On Saturday morning at 2:00am, 49 American citizens were shot and killed in a bar called The Pulse in Orlando, Florida. It was a gay bar. At least 53 more people were injured.
Today, we stand now on the other side of the largest mass shooting in American history, with the highest fatalities and injuries on record.
We know who the shooter was. We know his motivation.
If you’ve listened to my radio show, you may be familiar with the words of a song we play at the top of each hour:
I know we don't see
Everything in the same way
But I know we won't be
Really free if we don't stay
United, cause divided
We will fall for anything it's true
So I have decided
I will stand for you
And I will
. . .
I will make a stand
I will raise my voice
I will hold your hand
Cause We Are One
I will beat my drum
I have made my choice
We will overcome
Cause We Are One
(We Are One --- David Osmond & Jenn Blosil)
We chose this song because we had a feeling about what was coming --- that we would become divided. And if we’re divided, as the song says, we’ll fall for anything.
So we need a path out. And I, for one, am tired of waiting for somebody else. I'm tired of the talk on television. I'm tired of hearing from the political people in Washington, DC. I'm tired of the same old arguments.
The only thing that we can do is react. And how do we react? Do we stand and continue, burying our face in social media? Do we continue down a path of trivial problems and tolerances of evil? Do we run away when tragedy strikes? Or do we stand our ground? Will we stand and say, "Somebody else is going to make a difference?" It's how we react that sets us apart.
I can't choose how you behave or anybody else, but I can choose how I react. I can choose to react with love and not hate.
America has been reminded this weekend of what is important, and it certainly is NOT anything we've been bickering about: transgendered bathrooms, lies that Clinton told or Trump told. It's not the lesson that came to mind, at least for me.
The lesson that came to mind was family and true freedom, the value of life, the difference between love and hate and that all men are created equal. Those affected by what happened in Orlando had those things that we all hold dear taken from them. Their family mourns as their freedom and their lives were ended. And the love and the equality that they fought for are being threatened.
Ted Cruz said this weekend that we're a nation at war. I believe we are. But first, we're at war with ourselves. He said, "Every human being has a right to live according to his or her faith and conscience, and no one has the right to murder someone who doesn't share their faith or sexual orientation."
While most of us were not personally hurt, when something like this happens, when evil steps out into the sunlight, we all feel it because we're a nation. But more importantly, when we're at our best, we're a family. And if it impacts one of us, it impacts all of us --- no matter what religion, race, sexuality, political affiliation, we are one.
In the face of tragedy, we as Americans have always chosen to unite with each other. We unite with our families rather than push them away. You know this and I know this --- the hatred on this planet and in this country is growing out of control. And fire is not successfully fought with more fire. Hate cannot be fought with more hate.
We have to respond with something that doesn’t make more fear and more hate. Love is so strong because it’s the only selfless emotion. It’s the first commandment, to love God. The second greatest commandment is to love one another. Hatred, chaos and violence and condemnation of others don’t come from God.
You defeat evil with good.
Unfortunately, so many of us are overcome by evil. Don’t be overcome of evil. But overcome evil with good, with honor and courage and love and honesty and humility and character and faith in something bigger than one’s self and a lot of hard choices and hard work, we can overcome what ails this nation.
Now, I know there are people right now going, "Oh, jeez, Glenn Beck is going back on this nonsense of love. That's not what we need."
Really? Tell me you have felt right us as a nation in the last year. Tell me it has felt right to you. Tell me you feel like we've been our best self in the last six months.
If you believe we have, then I can't help you. I'm not the guy you should listen to... or perhaps I'm the very guy you should listen to.
If we unite on common principles, if we look for the best in others and expect it also from ourselves, we win.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence, you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence, you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Does that not sound like everything that is happening in the Middle East? The quote concludes:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.
That's what's been happening in the Middle East, but we have caught the infection here because we have focused on what makes us different. We should be focusing and seeing ourselves as a nation of unique individuals that believe together in common purpose and principles.
If we turn the other cheek while standing firm in the truth, if we dismiss the easy answers and make the difficult choices, we make it. It's not going to be easy, and you're certainly not going to be popular. But the cure for all that ails us is simple.
Do you remember the months following the Twin Tower attacks? How we smiled at each other and we hugged each other and we were kind and polite and we were loving. Nobody became political for quite a while. The days following the attacks, people actually walked slower and stopped to talk or comfort one another. Everyone seemed to know that even a warm, friendly smile and actual contact with somebody else's eyes in the streets of New York made a difference. The feeling was that an attack on New York was an attack on your family, your American family, that we were truly brothers and sisters. We've lost what it means to be neighbors.
We're a great melting pot, not a separation pot. And that's what's missing in radical Islam. They're not looking to come here and be your neighbor. They don't love America or the American way of life.
I don't want to live next to somebody who considers me an enemy. But if you want to come to America and be my neighbor and unite on what made this country great, not what's steered us wrong, not what's caused our darkness, but what we aspire to be --- man, I can live next to you no matter how hard we disagree on policies.
Some good news today: Blood donations, the centers all across Florida overflowing with donors. And this has inspired people all across the nation.
Why does it always take a crisis to remind us to help each other and to love each other?
We're letting hate blind us. We're letting politics blind us. We're letting our own special interests divide us. And it's not a one-way street.
Today, I don't have a lot of answers for you. I have answers for me and what I can do. I'll tell you what I'm going to do. But we're in such a difficult place, you have to decide what you're going to do.
I will promise myself the same thing that I promised at 9/11:
• I will speak the truth as I understand it.
• I will search for the truth to give me more understanding, but that truth will be the good and the evil.
• I will love and comfort.
• I will stand and protect.
• I will heal and not divide.
But that last promise to you and to myself comes with a caveat, because the first thing I said was, “I will speak the truth.” There’s nothing more divisive than the truth — as we know — because we haven’t heard it in a long time.
Now, you can choose to divide yourself on the truth, or you can choose to unite on the truth. But as I said, as I speak, I will also listen. I will stand for your right.
Have I had the passion to love and stand for family above all else? Before I decide to point fingers and blame others, I will look at myself first. Have I stood up for petty politics while forgetting to stand for bigger issues of truth and honor and humanity?
I can't claim to represent American ideals of freedom and equality if I harbor hatred and promote prejudice towards those I should be uniting with. At this time, actual enemies --- not our neighbor down the street that isn't being taught to hate or teaching hate or planning death, but just our neighbors --- at this time, actual enemies have declared war against the values and principles that we hold dear.
I don't share nor agree with everybody's lifestyle. But, boy, I will stand for everyone's right as an individual. And a house divided against itself won't stand.
I can't stand up against a true enemy when I'm busy making false enemies of my friends. I will mourn those who have fallen. I will dismiss the man who tries to hold power over me.
That man made his choice on Saturday night, and I've made mine. And I stand with the gay and lesbian community. I stand with you. I stand for you.
Some things change, but some things never change. And one of those things that never changes is this: An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.
I will stand with you. We are one.
Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:
Featured Image: People wave flags during a vigil in reaction to the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida,in New York on June 12, 2016. Fifty people died when a gunman allegedly inspired by the Islamic State group opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Florida, in the worst terror attack on US soil since September 11, 2001. (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)