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Jussie Smollett is a liberal gay activist who wanted to besmirch people that support President Trump. The left wants to destroy America.

Before that, Jussie Smollett was attacked by two white MAGA hat wearing racists who hate lgbtq people. The right wants to destroy Americans.

Before that, the liberal media refused to apologize and correct their reporting and admit that the Covington Catholic kids where actually the victims of a political stunt by a proven liar political activist. The media is out to hurt America.

Before that, Covington Catholic school kids chanted and smirked at an indigenous war hero. White private Catholic school kids are privileged and racist.

The Catholic Church is full of pedophiles. Muslims are terrorists. Rich people are evil and suppress the poor. Illegal immigrants are all dangerous. The Police like to kill people of color. The poor don’t want to work. Drug addicts don’t want to get clean. NRA members want people to die. Pro Choice people hate babies. Pro Life people hate women. Shall I go on?

The sad thing is, you may have agreed with some of what I just wrote and vehemently disagreed with others. The truth is, there are individuals in each of those statements to which those attributes apply. But…never are they absolute.

Yet, we like to make general sweeping gotcha statements when someone fits the narrative of any of them. We keep looking for the “gotcha” moment that will bring down the “other side.” “THIS will finally show that my preconceived notions are right” we would never say out loud.

What ever happened to the individual? What ever happened to judging someone by their own merits? When did we become so intellectually and observationally lazy so as to lump everyone into groups based on beliefs we do or don’t ascribe to? When did the political group, race, belief, religion, geography, age, and demographic of a person supersede their individual identity? When did we begin to disassociate with those outside of our comfort zone of similar beliefs and lifestyle?

Truth be told, I don’t care. Yes, it’s been around forever in one form or another. Yes, I believe that it’s gotten worse but alas, it doesn’t matter.

For all that is good and holy I don’t know of many people who are just like me. I have friends, colleagues, neighbors, and associates who believe and act WAY different than I do. I wasn’t always that way.

I remember being a young kid and asking a friend what religion they were. If they didn’t say “Catholic” I remember being sad and feeling like they were different and wrong (to some extent and for whatever reason). If your parents were divorced I felt like something was wrong with your family (rude awakening for me for sure in the years to follow). As I got older into my teenage years, friends that drank and smoked were “bad.” My groups of disdain changed but were still there.

Maybe it was tragedy that snapped me out of it. Having a child with (and dying from) cancer shifts things a bit. Being in the hospital and seeing EVERY group smacked in the face with devastation levels the playing field a bit. I’m not sure.

What is clear to me is that we need to get back to (or get to) treating each individual as just that, one individual. Accept everyone and everything? Be permissive of all actions? Clearly not. Give everyONE the chance to have and keep the respect of being a child created by God? Yes.

None of you (us) ignore the individual intentionally. At least I hope not. However, when we are not careful, we quickly lump people into categories and pick and choose sides. We miss the blessed opportunity to learn, grow, and most importantly LOVE an individual.

I haven’t broken new ground here but my prayer is that it will at least cause you to pause. I hope that you will discourage the others in your belief/ethnic/political/etc group from attributing the negative of one individual to the entirety of the collection. I believe that we can enrich ourselves and be more available to love others when we treat individuals as just that, individuals, rather than as one of a larger population.

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