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  • Writer's pictureLilith Starr

Turn the Tide

Shooting tonight at a developmentally disabled state-run center; at least 14 dead. A Texas women’s clinic also was shot up today; and a Planned Parenthood in Colorado on Friday. The hate and violence is reaching a fever pitch. These people are so far gone (thanks Fox news!) that they are convinced they are doing God’s work by killing others (should sound familiar if you think about jihadists).

It’s hard not to lose faith in humanity at these moments. I see the shooting reaching a critical level. Look on a map and see the red dots where mass shootings occur, one every day in the last year (at least). It looks like a petri dish of bacteria, and now it’s reached that tipping point where it will balloon out into an epidemic.

The fuel is set in the killers’ minds by the constant disinfo peddled by Fox News, and Fiorina, Red Cup Guy and Trump have lit the fire and fanned the flames, telling their followers that they should kill abortion doctors, that it’s ok to beat up black protesters (“because they deserve it”) or assault Hispanics (“my followers are a little enthusiastic”), and so on.

I believe these people should all be charged under the full extent of the law for inciting violence. They put away Charlie Manson for less.

I feel underlying it all is the nagging sense that it might really be the end of the world this time. Young people especially know their future is less than certain, with climate change already fully upon us and nations still unable to agree to do anything to mitigate, much less stop, the damage.

In America, our compassion centers are burned out by the thin haze of despair that seeps up from the poor, the lonely, the homeless, the overworked, the oppressed, and from all the other gaping wounds in our social contract. Instead of taking care of each other, we’re all slipping through the cracks, drowning. Instead of fixing things together, we are being driven apart by a Christian jihad of hate and violence unleashed across our nation.

This is what we must fix, and I despair at the prospect to a certain extent. My faith in humanity is shaken right now, that we’ve let it come to this and that it has finally fully blossomed into the tipping point of mass violence and killings. Why have we not stood up and said “Enough?” Why have we not treated the exhortations to violence as the dangerous ravings of lunatics and would-be fascists─as opposed to our current treatment of them as viable solutions for our country’s future?

But it comes down to what I can actually do. Renowned inventor Buckminster Fuller said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

And that’s what I try to do, to the best of my ability. I do my best to be a source of compassion, kindness, tolerance, and generosity. I put a tremendous amount of work into building the safe, tolerant, loving space that is the Satanic Temple - Seattle Chapter, and we collectively work for justice, and for a world that is not run by violent, racist Christian extremists full of hate.

I can only build a better model out of myself, and hope that it somehow helps, that it serves as a possible model for replication. The Tenets of the Satanic Temple, with their focus on justice, personal liberty, reason, and compassion, offer one such model, and I am immensely grateful to be in service to this organization. I think we have here in our Chapter a microcosmic model of compassion, open-mindedness, the will to work towards real change and the power of connection and cooperation.

But it doesn’t require any kind of Temple, Church, or belief to just be a good person. I hope to see this tide of hate turned back with reason and compassion, and the willingness to stand up to this violent juggernaut. Let us each implement our own new model that makes the angry fringe obsolete.

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