I spent the day yesterday beneath a cloud of futility. There was a moment of disbelief, followed by a numbness that crept over me. Throughout the day I fought enervation and for the most part, I lost. I disconnected from the world of the internet, I couldn’t take the depressing violence, the judgment and rush to point fingers or take responsibility. At midday I saw there was to be a candlelight vigil in Capitol Hill and I wanted to go. To grieve and support my comrades, but having just picked my returning family up from the train, I felt fear creep into the back of my mind. A gnawing dread that if I were to take my two year old child to this positive, supportive gathering. What would I do if there were another attack. Could I stomach the responsibility I would feel if my family was harmed? I could not. I supported and grieved in my own way. My wife and I lit candles of our own, we viewed the gathering online, we shed tears together, and my daughter pushed me away from a hug because she was too busy being a toddler.
Posts online seem like such a half step, but in this world of social media, they are one of our tools to communicate our feelings. We form a gestalt emotion and buoy each other up. We share stories and feelings and see our compatriots share those same emotions. The outpouring of love that I have seen in the past day and a half has brought a semblance of balance back to my mind. The community seems torn into two camps. One sentiment is the strength of unity in the community. The group that gathered at the park and held a candlelight vigil last night. Those that bravely gather, support each other, and inspire those around them to be better. The other sentiment that I have seen over and over is concern over lack of hope. How futile it seems to be battling against this constant violence and oppression. A face of the country constantly spitting vitriolic fear mongering, building a wave of aggression that only serves to spark more of these abuses. I share these concerns that our society is moving backwards instead of forwards. The negative stories are always shared and talked of more than positive stories. However. I will not give in to the negativity.
Last night I dreamed of hope through the night. I looked back upon my short life of awareness with the struggle within society. I thought back to what changes I have seen already in my lifetime. I have witnessed the legalization of equal marriage. I have seen anti-LGBTQ+ laws like Oregon’s old Prop 9 defeated. For each two steps forward there is one and a half back, but progress is happening. It will continue to happen. This tragedy will simply shine another light on the strength and inevitability of an equal society. This is no hope, I know that it is coming. My hope is that it happens within my lifetime. I hope that my daughter learns about this massacre, about the hatred, and the vitriol of this period through history textbooks, and not first hand. I hope she looks upon these events in a disbelief and horror similar to my perception of slavery, the holocaust, or the greatest mass shooting in U.S. history, wounded knee. Hope is out there in all of us. It is up to each of us individually to take hold of it, and to bring it to society. Hope, rests with you.