So much has happened in such a short time. The pipe bombs sent to critics of Donald Trump, the racially motivated killing of two black people at a Kroger grocery store in Kentucky, the purging of 340,000 voters in Georgia by its Secretary of State - who is running for Governor against Stacey Abrams. And of course, the horrific massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
I have had a lot of trouble getting through these past weeks with my mental sanity intact. A good colleague and friend wrote me today, and spoke to the importance of character. And his words reminded me of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous words: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
If you view yourself as a conservative, I ask you to hear those words from Dr. King, and not just speak out to offer thoughts and prayers, but to demand accountabilty from our leaders, and that we bring America to its best possibilties of equality, civility, freedom and hope instead of division, discrimination, violence and fear. I would say to not fear real liberals, for they can be a catalyst for positive change.
If you view yourself as a liberal, I ask you to hear those words from Dr. King, and keep an open mind to listen and invite a real dialogue with people who may not always agree with you on issues, but do care about America being its best self. I would say not to fear real conservatives for they can help keep the ballast for our great ship of freedom.
If you are neither, and fed up with our political mess and are staying out of it - well then I ask you to now step in and help bring our country to its best self. Because what is happening right now is not working.
There’s a quote from Barack Obama back from 2006 about our politics - that “there was and always had been another tradition to politics, a tradition that stretched from the days of the country's founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another, and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done.”
This is what we must do - we must be invested in one another, and believe in that truth that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart. Next week we find out whether we can validate that truth.
I would like to close this post with a prayer for peace; it was one of the first prayers I learned as a child, to this day it is my favorite prayer and it still gives me hope. May God bless not just those killed in Pittsburgh, PA and Jeffersontown, KY, but all of our brothers and sisters killed in the hateful violence that has been afflicting our nation.
Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael. V’imru: Amen.
May the One who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and all who inhabit the earth. Amen.