Who is not weary with the state of our world these days?
Another week passes in which violent acts and the rhetoric of violence, hate, and fear ratchet up yet further. My heart breaks for the victims and their friends and families.
This senselessness is not visited on our society by accident.
We cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by this steady diet of fear and foment. We cannot shrink in fear, take cover, or button up in self-censorship before the emboldened bullying and horrific cowardly acts.
This is a time to walk, always and obviously, in love and respect. We need to show our true colors, love and respect.
It was just a week ago that the Women’s March on the Pentagon happened and received pretty much zero coverage in mainstream media. This was a demonstration and launch of a movement in support of peace in this world.
Could it be that there are those who just don’t really want us to be aware of our strength? To be aware that our values of love, respect, justice, and peace are met in each other and shared by so many? To realize our power in those shared values?
We need to force that hand with ongoing, persistent displays, both individual and collective, of what most of us are really about and what we really support – love and respect, peace and justice.
I remember a time not so many years ago that I planted a sign in my yard that simply said, “Peace.” This was so infuriating to certain elements in the area, that the sign was repeatedly ripped out or stolen in the dead of night. The word “Peace” was somehow a threat to those elements.
What if everyone who seeks and supports peace, love, and respect in this world simply showed it?
Although it’s most of us, we’re a pretty quiet bunch – and certainly in terms of media coverage.
Fact is, though, it is most of us, by far. And if we can just wake up, stand together, raise our non-violent voices, and use our unique gifts to express the message of love and respect, we will find we are stronger and more powerful than the dark forces that have seized the stage.
The oft-quoted thought by John Stuart Mill remains as true as ever: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
And Martin Luther King, Jr.’s observation remains sadly relevant: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”
We all share this space on our planet. “Every man for himself” is not a productive strategy.
Let’s change the discourse. Let’s move away from the steady stream of vile rhetoric and behaviors to which we have become all too much accustomed and somehow tolerant. Let’s just not stand for it.
We need to speak in the light. Our words should reflect the intelligence and wisdom of the ages. We have the benefit of thousands of years of human history, after all. Violence and the language of violence solve nothing. They never have.
Let us go out of our way to step proudly and openly into the light for peace, love, respect, justice.
Stand firmly there. You won’t be alone.