Troubling Times

         I’d planned to write about attending my 50th college reunion at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls last weekend, and I’ll probably do that on another day.

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                However, given what’s been going on in our country especially over the last week or so, I’m compelled to put aside that topic in favor of a much more serious one.

                I ran across a quote that I’ve heard before, possibly by Edmund Burke, and while the origins of which are not set in stone, the concept, however, is.

              “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.

          When we see “bad stuff,” when we see people doing and saying terrible things, we must speak up. Otherwise, we’re complicit.

          When did things change in America?

          When did it become common practice for people to lie? I’m not talking about the polite lies we’ve all done at one time or another: “How do I look in this dress?” We smile and say, “It’s very nice.” When we think the dress is not flattering at all.

          No, I’m talking about out and out lies when the truth is easily demonstrated.

          When did it become common place for public figures to use name-calling and denigrating to make a point? And there be no consequences.

          When did it become all right to publicly ridicule the disadvantaged, the disabled, and minorities, or any of those who are different from ourselves?

          When did America become the land of the scared and not the land of the free, the home of the brave? Terrified of the other.Statue of Liberty

          We read on the Statue of Liberty, “Bring me your huddled masses yearning to be free.”  When did that change?

          Whenever it happened, I don’t like it.

          It wasn’t okay for someone to decide they could take out two former presidents and other Democratic elected and appointed officials. It wasn’t okay when blacks were shot. It wasn’t okay when a young man was beaten to death because he happened to be gay. It wasn’t okay when a man shot up Republicans playing baseball. It wasn’t okay when last Saturday in Pittsburgh, Jews worshiping in their synagogue were gunned down. Eleven souls. Countless family members and friends impacted.

           Violence is never okay for either end of the political spectrum or religious group.

          Oh, I don’t deny we’ve always had discrimination, and people have done bad things over the years. But I believed we’d come a long way.

          What’s been happening lately? It’s just wrong.

          We are a nation of immigrants. My grandparents came through Ellis Island from Germany. What if some person in authority had told them, “You’re not welcome here. Go back to your own country.”? I might not be here today because they’d have probably been killed during one of the World Wars.

          It is okay to disagree with each other about policy. That’s what our country is based on. The founding fathers disagreed about a lot, but they were able to come to consensus around the most important things. They found a way to compromise. Too bad this word has become a bad word in today’s world.

          We can disagree and argue, but our speech must always be civil. We must not fall into the trap of demonizing those we disagree with. We must never demonize the “other.”

          You know who the others are: They speak another language. They worship in a different way. They come from another country. They are a different sex from us. They are/aren’t college educated. They are homo/hetero sexual. They live in the country or they live in the city. They love sports. They hate sports. Hundreds of things can divide us if we let them.

          Our job is not to let them. Our job is to find the things that unite: We are all someone’s daughter or son. Many are a brother or sister. Many are a parent. We all love our families and want the best for them. God is the God of us all, no matter how we worship God or don’t.

          One of the first things I was told when I became an author was that I should keep my political thoughts to myself. Otherwise I ran the risk of alienating ½ of my possible readership. Over the years, I’ve struggled with this, but for the most part I’ve been quiet. But no more.

          German Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemoller’s words convict me.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I am not a Jew.

Then they came for me –
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Star of David (Free stock photo)

        I am privileged. I know that. But that also, means I have an obligation to be concerned and advocate for those who aren’t as fortunate, Let me repeat. Violence is never okay for either end of the political spectrum or religious group.

        I hope you will read these words in the spirit in which I’ve written them—a sincere concern about the direction some of the leadership seems to be taking the United States of America. This country works best when our institutions of checks and balances work. Right now, they aren’t working.  If you haven’t already (and I have), please VOTE. Vote for change. Vote for our children and grandchildren. Vote for our environment, healthcare, sensible gun laws, and those affected by DACA. Vote for those less fortunate than most of us are.

        Are you distressed about what’s been going on, too? Or do you see it differently?  As always, I’d love to hear from you, whatever your opinion.

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17 responses to “Troubling Times

  1. Well said, Marsha–and yes, I’ve voted. We went as a family to early vote, which included my daughter, who voted for the first time. Proud mother of two children who took the time to research the candidates and vote for those who represented their views.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When? When Trump decided to run for President and it’s still going on. He encourages violence, almost everything he says is a lie, he ridicules the disadvantaged, he calls immigrants “animals”, Mexicans “rapists”, etc. He is the lowest of the low. And still many people love and support him. You see the rallies. They must have the same mindset as he does, or they wouldn’t support him.

    If people don’t buy my books because of my political viewpoints, I really don’t care. Speaking out is more important than receiving $1.10 on a sold book. And in my case 17 cents on a $10.99 print book.

    Vote!! Vote!! Vote!! Clean up Washington!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Susan. I think it’s important to have the courage of our convictions, even if there is a cost to that. I struggle to wrap my head around his supporters way of thinking. I think I must try to understand them. Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

  3. As someone from another country I only see what you’re going through from the outside and it is a frightening view.

    If you don’t already read and follow Brene Brown, check out this one. It gave me a far deeper understanding of what is at the core of the problem. https://brenebrown.com/blog/2018/05/17/dehumanizing-always-starts-with-language/

    Meanwhile, I shall keep being the change I want to be in the world. (Ghandi’s words)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Kathryn. I’ve heard of Brene before. Thanks for sharing her post. I encourage everyone who stops here to do so, too. She’s really powerful. I’ve now signed up for her blog. Scary times down here for sure. I pray we don’t go farther down this rabbit hole. Thanks for being such an inspiration and for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your comments are spot on! I agree completely but remain in a state of turmoil about what action to take. Of course I have voted, but meanwhile I’m having a hard time remaining sane when I look at people around me whom I thought were good people, and yet they buy into turning away immigrants. I didn’t think the Christian position could be more clear. I’m about to have a faith crisis. It seems like the groups acting the most Christ-like don’t have Christian in their names – for example the Unitarians.

    Linda Carr

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Linda. I get you. That’s part of why I wrote this. I don’t have a big platform by any means, but I have a platform. I decided to go for it, realizing, I’d probably alienate some friends. But how do people who call themselves Christians support some of the positions they do? Not that I always get it right, but it seems to me, both the Old & New Testament say take care of the widows, orphans, and sojourners. So we pray, we vote, and we speak out. Thanks so much for stopping by. It was great fun to see you and other Sigmas this past weekend. 🙂

      Like

  5. Excellent. More people need to read this. More importantly, more people need to act on it. I’ve alienated several people whom I thought were “friends” by expressing my opinions about politics and current events. But you know what? I don’t care. If they don’t share my values. if they are not opposed to racism or misogyny or religious bigotry or politicians who lie in order to stir up public opinion, then I don’t want them as friends, regardless of shared interests.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Mike. It’s hard to have friends and family who see things so differently than we do. I’ve hidden some posts on FB that I just didn’t want people seeing. When it’s family, I don’t unfriend them. In fact, I don’t guess I’ve unfriended anyone. But I get so distressed when I read stuff people write, that is so off-base (IMHO), that it tends to shut me down. It’s like I can’t figure how to talk with them. We’re speaking different languages. But I know for the good of the country, we have to figure out how to talk with each other. I pray that we do. Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing the blog. 🙂 Hope you return. 🙂

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  6. You ask a great question – when did all this become OK? And I know exactly what you mean about being reluctant to speak about politics as an author. Good for you for speaking up. Who can keep silent in the face of lies, arrogant self belief, and bullying? And by the way, it’s not just in your country that lying seems to have become an accepted practice. When did this happen? Very best of luck in your forthcoming vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Helena. You can understand for sure with what y’all have had to deal with in Britain. Scary to see how fast everything can turn sour. Thanks so much for your support and good wishes and for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As Kathryn said, I’m watching from the outside and can’t help feeling how scary it must to be on the inside. Or a refugee, so desperate to escape their homeland, they’re willing to face armed soldiers from both Mexico and the US for the chance of a better life, not even a guarantee. You’re very brave and I admire you for it. I meant to stop by yesterday but didn’t have my password with me or the ability to remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, Pat. You’re right! How bad must things be in those other countries for people to even attempt this trek. Not sure I’d be brave enough, but I guess if people were being shot down all around you because of your beliefs, you’d be willing to try anything. I’ve got password issues, too, Pat. I can read a blog on my phone, but cant respond to it. Some password glitch I haven’t figured out. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your support. 🙂 I have to believe good will triumph.

      Liked by 1 person

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