IS IT ENOUGH YET? Can we overcome our basest instincts and listen to our better angels?
How sad that a good week for me, highlighted by an unlikely unanimous endorsement of CHARACTER COUNTS! by the Senate supported by a Presidential proclamation followed by an exhilarating 18 inning World Series game win makes my small joy and pride seem shallow an irresponsible.
Small consolations and pleasant diversions like these are mere distractions of an otherwise terrible two weeks. Consider the events of the past days:
• Political figures have been hounded and harassed in restaurants.
• Journalists have been vilified and threatened.
• A journalist who resides in Virginia was murdered and apparently dismembered by Saudi overlords.
• Thousands of fear-driven, desperate Central American homeless migrants are in the midst of a thousand-plus mile trek across foreign lands in a quest for refuge.
• Hundreds of investigators and police were mobilized to stop and track down a politically motivated avenger who sent more than a dozen package bombs to intimidate and possibly kill high profile opponents of his partisan sympathies.
• And today, the Jewish community of Pittsburgh and elsewhere were terrorized and the families of more than a dozen innocent worshippers were decimated by the exploding hated of still another unstable bigot.
We are in a very dangerous place. If we do not transform our outrage and anger into a lasting and serious commitment to reverse the momentum toward reform, matters will most certainly get worse.
We are already normalizing things that we must never accept as normal.
We are feeding and fueling our worst instincts – self-righteousness and intolerance over understanding and acceptance and selfishness over compassion and love. We are sanctioning grudges and pursuit of revenge and grudge belittle our capacity to forgive and to transcend our differences to work together to find solutions and bridge ideological chasms.
Disagreements need to be addressed with discourse, not combat.
We need to be held accountable to treat people we disagree with as opponents with different values and views, not as evil enemies to be persecuted and eliminated.
No one should encourage or condone the harassment of public figures in private places.
We must protect and respect honest journalists, whether we agree with their political orientation or not.
We must overcome the pressures of economic or political expediency to unequivocally re-assert moral leadership based on our best American values when foreign adversaries or allies’ disrespect fundamental human rights.
We must hold ourselves and the leaders we empower accountable to restore the conditions for respectful problem-solving discourse. We cannot let demand for civility and intolerance of inciteful hate speech be demeaned by the label “political correctness.”
We need to acknowledge the causes of mass migrations to safety and work with other nations to find humane solutions.
Our salvation requires that we overcome our basest instincts and listen to our better angels.
We are way past lamentation. We must act.