And because the stories in my brain and questions and wonderings have not sorted themselves out, I’ve stayed quiet. We don’t need another ill-informed knee-jerk half-stepping commentator bellowing into the tumult.
Do you have a moment? Will you walk with me a bit and maybe together we can sort a few things out?
Earlier in the week, a bunch of Texans surrounded and protested at a “Stand with the Prophet Against Terror and Hate” conference organized by other Texans who happened to be Muslim. “Go home and take Obama with you.” “You are not Americans. Don’t fly our flag.” One supergenius, Greg McKinley, spoke for the group, “If they want to live their life like the Middle East, they can go back to the Middle East.”
You mean the Middle East that was also the cradle of Christianity? Where that poor immigrant kid was born in a food bin and whose birth you likely just celebrated by trading a boat load of gifts with your peeps? That Middle East?
And, wasn’t the President born in Hawaii (USA), spent time for a bit in Kansas (USA), and lived/worked in other middle west locales (Chicago, USA)? His mum was from Kansas (USA) and his dad from Kenya. For the record, Kenya is an African nation on the western coast and not considered Middle East. Again, Israel (birthplace and home to that sweet kid in the manger), is considered…how do you say, “MIDDLE EAST.”
This is not a Texas problem, nor is it indicative of all Texans, southerners, white people, or people named, “Greg.”
Are we – as humans – bound to hate and jeer and despise and fear what we cannot understand or worry will take away our grandiose share of “stuff”? And how is it so easy to ignore our cultural past (Crusades anyone?) and singularly focus on the violence-de-jour?
What about the Alabama school superintendent who denied students from screening “Selma” because he feared that the language was bad (“two F-words”)? Are you saying that the lexicon in the halls of your schools is not rife with language and activities that makes two F-words seem like a Disney song?
And school seems like a great place to learn hard facts and process them in ways that build up a community and not tear it down. Schools – imperfect institutions – seem to be the second best place to debrief hard stuff. (First place: around the family dinner table or anywhere else with your framily if you are fortunate enough to have a healthy one.)
Perhaps, the Superintendent didn’t want to mar Alabama’s Robert E. Lee Day observances.
I had another creeping night shadow that woke with me and followed me about Monday. If you ever think that rape is a single (can I say “one-off”?) event, then please, let’s pick up some coffee and talk.
Waking and being overcome without warning by an insidious anniversary wore me out. How is it that small children, women and men of any age or ability…any human any where is allowed to be bought and sold for personal pleasure or profit of any kind?
It’s not just the obvious human trafficking.
What about the tabloids that line grocery store shelves and digital space? We barter in information about celebrities and others with a gleeful schadenfreude and lap up stories and photos of people at their worst. Rarely do we get to peek at people at their best. (If you need to see people at their best, check out Humans of New York, Adventures in Missions, and Doctors/Engineers/Knitters(?) without Borders.)
We commoditize each other so casually that when a child is raped, a wife is beaten by a sportster player, a female/male teacher rapes students, a senior adult is scammed out of their savings, or a special needs neighbor starves for interaction…we file it away as another tabloid event.
We need to start feeling and thinking and acting on behalf of the long-term sustainability of our human family. Really. Think about it.
If that were your kid or your girlfriend or grandpa, wouldn’t you want someone to step in and act in a way that builds, protects, and speaks to familial connection rather than as an unknown random easy-to-not-intervene stranger?
Will the end of civility and compassion be the beginning of the extinction of the human race? Will greed and violence and untrustworthy talking heads become the meteor that wipes us out?
So what to do?
I don’t know. My brain stays in the deep end of the pool and of late, I cannot find a way to help us swim safely towards shore. It’s been hard to see shore at times.
Perhaps, today, we can choose one moment to be kind.
One moment to see and try to understand.
One moment to act – quietly or loudly if you must – on behalf of kindness and another person when our action in no way benefits us presently or in future.
Perhaps, we can just try to be the people we sure as hell hope other people will be to us when we – and our loved ones – are most vulnerable.
That’s a flag I can live and die under.