You have at least one important thing in common.
Relax, I am not about to compare you to Alex Jones, Laura Ingraham, or their fellow travelers. If you like those folks, you likely are not a reader of this blog. But if you do happen to find them agreeable, you are still welcome to stick around and see what we have to say today.
The last few days have been banner days for showing the ugly side of our species, and some hopeful signs as well.
- Alex Jones finally is purged from most social media. Apple led the process on iTunes, followed by others. Only Twitter seems insistent that what this guy puts forth is OK with them. They did finally remove a few tweets, but as of this writing Jones retains access to that microphone. And he has thousands of followers.
- Laura Ingram had an on-air rant last week that was racist. No other way to interpret it. When called on it, she said she was misunderstood; people were looking for reasons to attack her. I defy anyone to read/listen to that clip and conclude it was anything but full-throated white nationalism. In case you missed it, here is the full quote. Ingraham said on Wednesday:”In major parts of the country, it does seem that the America we know, and love, doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted on the American people and they’re changes that none of us ever voted for and most of us don’t like.”
As she spoke, film on the screen behind her depicted people scaling what appeared to be a giant border wall or slipping under a fence.
Shortly after, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke tweeted a link to what she said, calling it “one of the most important (truthful) monologues in the history of MSM.” He later deleted the tweet.
Gosh, how could we have confused “massive demographic changes” with race baiting? If you are wondering how extreme a commentator has to be to be pulled from Fox, keep wondering.
- We are at the 1-year anniversary of the tragedy and the affront that was Charlottesville. Rallies took place last weekend in Charlottesville and Washington to celebrate that event. Much larger counter rallies are also planned. Be glad for that imbalance but don’t feel too comforted by it.
That we have Americans who celebrate what that event stood for is somewhere between enraging and heart breaking. One would hope that we are better than that, but that strain lives among us, and it feels emboldened.
Which brings us to – YOU. What do you have in common with all this? Simply this. You live here at the same time as all this is going on. You have some level of access to media and your community to speak your mind, to stand for our values, to face evil when it is present.
It is a near universal truth that bullies don’t handle confrontation well. Stand up to them once and they often fade into retreat.
It is my hope that we can find ways to dialogue among many of us, find some common ground, and work toward a better day.
But we are also called upon to recognize that some among us have zero interest in a better day that includes us all. They are committed to racial nationalism, xenophobia, and scapegoating on a massive scale. There are more Steve Bannons out there than one would like to consider.
Martin Luther King Jr, and others in similar words, have told us that evil triumphs when good people stand by and do nothing. While much of this ugliness has reared up into public view in recent months, I have been inspired by countless small acts of courage and quite confrontation by our fellow citizens.
In grocery store lines, at gas stations, at public events – people have stood up, defended others, and said, “This will not stand. This is not the American way.”
It is an understatement to say that we are in dangerous times. I expect we will weather it, but that is not a sure bet. To a larger extent than many of us realize, or wish to acknowledge, that outcome is at least in part up to us.
Will we have the patience to reach out, listen, talk to each other? Will we have the commitment and the courage to take a stand when confronted with evil?
Interesting times, indeed. As mid-term elections approach and the Mueller investigation comes to a head, these times will get even more interesting and more challenging for all of us. These will be desperate times for some.
As I noted last week, history calls. For these issues, it is calling not just on public figures, but on you and me. We don’t get to sit this one out.
Find allies where you can. Reach out to those not obvious allies and try to find some common ground. Stand up to the rest of them. Sister Simone of Nuns on the Bus fame called on us to run towards trouble. Good advice.
If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do two things:
(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here.
(2) Share the word about this post with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts. Let’s grow our circle.