Our latest mass shooting was in Dallas. Many people offered responses to this tragedy. For example, someone on the news said we need to build bridges. I was left speechless for a while. But now, here’s my response:
I see no need to build any bridges. Natural bridges already exist between us.
Sometimes it’s hard to see these bridges that naturally connect us. This happens when people insult and accuse and debase each other so that everyone seems less than human.
“Those bastards are criminals.”
“Cops are bullies.”
When we demonize each other, we dehumanize each other. And then we can’t see our common humanity.
But everyone has the same basic needs. We all need to eat. We all need shelter. We need to be safe, secure, and comfortable. We need equal justice for everyone. We need respect. Anybody in this world, regardless of race, gender, religion, or political beliefs, needs these things.
Our common needs connect us like natural bridges. What disconnects us is our strategies for getting our needs met. That’s where arguments, wars, and mass shootings arise. But only when we dehumanize each other.
When we remember our common needs we are able to see each other as we see ourselves. And then it’s easy to find strategies that enable everyone to get their needs met, and that everyone can agree on. It doesn’t require genius or skilled diplomats. Anyone who recognizes our common needs, even a small child, is smart enough to find our natural bridges and figure out how to reconcile our differences.
Our natural bridges are solid as rock. They can never be burned or otherwise destroyed. They stand waiting to be found, patiently and eternally.
Always ready to support those who are willing to cross.