Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

I am 22 years old this year. I remember too many school shootings having happened. In wake of the most recent shooting in Florida, I don’t know how to respond anymore.

As a young conservative, I believe in our right to bear arms – for defense.

But, the ugly truth is, weapons weren’t all designed for defense, many were designed for offense. They were designed to kill.

At the moment, I’m all in favor of taking every weapon on the face of Earth, putting them on a rocket, and launching it into the sun along with all the blueprints, instructions, and any information on how to make these weapons. Outlaw, the creation of them and the idea of violence at all.

But that’s a dictatorship that I can’t begin to imagine beyond this. What’s more, it would be wrong to impose my will on anyone. But, the thing about not tolerating violent acts like this, is that at some point you have to impose your will on someone or something.

At some point, legislation has to be enacted.

At some point, we have to do something!

Death is never acceptable.

This morning I woke up with the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas running around in my head.

It’s a poem that I feel speaks to us all now as loudly as it did when it was published in 1951. “Wise men at their end know dark is right,” these words are what draw me to this poem. This is talking about wise men at the end of their lives. But, people who die prematurely, this line isn’t about them…

Thomas’ poem isn’t a call to old men, it’s a call to young men, and women, to fight against what’s happening to them. To fight against early death, against senseless death. It is a call to those who realize that they had so much potential, but didn’t go through with it and accomplish anything with their lives – to rage against the dying of the light, to not go gentle into death. To not just stand their as they are cut down and killed. It’s a call to fight, never to take anything lying down.

I see so many young people being bashed for “being liberal” and “too easily offended” – but what’s really happening, is young people fighting back in the only way they know how.

When I hear someone crying out about gun control laws, and our need to implement them, I don’t see a liberal young person fooled into thinking that guns are killing people instead of people killing people, I see a human being, afraid that they’re not going to survive because there have been 18 school shooting in 35 days.

I live in a very conservative household, and I myself am a conservative. When my grandparents – usually my grandfather – hear anything about gun control, there’s usually something to be said about it. Something about taking away the people’s rights and about how legislation is already in place against murder, and things like that. Anything that can possibly dispute the need for gun control, for better legeslation to keep things like this from happening again, and I can’t stand by it anymore. I can’t listen to that anymore without saying something.

We have to do something. While I’m not thrilled with the idea of taking away all firearms, I’m also not okay with anyone, anywhere, dying when they don’t have to. Dying when they shouldn’t.

I normally stay out of politics, but enough is enough. Something has to be done. I don’t know what, but we can’t continue like this. No one deserves to die before their time, before they have a chance to live and do what they need to do to make this world a better place.

I have people in my life that will tell me that we’re going into the end times, if we aren’t there already, that it’s going to get a lot worse, that we can’t fight it, but Jesus will come back and then everyhting will get better. Basically, what I’m hearing from these people is that we shouldn’t fight. While I believe that Jesus will come back and that this will get worse before it gets better, that doesn’t mean we can’t fight.

We have free will. God gave us that. It is our responsibility to stand up for what is right.

It is not right to go gentle into that good night.

It is not right to stand by and watch innoccent people die.

Jesus preached love. Total, unconditional, unrelenting, and sacrificing love. Is it any way to show love by watching people die just because you weren’t willing to give up your guns?

So, from one conservative to anyone who will listen: take the guns, put better healthcare in place for those that have mental illness. Quit holding onto weapons designed to kill, just because you think one day you might need to defend youself. There are other ways of defending yourself, non-lethal ways.

Do not go gentle into that good night! Rage, Rage, against the dying of the light!

Do not let anyone else die needlessly. Don’t tell me that God wants us to just stand by and let it happen when there is a possible way to stop it right in front of us. I don’t care if it hurts you or me, if you saved a life in doing it, that’s love. That is true, unconditional love, sacrificing something of your own in order to save someone else, even if it hurts you in some percieved or unpercieved way… that is love.

Do not go quiet into that good night.

Fight, fight to stop the fighting.

Sometimes, the only way to win is with a sacrifice of your own.

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I Can’t Stay Silent: 13 Ways to Show Love

man-2599320_1920There’s been a lot of political strife, everywhere I go. I can’t get on social media without seeing it, I can’t drive to work without seeing a million bumper stickers with the latest liberal or conservative slogan on it. And it’s eating me up inside.

I’ve tried to keep silent, remain neutral, do my best to just love and be an example for Christ, but I’m starting to think that sometimes you can’t love without the truth. And sometimes the best way to love is to stand in the way of a bullet. I managed to convince myself that if I spoke out politically I would ruin my chances at a writing career. But by being completely silent, I’m ruining myself as a person. I have privilege that others do not.

I come from a conservative background. I hold a lot of conservative views. And I know a lot of people will disagree with my personal views. But this is just getting ridiculous.

The triggers behind this opinion piece are the comments from the president, whom I would have voted for if I had received my ballot, I’m not going to explain that particular sentiment, that’s for another time, and by the NFL players who are taking the knee. But what really is triggering this response, are the responses of NFL fans.

IN NO WAY DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO JUDGE THEM FOR TAKING A KNEE!

Yes, I’m a millennial. Yesterday I posted an opinion piece about why I hate being a millennial. But here is a millennial point of view.

I think that there is inequality in the world. I think that taking a stand against police brutality is a good thing, as long as we understand that there are good cops out there, in fact, the majority of them are good men and women just trying to get home to their families at the end of the day. The media just hypes up the bad cops, all we see in the news for any major and well written piece are the cops that shot someone or tackled someone they didn’t need to.

I just watched a video of a Redskins fan who burned all of his memorabilia because a few players took the knee and he felt that was disrespectful of the flag. A friend of mine posted the video with the comment “Excellent” and all I could think while watching it was, this is childish.

I don’t watch football. I don’t like football. I don’t give a rip about football. I made it all the way through college without going to a single football game. The only reason I went in high school was because I was in the marching band and pep-band. the only reason I go to high school games now is that my little brother is now in the marching band that I was in, playing one of the instruments I played. I couldn’t care less about this man’s support or lack thereof for the NFL.

This response is just childish, I mean, really! He said he didn’t want their protest to ruin his football. I don’t think that the time those players took to kneel had any affect on the game they played, whatsoever. What this “gentleman” really meant was that he didn’t want to be faced with the ugly side of the world.

Not for one second are these men disrespecting the flag. In fact, according to U.S. flag code, there is nothing wrong with kneeling at any time other than the pledge of allegiance, and only if you are delivering the pledge! Nowhere does it explicitly say you can’t kneel. What they are doing is drawing attention to an issue they care about. And an issue that I’m really starting to care about.

They aren’t hurting anyone, delaying the game, nothing at all, all they are doing is forcing people to think.

This country isn’t great. I don’t know that it ever was. We’re a bunch of obese, unruly children who get offended at everything. The older generations blame it on the millennials, my generation.  And the millennials blame it on the older generations.

I have no problem with what these players are doing, because what they are doing is opening a discussion. They are forcing people to think about the big issues. If you have a problem with that, maybe you should think about why you have a problem with it.

Next time you hear the national anthem, I want you to pause and check your patriotic pride for a moment, and think about the words you’re hearing.

Oh, say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming.
And the rocket’s red glare,
The bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night,
That our flag was still there.
Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
For the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

The last two lines. Can you answer them with a yes?

I want you to think about it, the flag is just a piece of cloth, it’s what it flies for that matters and I don’t think it’s flying for what it was supposed to fly for, not anymore. This country is only as great as her weakest citizen. And the people getting mad about this protest, they aren’t strong, they don’t want to be faced with the ugly.

Nowhere in the Bible that I have ever read did God say to get angry when someone won’t bow to your idle. And that seems to be what the flag has become, what this country has become. This country, nor any country, will never be worthy of the praise and worship these people seem to be demanding of us. But it can be worthy of respect. Until that flag stands for equality, it isn’t worthy of even that.

I believe in God, and God demands love. Love demands respect. Not agreement. I don’t love the flag, the flag is not my god. I do not love America, America is not my god. I do love the people, God tells me to love the people. He never said I had to agree with them, and on many issues I do not. But on this one, I agree – wholeheartedly.

America is not great.

The American people are not great. They’ve forgotten how to love.

I can not remain silent any longer. Love demands the truth. And since God demands love, I have to speak.

Love isn’t always soft and coddling.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

13 Ways you can Show Love

  1. Be Patient – listen to all sides, but then make your own decision
  2. Be Kind – don’t slam those that don’t agree with you. Tell them the truth, but don’t be cruel about it
  3. Curb Your Jealousy – Make sure that what you’re doing, that the “love” you speak isn’t driven by jealousy.  The guy in my trigger video was quick to point out that these NFL players are overpaid, therefore they should have to give up their rights. That sounds like envy to me.
  4. Be Humble – Take the log out of your own eye before trying to remove the spec of dust from their’s. Don’t talk about how great you are, look at your own faults before you criticize theirs. After you refrain from boasting and take a look at your on faults, humble yourself, don’t be proud, look at yourself and your faults and realize that they need to be fixed.
  5. Have Honor – Don’t put others down, it’s something we get taught in grade school. Because really, dishonoring others dishonors yourself. We could all stand to develop a more archaic sense of honor.
  6. Build Others Up – Look out for others, look for ways to build others up, not yourself. You’ll find that when you build others up, you’ll do a lot better job of building yourself up in their eyes than you ever would have putting them down.
  7. Check your Temper – Getting angry can start a chain reaction. So check your temper at the door. When you get angry, everyone else will get angry. You’ll never hear or see anything other than your anger. If your angry about something, think about why and then check if that’s really valid reason, or if it’s really the reason you’re angry at all.
  8. Forgive – Don’t hold a grudge. Grudges foster anger and resentment. Sometimes things happen that you feel like you can never forgive. There are people who hold grudges for generations, entire families and groups of people who don’t even remember the exact reason why they’re fighting anymore, the event that started it all. Don’t let that happen to you and the people around you. Forgiveness is hard, but when you work together, make a choice to love, and try to resolve your issues, you’re already on the right track.
  9. Rejoice in What is Good – Yeah, that one’s a mouthful, but it’s the only way I can phrase it. If there is something wrong, don’t celebrate it. You can’t force people to stop, but you don’t have to celebrate their wrongness with them.
  10. Protect – If you see something wrong, you might not be able to stop it, but you can protect those who are suffering from it. Don’t be silent. Take a stand and say that enough is enough.
  11. Trust – Trust others, there is no better way to show love than to look at someone and tell them that while you may not understand what they’re doing or why they’re doing it, they have a reason for it. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to understand what they’re doing, but that initial bit of trust can open a lot of doors.
  12. Always Hope – There can’t be love if you don’t always hope for a better future, a better outcome. Without hope, depression sets in and eventually you give up.
  13. Persevere – Never give up on getting through, on making it to the next day, encounter, step, whatever. If you give up, you’ll never get anywhere with love.

Do these things and I can guarantee that Love will not fail. Because love never fails.