Last week, we remembered 9/11, which happened 19 years ago.
We were attacked.
We saw how people jumped in to action to help others. Some fought the devastation on the front lines, and others blatantly gave up their lives to help others who were complete strangers.
Everyone in our country, as well as much of the world watched, and felt love and compassion for those who suffered and/or died.
Today, we have storms in the eastern part of our country. We have fires that are deadly scorching our beautiful forests and towns in the West. And we have this horrible coronavirus that is hitting everyone, not only in our country but in the entire world.
We all watch, we all pray that it will end, and we pray for the heroic people who have given so much to help others.
It may take more time than we want it to, but eventually it will pass. The storms in the East will move on, after leaving their path of devastation. The fires in the West will run out of fuel, and slowly diminish, leaving ashes in its wake.
We are told that even this pandemic will eventually run its course, and will end either naturally, or by a vaccine that we are desperately trying to develop.
Of course, we will pick up the pieces, rebuild and heal. We are resilient peoples. That’s what we do.
In the meantime, however, there is something else that is eating away at each of us. It is stronger than any storm or wildfire, and it is more deadly than a virus.
There is hate out there, and that is something that we need to get a handle on.
We have two factions that are fighting for a place of power in this, the most powerful country in the world. They do this by public displays of hate, finger pointing and name calling. They embarrass me.
There are other people who have overstepped their position to protect others through misguided violence and abuse.
There are angry protests in our streets that are sometimes using more violence to illustrate their cause and passion.
To me, the power and strength of hate is more devastating than any storm, any wildfire and any virus.
That is where we need to focus our energy.
We call ourselves the United States. Are we?
We need to learn from the heroes of today. From those who gave their lives without even considering who they were giving up their ultimate sacrifice for. Certainly the color of their skin, or their ethnic background was not considered.
No, they did it for other people, just like themselves. Just like you and me.
Love one another. Someone told us to do that more than 2,000 years ago. I guess we’re still trying to figure out how.
It shouldn’t be that hard.
— Santa Barbara native Steve Nagelmann lives in San Roque and is a member of St. Barbara’s Parish at the Santa Barbara Mission. He and his wife are the proud parents of two grown sons. The opinions expressed are his own.