Another voice

Folks who follow my blog may be weary of my self-centered messages. Copied from her blog, here are the words of a dear friend. Post your “amen” and thoughts in comments and she (too) will be encouraged.

To My Friends

We are better than that.

This is not who we are.

That is not America.

Oh, but it is.  And those words of denial that I have been hearing and reading in news stories all week are making me crazy.

On a related note, when TV news repeatedly displayed footage of George Floyd’s killing, my heart revolted at the horror.  Holy crap,  why do you keep showing that over and over and over again?

The same thing is happening now with images and stories from last week’s right-wing extremist assault on the US Capitol.  A police officer screaming as he is crushed in a door by the mob.  Another officer being attacked by rioters wielding American flags.  Another officer, Brian Sicknick, beaten with a fire extinguisher.  He died later from his injuries.  One rioter was shot dead.  At least three others died in somewhat less dramatic circumstances, except for the one that may have been trampled by the mob.  Another officer present on that day has since committed suicide.  So much hurt, so much pain . . . and so much at stake.

When Nazi Germany was defeated and Allied soldiers found the horrors left behind in the concentration camps, they made local villagers walk through those camps to see.  To bear witness to atrocities that could not, should not be denied.  To put a stamp of hard, cold truth into the minds and hearts of participants and onlookers alike.  So they could see with their own eyes the end result of the road Germany took under Hitler’s leadership.

Likewise, we must look at these awful images of our own time.  For they are a mirror.  They are us.  By word or by deed.  By silence or averted glance.  Whether fanning the flames or facing them, burying our heads or making excuses.  We all contribute to the paths our leaders take.  To ignore or deny the gravity of this terrible moment in America’s history is to open the door to ongoing attempts at revisionism and continued lies–like Trump adding to his seemingly endless list of lies by blaming Antifa for the violence of that terrible day.  I am sorry, but this stuff isn’t harmless.  It isn’t entertainment.  It is reality, not reality TV.  And the stakes could not be higher.

To any friends who have read this far and find themselves made uncomfortable or angered by my words, please know that I struggle with my own flaws and cowardice on a daily basis.  I have tried–not always successfully–to stay away from politics, both here and when talking to friends who hold very different views from me.  I don’t like to engage in debate, mostly because I am a horrible debater, taking at least 24 hours to think of the perfect response.

I suppose this post is my response . . .  imperfect, and late, as usual.  It has now been one week since the siege on the Capitol.  News reports indicate more violence and turmoil may be coming.  If there is one thing I can say that I hope reaches a reader’s heart, it is this:  Please use your own eyes and your own ears and your own powers of discernment to find the truth.  Use information sources that offer simple fact-based reporting, as much as possible, and avoid those that seek to inflame.  Use multiple sources from a spectrum of reporting, even if it is uncomfortable listening to “the other side.”  Find a reliable fact-checking site and use it.  Talk things through with people you trust.  If you put all that together, truth can be found.

We need to do better.  Be better.  We owe it to America and to all those who have sacrificed to make it the best it can be.  We owe it to one another.  We quite simply owe it to ourselves, blessed as we are to be a part of this great country.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Dedicated to Mr. Green, a beautiful man, who gifted me with a heartfelt conversation about our world and our country as we waited for medical appointments in the parking lot of the doctor’s office–both of us too cautious to venture inside.  Once we got past the hesitancy of speaking to a stranger about weighty world events, Mr Green shared his powerful view of current events from the perspective of a very long life lived as a black man in east Texas.  God bless your sweet soul, and thank you for sharing, kind sir.

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