I'm feeling so troubled about our nation that I must write something here to try to sort my thoughts. Twenty years ago, one of my favorite songs was by Lee Greenwood. It said, "I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free..." But now, I almost feel ashamed to be an American.
Too often now, I see people on all sides using "freedom" as an excuse for violence toward the 'others' they hold in contempt. In my opinion, our president's vocal criticisms, tweets, diatribes, name-calling, and arrogance have just exacerbated the problems. Evidently diplomacy isn't something CEOs of big corporations have to learn.
I grew up in the turbulent 60s and 70s. Now it seems like our country has backslid over 50 years. Racism, bigotry, chauvinism, seem to be running rampant again. The current administration seems bent on undermining some of the main progress made back then--the Civil Rights and voting rights legislation, the environmental legislation, and equal rights for women.
If you look back at our history over the past 300 years, you will find that scapegoating, blaming the poor for their own fate, and derogatory labels are nothing new. In other words, we have made no progress at all. And we dare to say, "Make America Great Again" ? It has failed to be great in so many ways, which we choose to ignore. Think about slavery, genocide of Native Americans, mistreatment of various races, and anti-immigration laws. The Statue of Liberty has a tablet engraved with, "...I lift my lamp at the open door." But too many want that door closed.
The COVID crisis has brought out our true colors, and they aren't pretty at all. Does anyone wonder why we have the highest infection rate in the world? Without even mentioning Washington, I think Covid has unveiled the inequities and weakness in our health care system, just for starters.
What really irked me was when I saw pro-Trump banners that said "Fuck your feelings." (I don't normally use that word in print.) My gut reaction was, "I want no part of attitudes like that."
I have decided to live by another four-letter word -- LOVE.
Where are the leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.? Men who reminded us that violence only breeds more violence, hatred just breeds hate. Darkness cannot overcome darkness. Only light can do that. But unfortunately, these great men were assassinated by other "Americans".
And the saddest part is their dreams died with them. Other lesser men took over and kept our country in the old divided, segregated form. That's the reason why we still have "Systemic Racism" 250 years after the end of the Civil War.
Some days, I feel like we're on the verge of another Civil War in our country. I know there are people who are wrong on both sides of everything. But if Christians would look at what St. Paul said in the book of Romans, about how Christians should act, it could go a long way toward helping. Here are some examples:
True Christian Love:
- speaks well of its persecutors. (Rom. 12:14)
- empathizes with all people. (Rom 12:15)
- remains humble, not proud. (Rom. 12:16)
- does what is right, with no expectation of reward. (Rom. 12:17)
- seeks to live at peace, as much as possible. (Rom. 12:18)
- does NOT try to get revenge! (Rom. 12:19)
If only there was more of this in the world...
There are many people, even some of my relatives, who vehemently disagree with me in this. But I am just going to pray for everyone. Lord, give us the strength to go through these troubled times. Help us hang onto hope, but protect us from false-hope.