November Gratitude Shorts, Day 19
I never intend to write on politics here, but I suppose if I am to be authentic in blogging, as in life, I need to express potentially controversial things at times.
In the past few days I find myself glued to Facebook, looking for information and reflecting on friends’ posts. I am grateful today for all the writers more knowledgeable and articulate than I, who strive to contribute peace and understanding in the face of fear and destruction. I hope I can make my own small contributions, too.
I share now the timeline of articles that have helped me cope with recent world events.
My friend posted this photo, which prompted me to wonder… “But what does it mean for an ordinary citizen to ‘stand with’ a whole other country at a time like this? It’s more terrorism happening, right? The root of that is hate, anger, self-loathing, and other pain, from what I have read. So maybe ‘standing with’ France or any other victims of violence means exercising more curiosity and compassion, less judgment and negativity, toward the people right around us, whomever they are, wherever we are. We may not redeem a terrorist this way, but we can at least not help make one?”
I did not know about the bombing in Beruit, and learned important perspective about media coverage of world events from this article.
Then, a friend posted an even deeper discussion of how we truly cannot relate, as Americans, to the horror in the Middle East, and an invitation to open our hearts and minds to awareness.
Tuesday, November 18:
Increasing news coverage about US governors announcing refugees unwelcome in their states. A friend posted a history lesson from the Washington Post.
I see opposing viewpoints emerging in stark and sometimes vehement relief on my friends’ pages. No refugees until all of our veterans are off the streets and taken care of! If you refuse refugees you let ISIS win, you are a pawn of fear, stop being a coward! Look at all the atrocities committed by Muslims! Oh yeah? Look at all these other atrocities committed by Christians! Do we really want to play this game of one-ups-manship?
Just when it felt overwhelming, and I wondered again what a single citizen could do, another friend posted this picture:
And another posted this article about a past governor of my home state of Colorado, who stood out and up for his inner sense of humanity.
And another posted this quote and photo of Robert Kennedy:
Finally today, I felt impatient with all the negativity. Everybody is scared. How could we not be? I have thought more than once just this past month that the world may actually end in my lifetime, the way things look now. But all the verbal attacks and undermining, the incendiary comments, stereotyping, judgment, and impulsivity, on all sides, just is not helpful. If your neighbor or friend rejects refugees out of fear, how does mocking that fear make anything better? Why must we choose between housing our veterans and granting asylum to refugees? Surely, if we call upon the best that is America, we can do both and more?
I posted on my own page today: “I need to look for articles on the GOOD that Muslims, Christians, and others do around the world. Comparing the harm that one group does, to the harm that other groups do, keeps our focus on dark, destruction, and pain. In order to really see one another in light, we have to shift our attention to the light.”
So I looked, and once again, other writers held me up:
A lot of people quote Mr. Rogers these days, and rightly so. Look for the helpers, his mom told him. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” We should take this advice, and not only look for the helpers, but try to be helpers, too.