I wrote a letter to the editor of the Jamestown Sun which was published today. It was in response to the defeat of a bill in the ND House to protect people against discrimination based on sexual orientation on April 2nd. The bill had passed the ND Senate and had the support of ND Governor Jack Dalrymple as well. The image above was clipped from the front page of the Fargo Inforum the following day. Here’s the full front page. What follows is my letter to the editor of the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, ND.
I was filled with schadenfreude and a feeling of shame-on-them upon seeing the front page of the Fargo Forum on Friday April 3, which juxtaposed the headline “ND denies protection for gays” with the smiling state representatives, including Rep. Alex Looysen from Jamestown, who denied them that protection. This arrangement impacted me on a deep emotional level, because as a North Dakotan I felt wronged in their representation of me by their votes against protecting our fellow citizens.
After some time to reflect, I felt compassion for Looysen and his fellow representatives for they know not what they do, and decided to write this letter. That is, my emotion led to a thought which led to an action. This is the process for every human action ever taken. Therefore instead of engaging on the intellectual level of the debate, I want to go deeper to the emotional level. I want to get to the heart of the matter, which has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but everything to do with being human.
The heart of the matter is that you and I teach one another to believe “I am not enough.” As youth we are not smart enough, not big enough, not old enough. As adults we are not attractive enough, not wealthy enough, not experienced enough. Pose the question “How am I not enough?” to yourself you will get your reply.
When the belief, “I am not enough” is so deeply engraved in our psyche, we spend our lives in search of more. More possessions, more wealth, more prestige, more attention. At some point, after accumulating “enough,” we will reach the final goal of life when we can finally tell ourselves, “I am enough.” Right?
Here’s the truth. We are already enough. You are enough. I am enough. Every living being is enough simply because it exists.
Once you start believing that you are enough, without condition, you will accept yourself, have compassion for yourself, and love yourself. Accomplish this and you will begin to relieve yourself from the suffering fundamental to the human experience. Then your heart will overflow with compassion and you will not have the capacity to discriminate against another living being — an action that manifests from the deep subconscious belief that another living being is not enough.
Let us not react with schadenfreude, hatred, or shaming, which are the very tools used to engrave that insidious belief of not being enough. Instead let us believe “I am enough, without condition, simply because I exist,” so that we will respond to every living being with acceptance, compassion, and love.
Thank you for visiting. Your attention is a gift to me. My writing is a gift to you. I invite you to share this gift with others if you are so moved to.
This was written in Jamestown, ND, USA on Monday, April 13, 2015.