To all my friends and relatives who embraced the lie, or were caught up in it, or were so afraid of it that they had to accept it: Come home. It’s time now.
If you drank the Kool-Aid, if you said things you now regret to people who love you, if you dug your heels in and said yes to hate: Come home. Say you’re sorry. Say you get it now.
There may be consequences. Not everyone will be able to forgive you and you can’t expect them to. You rode the crazy farther than we ever expected. Maybe farther than you yourself expected. We watched you and worried. And waited. And hoped you would catch yourself. But you didn’t and people got killed. People are still getting killed.
In the end, those families may never forgive you, not just for what you enabled, but for condemning them to hate you for the rest of their lives. Hate is a burden no one wants to carry.
But some of us are ready to listen. Some of us are ready to understand why your pain and fear made you side with the bully. Some of us know we’ll never be the same until you come home.
I am angry at you, but I am more bewildered than anything. I never thought it could get this bad. Maybe you didn’t either. That’s a start.
Come home to the people who know you. We tried to tell you. We are the ones you can trust. Come home to us and ask what you can do to make things right. Explain yourself. Just knowing you’ve come back to your senses will be enough for some of us.
We are also in pain. There is a space you left empty. Do you feel the emptiness where we were too? Do you see the distance you’ve travelled, blinkered by lies, looking only forward toward some myth of righteousness? The only way to close that distance is for you to come home.
I am still here. I never left. I never called you the names you called me. I never laughed at your fear as you did mine. I know you were fooled by waving flags and sacred symbols. Those things can be manipulated to make you think your friends are your enemies. By people who don’t care about you.
Only love is true. Only the feelings and memories we built over lifetimes together can be trusted. I know who you are because I have seen you up close, talked to you over meals, shared life and loss with you in the everyday. You know me. No anthem can replace the bond we have forged. No manifesto can undermine the basic humanity we share. No darkness can make me believe you are lost to me.
Come home. Some of us never gave up on you. Come home and we will find your light again.