Scott Corridan Design - Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor

Love Thy Neighbor


In my trade we build.

Spaces. Rooms. Buildings.




It is the rarest of us on this planet who live alone on an island. Far more common is the fact that we all live in proximity to another human being.

From ranches and countryside. To suburbs and exurbs. Apartment buildings and rows of townhomes. We live. Together. Side by side.

As neighbors.


Some of us have fences. Some have great lawns. Whether fences make great neighbors. Or the grass is always greener is always up for debate. When we set out to design for peace and joy, life and love… harmony, we ask questions. We design professionals do. Its most often the case that there are two sides to what make great fences. Two views on all those gloriously green lawns.

Fact is. From macro to micro. We’re all different. Different. In all the same ways.


My neighbors.


They include white people.

Brown people.

Young people.

Old people.

Married people.

Divorced people.

People with children.

People with grandchildren.

Heterosexual people.

Homosexual people.

Trans people.

People with high school educations.

People with Phd’s.

Children in public school.

Children in private school.

Children being homeschooled.

Homes with guns.

Homes that banish guns.

People with loved ones who are incarcerated.

People who’s loved ones – and they themselves, are fighting drug use and abuse.

People who are healthy.

People who have any number of physical realities that challenge their health.


There’s all kinds of people in my neighborhood. Over and through all kinds of fences. People I think of fondly as neighbors. Some with great green lawns. Some with beautiful forested land.


In our neighborhood there are many places of worship.

Predominantly there are buildings that provide a foundation for Christian thought and worship. We don’t have a synagogue though we have a very active Jewish community. We don’t have a mosque, but we do have neighbors who are Muslim. We don’t have Hindu or Buddhist temples, but we do have Hindi and Buddhist people in our community.



We go to the beach.

We boat.

We hike.

We ski.

We ride horses.

Our children play in organized sports.

They go to school.

We say ‘ hi ‘ at the grocery store and the post office.

We catch up over coffee and ice cream in the shopping centers around town.

We know when someone will be out of town and we keep an eye on their home and their pets.

We learn of challenging news when someone has lost a loved one or is sick themselves.

And we deliver food and cards with hand-written notes letting them know we’re here. Here to help.

We work hard to help those in our community with economic challenges.

We applaud and celebrate those in our community who give back.

We value our law enforcement, and all our first responders.

Our hospital is stunning.

Our pets are well taken care of by veterinarian professionals.



We – all of us – are neighbors.


“ You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than this. “

It took me a long time to love my self.


A long time.


I did a mostly good job along the way… for 45 years – to make it look like I loved myself. Valued my personhood. Felt a part of my world. Was confident. Was strong.

Truth is… there was always a narrative in the back of my head that told me – quite loudly – that I was wrong.



An abomination of God.

I should be dead.

Should not move amongst the others.

Living a life defined by sin.

An affront to American values.

Could never be Christian.


While I faked it on the outside, and tried so hard on the inside to tell that voice to go fuck itself. I can’t deny, that I believed the voice. Always disabling my journey forward.


In 2014, when The United States Supreme Court legalized marriage equality… I cried.

I was at home when the news broke. I rushed to my tv to turn on any channel providing live coverage. And with utter disbelief I watched and listened. That The United States Supreme Court had legalized marriage equality. Across all our lands. All 50 states. The District of Columbia. Our territories. It was ironic that I was engaged to be married at the time. A marriage that, legally, could not exist when we got engaged just the year before. But a union we saw as valuable all the same. Of greater importance though, for the first time in my 45 years, I…


my government…

tell me…

I was human.

That my life had value to our community. That in my humanity, I was due the same rights and protections as all my fellow humans living their lives in The United States under the glow of our star-spangled banner did.

That I had an inalienable right to live.

That I had an inalienable right to be free.

An inalienable right to prosperity.


That I was the…


as everyone else.


Until that moment, I had lived a very clear life of being… different… from everyone else. Because everyone told me I was different. Often quite aggressively. And often with an entitled sense of aggression and justified means for violence and elimination of my person. Rooted, in large part, to warped interpretations of the very same book I read for decades at Saint Catherine’s. The Holy Bible.


I identify strongly as Irish.

My grandfather, long since passed, is responsible for keeping that sweet, harpsicord song of clover and faith and community alive in all of us. He passed it down to my dad. My dad passed it down to me and my brother. My uncles and aunts have carried the torch and lit the batons of my cousins. Today, all of us as parents, have passed it to our children. With Ciaran’s and Kael’s and Aiden’s and Keira’s amongst the next generation.

Our kids, today, only know of extraordinary castles, incredible churches, the best whiskey, the darkest most delicious beers, the warmest wool sweaters, the smartest and strongest horses, the joyful songs every night at a pub, the brisk wet weather that keeps everything green, and the blissful shine of a great sun that warms our skin… peppered, with Irish cajoling, with the occasional ‘ kiss my Irish ass ‘ only to be followed by ‘ when Irish eyes are smiling ‘ . Thank you Aunt Kitsy!

My generation – over these past fifty years – remembers the Irish Republican Army. The bombings. That there was a difference between we Catholics and people who identified as Protestant. We didn’t hate them like our parents, and certainly our grandparents, did. We just were told they were different. Not like us. Less than us. That the English weren’t to be trusted. The the Crown was a slave owner. We knew there was something important about Kennedy becoming President of these United States. But we hadn’t voted for him. We weren’t even born yet. We were told the echo of Clinton becoming president was equally important to continue our Irish immigrant path toward a greater life in America. That a Congress populated by Irish last names was a sign that our dark past was moving away from us. That somehow we were moving toward becoming human.

And we’d ask… haven’t we always been human?


The answer was no.

We HAD NOT always been human.


When my grandfather and his sisters arrived in New York City by way of her torch held so high, passing by the Statue of Liberty, there were signs in Manhattan and the growing suburbs – at church entrances, at drug stores, at restaurants and cafeterias, at department stores, at playgrounds, at schools…

The signs read:


No Blacks

No Irish

No Dogs


Manhattan. New York City. New York. The United States of America.

And Boston. Massachusetts.

And Chicago. Illinois.

And Baltimore. Maryland.

And towns and villages throughout the Northeast and the growing Atlantic seaboard.


No Blacks.

No Irish.

No Dogs.


What Americans were telling any of us who fell in those three categories – spoken openly behind closed doors, spun more ‘ correctly ‘ in open forums was…


No Niggers.

No Micks.

No dirty animals.


We, the Irish, and the dark skinned – whether from any country in Africa or elsewhere where dark skinned people are the norm – were told, without reservation or filter, by a majority that ruled, that we were… dirty filthy feral animals. Not entitled, under any human circumstance, to the same life, liberties, and prosperities of… the white people inside those spaces. We were less than. Our country, our laws… our neighbors were not there to love us.


We couldn’t eat… at the same food counters.

Drink… from the same water fountains.

Live… in the same buildings. Or often even the same blocks in the grid of Manahatta.


We couldn’t… shop in the same stores.

Stand… in the same lines.

Go… to the same schools.


We couldn’t… aspire to be anything more than housemaids, or janitors, or nannies, or garbage collectors.

No surprise, after fleeing Ireland from famine or lack of opportunity and oppression – or both, we had lived under British rule in exactly the same manner.

Growing fields and fields of produce, raising head after head of livestock, all to ship off to the Crown. Grateful for the potatoes left behind for us to forage and make due with. The one thing we were allowed to grow for ourselves. Take anything else and we’d be… killed.

Somehow… somehow, America felt better than all those previous centuries of British oppression. Somehow… we’d have a chance to do better in America.

So being called a ‘ Mick ‘, hurled with damaging intent from a horse drawn carriage or passing motor car, sneered under a lip from a white mother pushing her baby on the street, said right before a doorman slammed a door in our face telling us to enter from the back of the building… wasn’t all that bad. We could make this work. At least it wasn’t Ireland under the oppressive rule of the British Crown.


In all our very big conversations that are happening right now — long overdue, forcing us to finally all to sit down together at the American table of our quiltwork of humanity. We are reckoning with our poor choices over these past few hundred years. In this moment of reckoning we are re-languaging our vocabulary. Resetting our internal moral compasses to be aligned with… with an ancient command.


To love our neighbor.

As we love ourselves.


A command we have given a lot of lip service to over the millenia. By every large measure have failed at miserably. Now. This is our time. To atone. To make right. To walk forward. Heads high. Shoulders back. WITH… one another. ALL OF US. Together. Neighbor with neighbor. With LOVE.


The Mick. The Nigger. The Wetback. The Jap. The Squinty Eye. The Redskin. The Terrorist. The White Supremacist. The Fag. The Dike. The Trannie. And yes …

The Kike.

And the Towelhead.


Said correctly. Removing the fear and misplaced anger that give these derogatory words power. With the dignity and respect we each deserve as a God given right for our humanity.

The Irish. The Black American. The Hispanic. The Japanese. The Vietnamese. The Indigenous. The Muslim. The disenfranchised Anglo. The Homosexual. The Transsexual.

The Jew.

The Arab.


[ Of note – do not call me out for my use of language. These words were created by others. Long ago. Said repeatedly in the home I grew up in. Said today by many Americans without any hesitation. Yes, it sucks to read them. Yes, it sucks to say them. And they exist. En masse. In our current American world. If we don’t acknowledge that, speak openly to it, it will not stop. It will only get more powerful. And it will continue to fester. ]


We. The United States of America. Have long seen it as our global duty.

To protect the rights of we Americans.

To protect democracies we ally with around the world.

To spread the word of democracy and a free economy.

To lead by example with the glory of capitalism founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


While China has surpassed us now in military might, we still carry the mantle as the Leader of the Free World. We see it as our duty. To build alliances and participate in NATO. To craft open economic borders with NAFTA. To hold a prominent seat in the chamber of all nations united at The United Nations. To be certain we’re one of 7, always in the G7. That our voice has the most impact and power in the G20. That our Wall Street [ named because it was the wall that all the enslaved Negros were paraded in front of to be purchased by white landowners ] leads the global markets as the premier standard bearer for all of prosperity.

Through it all, that we are a living testament to loving our neighbors as we do ourselves.


As I write this, the death toll in a regional conflict with global ramifications has surpassed 9,000 human beings.

In 14 days.

Over half – that is OVER 4,500 – of these human beings are children.

To be clear a ‘ child ‘ is a human being, by our definition, under the age of 18.

Over 4,500 human beings under the age of 18 have been killed as of this writing.

In a geographic area not larger than the City of San Francisco. Or Washington DC. Or Boston. Or Manhattan.

In 14 days.


This, after being cut off from their water supply, their food supply, their electrical supply, their medical supplies.

Witnessing their homes, their friends’ homes, their family’s homes, their schools, their places of worship, their places of medical care… obliterated.

Obliterated right beside the obliterated human remains of their parents, their grandparents, their brothers and sisters, their cousins, their friends, their school teachers, their doctors and nurses.

Arms, legs, heads, hands, feet, flesh, blood… strewn all over the landscape. Unrecognizable. As far from ‘ human ‘ as a person’s physical body can be.

ALL OF THE MUNITIONS used to create this damage and loss of life have been manufactured in The United States.

Sold by The United States to Israel.

Made by US. Sold by US. To what we are now coming to the American and Global table to understand, is one of the most historic oppressors in human history.

Israel has suffered casualties. Approximately 1,400 as of this writing within the total estimation of lost human life. The majority of whom were killed in the first two days of this regional conflict. While all those who have moved on over the past 12 days have done so under their ‘ Iron Dome ‘ . A protective dome not in place next door, over the fence. Where there is no grass.


How long does an oppressed person bite their tongue. Fearful of what their rightful words may do if spoken out loud.

How long does an oppressed person keep a gun, or a knife in a secret place in their home, hoping to never have to use it, but knowing if pressed to save the life of their child or a family member against an oppressor they would make that difficult choice. To kill.

How long does an oppressed person continue to be beaten and not finally break. To yell. Scream. ‘ Lose their mind ‘ .

How long does an oppressed person believe they are less than – NOT human – before they come to accept that their humanity is exactly equal to every other human being they see and interact with.

How long does an oppressed person get forced down ‘ different ’ streets, sidewalks, shops, buildings, water fountains, bathrooms, medical offices, schools… all at sub-standard levels of cleanliness, care, and dignity… until they just can’t anymore.

How long does a parent look at their child, stripped day after day of any humanity they hold, taking every ounce of dignity they may mature to… and just snap.

How long does an oppressed person hold all of this… before they look at the oppressed person beside them… and say – ENOUGH. I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE.

How long before those two oppressed people look to the other oppressed people… in their home. In their building. In their neighborhood. In their village. In their school. In their place of worship. In their city. In their country… and say –




How long.


How long.




How long.



How long is a question we can look to history to help us find the answer.

History – from the Vatican to the United States to, yes, Israel – can be written many different ways.

I think we can globally agree there are some ‘ experts ‘ who may have an answer as to how long.

How would George Washington answer that question.

How would Thomas Jefferson answer that question.

How would Harriet Tubman answer that question.

How would Ann Frank answer that question.

How would Rosa Parks answer that question.

How would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr answer that question.

How would Emmitt Till answer that question.

How would Harvey Milk answer that question.

How would Barbara Gittings answer that question.

How would Cesar Chavez answer that question.

How would Ruth Bater Ginsberg answer that question.

How would Tarana Burke answer that question.

How would Alisa Milano answer that question.

How would all the anonymous victims of Church sexual abuse answer that question.

How would all the anonymous victims of The Boy Scouts sexual abuse answer that question.

How would Nelson Mandela answer that question.

How would Benizar Bhotto answer that question.

How would Aung San Suu answer that question.

There are hundreds – probably thousands over the span of all humanity, who can expertly answer this question.


There are… or at least were, 14 days ago, 2.1 million – TWO.ONE MILLION – human beings who are expert in their knowledge and ability to answer that question. How long.

The answer is… WHEN ITS ENOUGH.


When the oppressed can simply no longer take it.

That ubiquitous straw.

The one that breaks the camel’s back.

That one.

The one that is the last one.

And the oppressed can no longer take it.


WHEN ITS ENOUGH. That’s when.



Its enough.



In this moment. These fourteen days. A minaret, built on decades of oppression, over centuries of hate. History is telling us… Sadly, one more time.

  • The oppressed will break. They will snap.
  • When the oppressed break, their anger brings power to a voice that can do nothing more than scream.
  • When the oppressed, at the greatest volume they can scream, scream at the oppressor, the oppressor hears truth. Finally. In a way that cannot be denied.
  • The oppressor, because they too are human… and they too have a conscious, cannot accept the truth of their oppression.
  • In a predictably – history shows us again and again – human way, the oppressor lays in hard and does everything possible to extinguish the scream. As painful as it is for the oppressed to scream, it is in fact equally painful for the oppressor to hear. They know they’re wrong. They’ve known it all along. And… somewhere under all of it. They’re sorry. And they can’t deal with the pain of their sorrow.
  • As a human animal, we find it so much easier to fight and to annihilate. Than we do to embrace. Find a common path forward.
  • The oppressed will kill the oppressor
  • The oppressor will kill the oppressed
  • This cycle will continue until utter exhaustion – physical, emotional, spiritual, financial… exhaustion takes over… both… completely. Then… the two can do nothing in that moment but look at each other. And see each other’s humanity. Their neighbor. Who, like them, just needed to be loved.


In… Spaces. Rooms. Buildings. Schools. Hospitals. Mosques. Temples.



Love thy neighbor as you would love thyself.