Why Saying 'I Love All People' ALWAYS Comes With Strings Attached
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Politics and Activism

Why Saying 'I Love All People' ALWAYS Comes With Strings Attached

If you love everyone, then you don’t need to say it.

Why Saying 'I Love All People' ALWAYS Comes With Strings Attached
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We have all heard it at one point. We have all probably said it at one point. However, someone who has to clarify that they “love all people” is likely to have said or done something that proves the contrary. It may be intentional or unintentional, but either way, our actions make it clear whether or not we actually do love and embrace people of all walks of life. So, until your actions reflect that, stop making such an empty declaration.

When I envision someone on the internet saying, “I love all people” it is generally followed in my mind by the token maxim, #AllLivesMatter. The disingenuous sentiment — rather than offering love and support for all people like it projects to do — only successfully isolates a group or groups of people whose struggle is subsequently invalidated. What saying, “I love all people” here means to me is that you love all people … but only as long as they ignore systemic injustice around our country and in many regions of the world.

To that point, there is always the silent, but deadly “but” the follows the phrase, “I love all people.” When you are hearing it from someone, you might not realize at the time that it is acting as a “disclaimer”, but the person saying it is fully cognizant that they are trying to “soften the blow.” By starting off with a softer expression, the following words will seem at first like they are less cruel, and less intended to hurt the person or persons that they are directed toward.

The “but” is layered; it usually means that whomever says it claims to love all people … but only if they behave a certain way. As long as you exist within the parameters that someone sees as appropriate, you will never hear the “but” from their lips. It will still be there, but only used if they start to feel “uncomfortable” or they perceive their ideologies as being threatened. The person might be quick to say, “I love all people regardless of orientation.” The use of “regardless” should not be overlooked, but more to the point, the aforementioned assertion always comes with strings attached.

Firstly, no one drops that into casual conversation unless they feel that they have something to prove. Maybe they do genuinely believe it, but they surround themselves with people who feel differently and they want to prove that they are above the hate. Maybe they said something that they did not realize was homophobic and are trying to clarify that it was not their intention. Nonetheless, you are hard-pressed to find someone who says, “I love all people regardless of orientation”, who will not then add something akin to: “... but I don’t support that ‘lifestyle’ and do not believe that they should act on their urges.”

What we have is someone essentially saying, “Hey, I like you, OK? But don’t do anything that’s fundamental to who you are as a person because it makes me unjustifiably uncomfortable.” An equivalent version of that would be asking someone not to breathe so loudly because it disturbs you. People cannot control their “breathing”, and it is not something that they can change or switch into the off position. So, rather than expecting them to live to serve your needs, try acting with compassion, and try to think about what you are asking of someone.

If you love all people, then it shines brightly through your being and is not questioned by those around you. You can see that love in the little things that you do or say that remind others that all lives are equal, even if they are regretfully not treated as such. Moreover, if you love all people, you will never want or feel the need to express it in such a vague, empty statement because it is a great disservice to everyone, including those who live their lives genuinely.

I wrote this article before the horrific events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia throughout the weekend. Regretfully, I found it even more relevant when watching President Donald Trump's address about the white supremacist rally protest clash. Trump said, "I love the people of our country. I love all of the people of our country." Before he continues to throw around empty sentiments, he should actually act on his words by treating "all of the people with our country" — whether part of the LGBTQ community or the racial and gender minorities that he has targeted — with the respect that they deserve. Only then will it maybe be possible to believe that he is the Leader of the People.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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