Preaching to the choir won't resolve conflict
To the editor:
Tuesday evening's Park Square vigil and program in Pittsfield was a wonderfully meaningful event. I attempted to count the size of the crowd and would estimate there were perhaps 300 or more people in attendance.
Many speakers offered eloquent remarks about the horrendous killing of 49 innocent individuals by a single hate-filled individual and all of their comments were warmly received by an enthusiastic though mournful audience.
The hundreds in attendance demonstrated uniform approval of the rejection of hate-motivated murder and vigorous support for their LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Racism and Islamophobia were rejected by the audience, as well.
The only sad thing to me was that while comments about "unity and equality" were so well received, I suspect that those of our fellow citizens with opposing views were simply not present at that event.
Building understanding between alternative perspectives of the validity of differing views of appropriate expressions of human sexuality, as well as between differing religions and races, is a primary challenge for those of us who reject the many negative premises of a major candidate for the presidency of our nation. Dr. King spoke about such struggles in his eloquent sermon on "loving your enemies." Dr. King pointed out that it is good that we were not asked to like our enemies, as that would be impossible. He went on to explain the deeper requirement to love that human element present in even our worst enemies.
This remains a monstrous challenge. The way it is resolved, if it is, will newly define our country well beyond our coming election.
Dr. King referred to Abraham Lincoln's comment that the best way to get rid of an enemy is to make him your friend. Can we do it? If we don't wish to, what does that tell us about ourselves?
All the speakers at the program invoked mourning for the 49 blameless victims who were slaughtered. Would Dr. King have made that number 50, to include the extinguished life of he who did the killing?
Don Lathrop, Canaan, N.Y.