Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?
In these United States, there are some outliers that seek to breed a new division. It like so many divisions of the past will be conquered and unity will prevail. Short answers are not welcome. Long listening is needed.
In the original war between the states, the United States divided over many issues. The biggest was the issue of individual and state rights versus federal oversight and decision making. Along with that came the issue of slavery, a heinous institution that continues to plague our world and be accepted in the darker corners of the USA in human trafficking and domestic violence. Those institutions don’t worry about race and color or even age. They exhibit the willfulness of mankind to control the lives of those deemed weaker.
In the original war, we lost more men than in all other wars combined.
In the original war, we moved on to enslave and slaughter the Native American while attempting to free the African American.
In the original war, men like U. S. Grant kept slaves and fought for the Union and men like Robert E. Lee spoke against slavery and fought for his state of Virginia and the Confederacy. It was a time, where honor and duty was to family, community and state and the divisions ran deep and deadly. Brother killed brother. Neighbors killed neighbors. As a nation, we have come far and have far to go. People will be people.
In the original war, we found peace as a nation through decades of unity. World War I and II brought all together in a common fight. After WWI, the Southern states began celebrating Memorial Day along with the Northern states. It took a long time and a common pain to bring the nation to semblance of healing. Civil rights remained uncivilly distributed and still pose issues causing us to work to decide what is a right and what is a privilege and what is a personal preference. It is not easy work. Our streets ran with blood during the civil rights marches and they run red again with anger and violence.
In the current war of ideas and preference, we move every day closer to destructive disunity. National treasures such as the right to free speech are trampled. National treasures such as the belief that all mankind is created equal and worthy of due dignity and respect are trampled. Today, it is a few. But a few can be built to many and many can destroy the union. The union is a fragile commitment to civil discourse and respect of differences. Multi-cultural means respect for differences not blind robotic similarity. A man’s heart is a man’s heart and it will not be changed by imposition and anger. It is changed in discourse and compassion. Hate builds hate. Compassion and contrition builds friends.
Compassion is what we have lost. In our search for meaningless meaning and trivial attributions we have abandoned our God and our commitments. Marriage is meaningless. Children are abandoned by their fathers at birth or shortly thereafter. Our churches, our deepest social glue, are empty and entertaining. Employee and employer have no real relationship but money and benefits. We are like overused Velcro, ready to disconnect at the slightest pressure.
Compassion breeds commitment. Compassion means we see and feel the hurt and pain of another and are moved to do something to relieve it. Anger wants to relive it not relieve it. Anger wants to point fingers and blame and shame. Compassion wishes to hide the hurt and find a solution. We have regulations that prevent speaking of medical and financial conditions, but no such honor of the issues and diseases of the heart.
Compassion breeds contrition. As a child, I was raised in a church that took a moment in every service to acknowledged that each of us is flawed and working it out. As a community, we looked at each other and admitted our broken condition that we might look at each other in support of repair. We knew we each were wrong. We reminded each other and committed to grow a better life.
As I child my mother and father taught me respect for others regardless of their emotional, mental, financial or physical pains. Hate is a pain bred of fear. Fear is a pain bred of lack of love. Love is a commitment to forgive and heal and sometimes overlook. Love in action kills fear and disarms hate.
The only thing that will win this war of ideals will be acts of contrition, commitment, and compassion.
There is a third party missing in the battle. The voice of compassion can look at a rebellious flag, statue, or organization and speak peace. Martin Luther King, Jr and those that followed him attempted to teach us that. The voice of compassion can speak loudly a right direction in the face of strong opposition without violence without hate without anger. William Wilberforce and the strugglers in England that brought about deep social change and ended slavery in the United Kingdom taught us that. It is men and women of faith that have been our salvation in free nations over the history of mankind. It is not the men and women of war and hate that have prevailed in our free nations.
Should we follow the lines of hate and imposition versus compassion, we will become like others that give up freedom to be right and then have no rights. Should the right hearted rise up and take the streets with compassion and faith, this moment too shall pass and be written in the history books as an uncivil unrest that was conquered by community.
Will you rise? Is there an ounce of compassion to understand and listen in you? Will you listen long and speak slowly? Should enough join in this then the voices of dissension will go quietly and as a nation we will move another step forward in our quest for deeper unity. It won’t be easy. It never is.
Maybe we will become more disgusted with human trafficking and family violence and seek long lasting solutions. Maybe we develop strong patience to understand our nation of immigrants must merge and merge and merge again with growing ideas and assimilation of cultures. That process never ends in a free nation. We change. We morph.
But to destroy our treasures of freedom of speech, religion, and assembly is frightening and unacceptable. To destroy the dignity of mankind is frightening and unacceptable. To destroy the free pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness is frightening and unacceptable. To fracture our families and accept and indenture any is frightening and unacceptable. Our nation has freedoms. Will you rise with a listening ear and a compassionate heart and faith the follows through?