We all want to honor those hurt in the attack on our country in Boston. We all want to honor the heroes. And we have poured out support.
We have thanked police officers. We sent money for the victims and sang Sweet Caroline. We were #BostonStrong. We #PrayedForBoston.
We learned the names Carlos Luis Arredondo and Sean Collier. We applauded their heroism.
All this is right and true and good.
But once the streets are cleared and the flags put away and the city of Boston resumes its rhythm, there is something you can do to make the world a better place and honor the memory of the Boston bombing heroes and victims.
Make friends with a Muslim.
They’re there. For most of us, they’re nearby. In the schools. Working businesses. Living and voting and worshipping alongside us.
So what’s the difficulty? Stretch a little and make a gesture. Nobody’s asking you to wear a chador. (Memo to self: Look up what a chador is.)
Invite a Muslim child to play with your children. Invite a Muslim family over for dinner.
It’s ok. (Don’t make pork. That’s easy enough.)
Make a little effort.
Do it because this is America and we believe in freedom. We welcome everyone. We give everyone freedom regardless of their creed, faith, ethnicity, or economic status.
We embraced English religious refugees and Catholics running from strife in Europe. We absorbed Irish and German and Norwegian and Chinese and Japanese and Vietnamese and Mexican and Laotian and Hmong and Russian and Armenian and and Salvadoran and Guatemalan and Cuban and Puerto Rican and Somalian and Ethiopian and Kenyan.
We made major mistakes, but people kept coming and America kept absorbing and learning.
Make friends with a Muslim because the only way to beat radical fundamentalist Islam is to be better than them. To reach out when they destroy. To understand plurality when they refuse to do so. To honor basic humanity when they dishonor it.
We do not hate people because they are different from us. That is America.
We do not restrict your choices to be chaste or promiscuous, to be selfish or kind, to wear a beard or not, to be Muslim or Christian or Buddhist or nothing. We do not bar you from saying what you like about a prophet or Jesus or the pope or the president. That is America.
We are fair enough and smart enough to separate the bad apples from the bulk of Islam, just as we can separate Westboro Baptist Church from the bulk of Christianity. That is America.
We can and do work and live along side Muslims, take the same subways, drive the same roads, vote at the same polls. That is America. Together, we are America.
We can cook you a hamburger or a hotdog (hold the pork) or sauté some salmon and talk to you about our kids and our jobs and whether or not a Sweet Frog shop is opening down the street. We can mix up some lemonade and put out some chips. That is America.
What do you say? Can we do some barbecue diplomacy? Can we grill for peace? Can we show that we are strong enough to overcome hate with love? Can we find understanding through potato salad?
Honor America. Honor Boston. Let’s break some bread together.