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The national holiday commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. is Monday; combined with the recent riots at the Capitol, my feelings ran high this week.
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
In the last 20 years since 9-11, I have listened to people accuse and attack “minorities.” I never thought of my fellow Americans as terrorists, because you know, those people are from other countries. Unfortunately, we grew our own. There they were, scaling the Capitol walls like monkeys and breaking into congressional chambers murdering and plundering like pirates.
I have friends who voted for and support Trump. Not close friends, but still. How do I love them? The Bible says to love my enemies. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Terrorists prey on fear and violence. Love, faith and trust empower and calm me. Security at local, state and national levels is ready to defend our right to a peaceful transfer of power next week. After all, there is always hope.
As the national holiday comemorating MLK, Jr., approaches next week, I think of his words above. Justice. This is one of my all time favorite quotes of his, but sad to say, I’ve always thought of it in terms of helping encouraging democracies in other countries, not preserving our own. But here we are.
I wish the media would not call the attack on the Capitol last week “violent protest.” It was a riot. Call it what it was. Unlawfulness. Two people died! Others were injured. In addition, it was a super spreader event for COVID-19.
Sadly, it reminds me of school shootings that were rampant until approximately a year ago when the schools dismissed because of the pandemic. What a strange mixed blessing.
I ask myself: What can I do? My 12 step recovery programs taught me early on to stop asking “Why me?” and recognize the problem. Then, brainstorm solutions. I am a mild-to-moderate social activist. In the last couple of years I ask myself specifically:
What can I do to understand my brown friends’ plight?
How can I support my friend whose husband is a cop?
How can I love my friends who support Trump?
How can I support overworked hospital workers?
What is gun control’s role in modern Americans’ lives?
What role does mental health play?
Over the years, I’ve done candlelight vigil marches. Participated in the trending days of service. Done volunteer work. Spoken to my children (and my students) about MLK, Jr.’s significance and also the fact that civil rights is still not over. Systemic and institutional racism are real. I am a part of that. Now I want to be part of its deconstruction. I scramble to communicate and commemorate for myself and my children what it is like to live up to my hero’s ideals.
When a emotionally unstable person acts on violence and tells themselves it is okay to do so, America, as it has been said lately, has lost its democracy. We are not a civil society when violence is not openly condemned by all. Democrat, Republican, Independent, Codependent…we’re all human beings.
I look for an event to commemorate my hero. A march. A vigil. A service day event maybe. Facebook posts have begun asking people to contribute in memory of him. Apps offer ideas and projects. Sure, I can do one or two of those. The school system is doing a virtual Martin Luther King, Jr., presentation on Friday, so I will make sure the kids and I watch that, too.
And I pray. I find small, meaningful, regular ways to give back to my favorite causes and charities.
I keep an open mind and heart to social media opportunities and stay “woke.”
The racism, the violence, and social unrest in my country today is unbelievable. Sometimes I think that we may be on the verge of another Civil War. Perhaps. Can we still peacefully work our differences out? The deep divide is tremendous. We don’t understand each other. Can we begin to tolerate, then learn to respect and love each other? What else can I do? I can utilize the volunteer app I found. Do one thing it suggests. I feel so much better when I take action, no matter how small it may seem.
God bless America, truly. One day, one hour, five minutes at a time.