To the Editor:
Editors in smaller towns often need to be careful in how political their citizen opinion submissions are.
So I will try to be careful in expressing my concerns - no, they are fears - as to how our politically motivated divisions are creating hatred, anger, violence and death in our country now. And it is escalating, perhaps to an end that we do not know now, but may regret had ever happened.
The political divide and vitriol is being felt and mirrored from the halls of our capital to the halls of our schools, and into our neighborhoods and streets. And although all hate and vitriol can either start or end with each of us individually, OUR leaders of OUR Nation can, should and do set a tone that says “Do like me. Follow me”.
So I weep when I hear messaging from the highest level of the campaign trail that talks disparagingly about refugees from “dangerous” countries to a crowd of nearly all white European descendants, in a Midwest town that opened their doors to war torn refugees (“how did those refugees work out for you?”), surrounded by Native American tribes and their reservations. Then going on to say that the crowd has “good genes, you know that right? A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it? Don’t you believe....the racehorse theory? You have good genes (here) in.......”. Historians liken this rhetoric to that which culminated in eugenics-theory led “cleansing” (murder and genocide) of people from “unwanted” racial and ethnic ancestry, and other “defects”. It begins with rhetoric and divisive talk, and can end with a following of dangerous power.
I weep when I see the raging, never before seen fires out west; the never before known numbers of hurricanes of intense force in one season; the loss of 2/3rds of our planet’s wildlife in the past 50 years (catastrophic). Yet our country has rolled back environmental protections that had taken years to put in place; we have removed ourselves from the rest of the world’s concerns and commitments by blatantly opting out of the Paris Climate Agreement; and we ignore science and citizen observations from around our globe that shows undeniable warming and destructive consequences to our earth and oceans. But the deepest moral sin we have created against the earth and our local environments is our religious, national and personal irresponsibility as stewards of God’s Creation. And this is being led and exemplified by our leaders and their policies that put a higher value on cash and untethered capitalism over care of our only planet, and therefore of its people.
I weep when I hear and see our leaders of the Coronavirus Task Force putting forth the “official” policy of ‘social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks and not gathering in large crowds’ in order to help slow the spread of the disease - yet do not publicly practice it themselves as positive examples for our citizens. And even worse, host major events with hundreds or thousands of people who must sign a disclaimer that they won’t sue the organizers if they get sick. When asked, the Chair of the Task Force says it is up to each state how to deal with the safety measures - as if the nature of the virus changes at their borders. In the meantime our country has 4% of the population of all nations, yet has 25% of the world’s Covid cases. More cases lead to more deaths: over 200,000 of our family members and neighbors now (and growing). Yet I do not hear our leaders mourn them, nor attempt to mitigate the rising deaths through promotion of their own policies of safety.
Sometimes there is one very personal issue that we take to the polls with us as we vote. But there is no one political party or candidate that carries all of our own values in their platforms. Our voting decision must consider how our leaders in power will carry the tone and the moral compass of our nation and therefore of each of us as its citizens. We must consider the greater ramifications that will follow as policies are made, as laws are carried out, and as diplomacy or war are offered to our neighboring nations.
I am listening to the 489 generals, admirals and senior security officials as they take a public stand to halt these politically motivated divisions and the directions these divisions intend to take our nation.
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