I feel like the country is more an edge than ever before. Election season is in full swing. Parties are using code words that thinly hide racism, sexism and the general hatred of humanity.
When one finds oneself ranting about a particular issue that one is passionate about:
1- One should become a public servant
2- One should inspire action
3- One should do something
4- One should at least get the message out if they feel it’s important enough.
We all owe it to one another to make this world a better place than it was when we arrived.
I need to say that again.
We all owe it to each other to make this world a better place than it was when we arrived.
Over the past past three weeks- I’ve heard more blatant racist, sexist, homophobic and religious intolerant comments that I’ve heard in a long time. Call it backlash. Call it free speech. Call it exhaustion over the economy.
But I’m calling it.
There are extremists on the left and the right.
But I like to think that there are group of us reasonable folks in the middle.
In the middle of the country.
In the middle of the political spectrum.
In the middle of life.
In the middle of a work day.
In the middle of a work out.
In the middle of taking kids to school, soccer practice or to the doctor.
In the middle of filing an unemployment claim.
Those of us in the middle, are the ones that need to start having meaningful conversations. With each other.
Conversations that inspire.
Questions that promote acceptance of each other even if we do not agree.
Listening so we can challenge our own world view.
We all have something to say.
But what isn’t okay- what has really got me bent- is when comments are made about groups of people that are hateful or based in stereotypes. And as bystanders we don’t say or do anything. Why? Because it doesn’t affect us directly. It’s not okay to laugh at an insensitive joke when we know the teller means the punch line. I’m talking about when the tellers are our friends, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbors.
I’m reminded of the poem-
“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
While I know there is debate about the origin- it’s point is still relevant. If we do not speak up or say anything because we don’t feel that something doesn’t matter in our world- we are still hurting ourselves. Everything is everything. We are all connected. A girl who is stoned to death on the other side of the world because she is raped matters to us. A little boy a few states over who hasn’t had a meal in three days because his parents can’t afford food matters to us. The problems seem enormous- but with everyone participating and understanding that we all want the same thing- to be happy and live a better life, the job may not seem so hard. Many hands make for little work. I had planned on ranting about what I heard that had me so tweaked.
Rather, I think I just want to say- that I am going to do my part to listen to what is happening- I’m going to listen for the whispers of little girls on the other side of the globe. Listen for the common ground that I know I must have with my enemy.
I will speak up in ways that are constructive and I won’t ignore hate- I will not be silent.
And I hope that you aren’t either.
The revolution is being televised- but we need to do more than just watch it.