As we travel I ponder my blessings, my circumstances, my world. My ponderings range far and wide, taking me first to my good and full life…friends, family, community, good health, a beautiful home, travels...
I have never spent a night outside, without a shelter, except by choice. I have never missed a meal. By world standards I am wildly rich. Privileged beyond measure by the chance of my birth. I am grateful for that. I understand I don't have the power of vast wealth or a white man's body -- both would provide me with a great deal more advantage. Nevertheless, I'm close to the top of the heap in privilege-by-birth. I understand this sad truth.
The mood of the nation is, from my observations, not enough about gratitude and too much about discontent. The sounds of hate and fear ring out, loud and clear. This anger allowed a man who yelled the loudest and hardest about what is wrong with America to walk away with the key to our country. His face, in angry distortion, led his campaign with hate as he yelled, "Make America Great Again"! He lied to scare us about our failures and weaknesses. He continues, as president, to spew hate and fear. There has been no attempt by this new leader to modify his words, to see the good and kindness all around him. To soften.
We're been told by the psychologists that it is easier to motivate with hate than love and this, I fear, is what we're now living. We hear hate daily and not just from the current president, but he is the cheerleader. People spew their hate for taxes, women who don't know their place, other religions, homelessness, poverty, criminals, other drivers on the road, bicycle riders and intellectuals. Many hate the government, the other party, the weather, and politicians! And immigrants, oh the fury. Perhaps, most especially, many have hated having a black family in the White House, for crying out loud, for eight long years.
Hate and fear have become the national pastime and it is ugly. In saying this I don't mean to say for a second that there aren't people hurting as income distribution is flowing upward or jobs become obsolete. Clearly reform is needed in politics, at all levels, and policies are needed to stop the rich from taking all the gold. So I do understand the desire for reform and change, but why, I keep asking, why the deep hate, the deep anger, the deep frustration, and the deep fear?
And in the stew of ugly discontent a mad man stepped forward to feed the hate, and a leader-of-hate was born. I refuse to let my heart or mind become hate fueled. Love and kindness must prevail and I hold hope it will.
My commitment is to protest and block our new president, when ever necessary, not because my party, my principles, my philosophy lost the election but because I believe the man we have placed in the White House is unqualified in temperament and experience. In his hate and ignorance he is dangerous to the democracy we strive to achieve. I do not believe America has a road to a future of great without civility, equality, integrity and love.
I am grateful for the country of my birth and I am grateful to be able to speak freely for what I believe is right and true...
“I've seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I've seen our future unfolding. All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work - the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there's an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime...And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember:
America is not the project of any one person.
The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word 'We.'"
~ Barack Obama
President of the United States of America