Political shootings. People happy about political shootings. People outraged about political shootings.
Political violence. People happy about political violence. People outraged about political violence.
What has happened to us?
I was taught to avoid discussing religion and politics. But today, I’m going to address both.
As a country, we are reaching a point of fracture. I believe that our behavior and words will determine the direction our children will inherit.
Not so many years ago, someone portraying a decapitated president or threatening to burn down the White House would get arrested. Now, it’s called freedom of speech.
I was also taught that words have consequences.
It would seem that they no longer always have legal consequences, but I have no doubt that words do still have consequences.
Social media and other online venues allow individuals to say things that only a few years ago few of us would ever even have considered saying.
From behind computer screens and keyboards, electronic tablets, and cellphones, people say things to and about each other that most wouldn’t dare say to someone’s face.
We insult each other, we degrade each other, and we demean each other.
People have ceased to be civil human beings. People who disagree with us have become adversaries who must be defeated at all costs.
We disagree about religion. We disagree about politics. We disagree about disagreeing.
Many of us were raised in church. Many of us still attend. Yet, during the span each week between services, many of us also do what we can to discredit those with whom we disagree. Even if we disagree only in the slightest.
Too many Americans have adopted an “us and them” mentality. Even though by definition, America means “us.”
A national tragedy, such as a shooting, a stabbing, or some other violent attack, is no longer an event that calls for a moment of prayer or silence. It is now an opportunity for people to immediately take to Facebook, Twitter, or an online thread of network news posts, where, almost immediately, you now see an endless spew of vitriol, hate, and racism.
This type of now predictable behavior has gone on for so long, that we have an entire generation of young people who see this as normal. It is all that they know. And it is our fault.
For those of us who haven’t participated in all of the arguing and name calling, for the most part, we have passively sat back and been afraid to say, “Enough.” Whether it is because we are more concerned about being publicly labeled, or whether we have slowly allowed ourselves to succumb to the easiness of not making waves, the result is the same. The division is getting worse.
Our country is fracturing.
But, it is not too late.
Each of us has the opportunity to stand our ground. Not our religious or political ground, but our American ground.
Our forefathers put everything on the line to give us this country. Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and the others, all committed what was essentially treason to provide us the Republic that we have to day.
Generations have since fought and many have died to keep it for us.
Yet, today, too many of us stand passively by and say virtually nothing as numerous groups try, and to a great degree, are succeeding, in keeping us in verbal submission with their words.
Are we so afraid to speak the truth and stand for what is right that we are going to allow them to win?
I’m not suggesting that we have to stoop to the level of those who condone violence or yell their accusations of hate. What I am suggesting is that we assess who we really are, what we really stand for, and we calmly, intelligently, and with kindness, state our case, and show who we really are through our actions.
The Golden Rule still applies. We can get our message across to those who are trying to divide us.
It is difficult to be angry with someone or argue with them when they are doing something nice for you and are smiling.
Do I think that acts of kindness and smiles can immediately stop the anger in America and cure the country’s woes? Of course not.
But I do think that we are better than this. And I do think that together, we can turn the tide. We didn’t get where we are overnight, nor will we reverse things in the same amount of time.
If our country is going to come closer to being the one we all enjoyed as children, it has to start with us. Now. Today.
Each of us must make the commitment to avoid the temptation to argue, and speak ill of those who disagree with us. Whether that’s in a conversation, or from the false sense of anonymity we feel when we sit alone in a room and type on a computer keyboard.
Our country is on a path. Where that path leads is up to us.
It is my hope that the path still leads to One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
©2017 John Moore
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