As campaign rhetoric turns into hate crimes, community is ready to act
The election unveiled a mood among some in society, after a campaign that allowed underlying fears, anger, alienation and hate to emerge.
Having an African-American president may not have meant that the progress many wanted was attained. We know that for people with rigid ideologies and beliefs, policies crafted by give-and-take may feel like defeat, rather than as part of a healthy democracy.
It is disheartening to be clearly aware of the hate, but we must persist in efforts to challenge and overcome it. We must keep doing what we have been doing and more.
We must encourage and empower each other to persevere. We must continue to work for the values we hold dear. We must continue to be in solidarity with those who are targeted. We must continue to urge media to be responsible, because having a free press is crucial to democracy and freedom.
Sadly many in mainstream and social media, fall into traps of celebrity and daily crises—“breaking news”—over covering outrageous things being said. While it was good for ratings and profits, in the process, many media may have helped entice people to follow a “pied piper.”
Daily challenges, however, unfold. Some challenge the election results, the electoral college, the gerrymandering of districts and the influence of money. Others challenge conflicts of interest, media relationships, cabinet selections and changing policies. That’s part of healthy democracy.
How will we decide our responsibilities for the coming years. How will we support each other? How will we discern what fears are real given the spread of “false news”? How will we keep our frustrations from overwhelming us?
How will God be revealed in these times? Where will we find hope in these times? What will we give in these times?
Some answers are coming as the community steps up to confront divisions, distrust and damage fomented by hate.
Some are already challenging the ramifications as a few people feel freed to express their animosity toward “other” people.
In Spokane County, elected officials, law enforcement leaders, university and nonprofit leaders have denounced hate and have pledged to make more concerted efforts of educating people and engaging them in conversations.
We have to look at our own biases and model our affirmation of those who differ from us. We must learn about the diverse people in our communities and celebrate how we are enriched by encounters with people of different races, cultures, religions, ages, genders, abilities, identities and insights, even in our own families.
We have much still to learn and do.
We have much to celebrate and share.
We have to connect and persevere, even when we think our own perspective prevails. Without diligence, we may step back from the road to peace, justice, liberty, equality, love, sustainability and goodwill.
We need to keep informed. We keep sharing our lives and giving our lives, because the journey continues. We are not alone. We must care about both those who travel with us and those who may seek to block our way.
The reason we study faith teachings, gather for worship, participate in community and seek spiritual nurture is to be sustained for the long journey of faithful living.
Copyright © December 2016 - The Fig Tree