I’ve said before that my blog is not political and not religious by design and generally I mean it. But as I watch what is happening in this country, knowing in my soul that it’s not really about Ferguson or Baltimore but that it’s about all of us, my heart breaks.
My heart breaks because the divide and divisions we struggle with as a nation are confounding, complex and seem to be relentlessly unceasing.
What I see are people entrenched in their ideas of what race, class, powerlessness and poverty mean. What I see are people entrenched in positions based on political ideology. What I see are people unwilling to look beyond their own life experience. As a result, people are fearful, ignorant, angry, inflexible and intolerant.
What I don’t see are people willing to come together. What I don’t see are people able to change their hearts. What I don’t see is respect for the depth of the problems we face together as a nation.
Instead we are deafened to what we don’t understand or don’t want to understand. We walk in judgement of those who are different than us, without regard for their histroy. We allow fear of what we don’t recognize as familiar to us to drive our behavior and this turns our hearts away from grasping the realities of those less fortunate and less powerful.
How can we know what it is truly like to live in abject poverty if we ourselves have never worried about our next meal or if we will have a roof over our heads tonight when we go to bed?
How can we know what it is truly like to be discriminated against if we ourselves have never had to live our lives in its constant shadow knowing we are judged simply for being who we are?
How can we know the difficult decisions our law enforcement officers have to make in a split second if we have never been put in such dangerous and confusing positions?
As I listen to the people around me talk about what is happening in the country, I am saddened to hear the judgement of what I know these people cannot understand. I am horrified by the certainty by which some people speak because I hear the prejudice, I hear the ignorance and I hear the fear. Issues of race, class, powerlessness and poverty are complex and to speak about them with such obvious simplicity only widens the divide.
Our nation is in turmoil. Our nation is broken.
The divisions are wide. The divide is deep.
We must be willing to have difficult conversations with an open heart. We must let go of fear. We must be honest about race, class, powerlessness and poverty. We must be willing to learn. We must be open to change. We must accept our differences.
We must find a way to help each other instead of idly watching those less equipped continue to falter.
We need to learn to cherish each other. We are all part of this great experiment called America and we can do so much better. We must do better.
No matter our political affiliations, it’s time to move beyond what binds us, what blinds us and what manipulates our ability to see these issues with more clarity.
We need to fix it and we need to fix it now!