless of whether they where militant or pacifistic. Still the questions remain in regards to whether one is better or more effective than the other? It’s not hard to see that after the pacifist dissident gets slaughtered, that message tends to get twisted and marginalized or hijacked like the environmental movement to benefit deception. A prime example would be Jesus. On the other hand we know that almost all militant dissidents get demonized, and sometimes turn to the dark side so to speak for power. It is just a fact that when one starts killing for a dream the first thing that usually dies is the dream. Hence the concept of love your enemy and turn the other cheek. However sometimes In life there are concepts that out of love not hate may be important for some to learn. Things like don’t kill your mother, or don’t enslave your brother. Or you may deserve to accidentally fall out of a second story window multiple times. The point is that if a child throws themselves down and hits their head on a rock, it hurts. After a few times, said child learns through logical deduction or because it just plain hurts, to take a wiser or more loving course of action. Because children like cultures must mature to become wise, kind, and strong. There are courses of action that propagate strength and others weakness. To build a muscle you often rip it then rest and nourish it seven times as much ideally. Those who spare the rod don’t love the child (But still 7x as many hugs as harsh words minimum). To say like many do,only use positive reinforcement on an unruly child or culture is seemingly quite naive . Those who deal in absolutes are incomplete. Love is not the answer, fear is not the answer. Knowing what to love and fear in what proportions is. So often people focus on left brain or right brain activity, when balance it would seem should be the objective, more so than being half brained. Now with that boring blah blah having being said we get to beauty, something everyone loves, and beautiful works of art both inspire mankind to to its greatest heights as well as being some of the greatest achievements. So blessed are the beings who love and care enough to push the boundaries of what has ever been accomplished before. We all owe a great debt of eternal gratitude to those rare individuals who bestow such gifts upon us.


    • voice13
      Oct 15, 2012 @ 06:11:04

      Thank you for that comment! I agree about not wanting to give negativity too much energy, yet I do run into this a lot with people who are on any kind of consciousness path. Many people will say, “what you think about..grows” and so they tune out any negative energy in the hopes that it will disappear.. These people often ignore politics, the Fed, the global banksters, etc, for example, because these are such greed/ego-based and corporate controlled processes. I totally get that — yet it’s my feeling that these are the very systems that are creating hunger, wars, and suffering for all species worldwide.

      It seems to me that as we reach a certain maturity of consciousness, we should be able to observe, speak out and take action –still coming from a heart of love…without letting our energy get pulled down into anger, fear, hatred. The greedy elite are not awakened beings; they are childish entities and truly know not what they do. They aren’t going to change without some “prodding”. It is up to us to stand up and make a difference.

      LOL, Sorta like those old Kung Fu episodes where Kwai Chang Caine reluctantly kicked the shit out of someone who was being evil. 😀


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