I have been astounded by the constant barrage of hate crimes occurring in the United States over the recent months. A person cannot watch the news without hearing about some form of harassment, threat or violence being committed against a person. The Southern Poverty Law Center has counted more than 700 cases of harassment or intimidation in the U.S. between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, the time immediately following the election.
The 2015 FBI statistics report an overall increase in hate crimes by 6-percent. These hate acts are based on the color of a person's skin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or any characteristic that makes them different from the "norm." The Word Web dictionary defines hate as "the emotion of intense dislike; a feeling of dislike so strong that it demands action." How can a person hate what they do not know? Hate is not healthy; it grows and often spreads like a virus.
I'm reaching out to all Americans, Park Rapids residents, law enforcement, government officials and the media to become more accepting of our differences; respectful of everyone and loving. We, as a community, need to be role models for all our children, showing them how to live in peace and harmony, being understanding and supportive to all people. How can we expect to eliminate bullying from our schools when they see examples of bullying in our local community, government officials and the media every day? It is in this spirit of unity that we can stop hate.