Attention All Heartbroken People: Which Side Are You On?

I know a lot of people.   (Well, compared to the number of people there are, it’s really not “a lot,” but in some ways it feels like a lot).   I am definitely a people person (at least on the outside). I find people fascinating and delightful at times and at other times (and more recently) I am embarrassed to include myself as a member of “people”. People are________…..well, you can fill in the blank.

I can change many, many things about myself in this life, but there is one thing I cannot change…forever and ever, as long as I am alive, I will remain one of you….one of the people.

Sometimes we (people) are impressive. Often we are not.  We judge each other, ridicule and demean each other, rage against each other, annoy each other and sometimes downright despise each other. Mostly, if we have a problem (as every one of us does, most of us having a slew of problems)….well, then we do what people do best….we blame each other.

Often we blame people who are different from ourselves (even though we are all people – irony)….people of a different race, a different gender, a different ethnicity, a different nationality, a different orientation, a different age….you name it….this is what we do. We blame other people – even though we are all people.  We find someone different from ourselves and we blame them; we attack them. We tell ourselves, if only this, that or the other people didn’t do this, that or the other, our lives would be improved.

In the current United States, American black people (very rightfully) blame racist, unprofessional police people (i.e. cops) for the horrible harm that has come to many, many, MANY young black people in our country at the hands of these same bad cops. Police people who don’t even TRY to diffuse a tense situation – make no mistake, these are bad cops. These are bad people. They are destroying lives and they should not ever hold the positions that they hold.

At the same time, there are the good cops – the cops who are not racist, the courageous, ethical cops who only want to protect and serve the community and provide for their families. There are many good cops….and yet, they are being killed too. They are being killed not by many people, but by a few people, who are also simply bad people.

So, bottom line: a few bad people are killing many good people these days….and a lot of other people are filled with despair, anger, confusion and unimaginable sorrow.

We have been here before and it honestly does break my heart to say that we are here once again.  Once again.

And once again….the vast majority of people aren’t killing anybody.  These people include:  those of us who may or may not have taken a side; those of us who may or may not have racial prejudices; those of us who may or may not have a good or a bad opinion of cops; and lastly, those of us whose hearts are in shreds right now watching the violence, the rhetoric, the racism, the anger, the fear, the politics, the horror, the agonizing grief, the hopelessness and the despair.

The last group – the heartbroken people — I do have not statistics on this, but I think this group is the largest. (I am sure as hell one of them.) Angry or not, fearful or not, throngs of us are so incredibly heartbroken at the violent world we are living in and for American people, at the country we are living in.

My emotional batteries are bursting with ferocious electrical charges in these wackadoodle times.  As people, we are FEELING all this crap.  We are feeling it hard.

I don’t know – it seems that, as people – simply as PEOPLE — a large number of us simply don’t “get it.” We don’t get it that each of the 8 billion one of us came into existence to love and love and love some more….to love other people.   I believe this to the core of my being: love is it. Love is why we are here. Without love, we may as well not even exist at all.

So, why do we hate other people? Why is it so hard for us to choose love over hate? To say that the answer is complicated is about as enormous an understatement as there can ever be.  In the past 2016 years and for many millennia before that, we have created a world of poverty, inequality, violence, fear, war, slavery, blame, judgment, racism, sexism, hostility, cynicism, guilt, resentment and injustice. We created this world and now we are forced to live in it. No one person created this situation. We all did…..millions and millions of people over centuries and centuries.

We made our bed and now, as individuals, we all spend our lives— decades and decades of our lives — either ignoring the problems, trying to make a dent in the problems, or making the problems worse.

Every one of us falls into one of the preceding three categories. Our behavior in our daily lives, in our daily relationships, from the moment we learn to speak to the moment we take our last breath, is either contributing to the problem, struggling to solve the problem or doing nothing whatsoever to address the problem….the problem of Hate.

After all, at the end of the day, Hate is THE problem, it is the root of all the other problems.

It all comes down to Hate. As people, a lot of us love and a lot of us hate and a lot of us do both. I get the love part (I think), but why do we hate?

Sometimes I think it is because we are bored or frustrated about the sameness of our lives and we need to “stir things up”. Authentic love, after all, is kind and calm and gentle and brings a peace that can hardly be described in words. Real love doesn’t need any reason other than itself to just “be”.

Hate, on the other hand, is a pot that needs to be stirred to exist. Hate is full of turmoil and fear. It is a storm that blows us up, down and every which way until others and/or ourselves are either dead or crippled or scarred for life.

I ask myself….who would ever want such a storm? I am thinking it is the bored and restless people — and most of all, the fearful people. Hate gives the illusion of inner personal power. That rage that people of hate spew out at other people who are different from themselves (even though they are people too) makes them feel powerful and less afraid.

Hate is a motherfucker, right? (Apologies to throw in that obscenity, but hate is nothing if not an obscenity.) I think to myself that maybe, just maybe, if we found our courage, we might lose our hate. If we found our courage, we might lose the need to blame, to judge, to harm.

The kind of inner power that courage brings is the good kind of power….the kind that leads to peace – and  to love.  The kind of power that fear brings is the bad kind of power….the kind that leads to hatred, violence and never-ending grief.

I keep thinking of the Jackson Browne song, “Which Side Are You On?” (listen below). Love or hate…as a member of the permanent group we are — people — which side are you on?



If we pick the right side, if we can only dig deep and find our courage, maybe we can be proud to be people again.

Right now, I witness the hate and I am not proud to say that I am “people”.

My heart tells me that we all need to dig deep and find the courage and the love within and then spread it around.

The courage is in there, the love is in there, but given the mess that we have made, we need to dig deep – and then stand up and pick a damn side.  I hope you pick the side of love. My money is always on love.  It has to be.  It’s why we are here at all.

Which side are YOU on?




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