February is Black History month. It is a time to remember the many people who risked their lives to push for greater freedom to a group of people targeted for harassment and marginalization by the larger society. I think of heroes from Fanny Lou Hamer to Crispus Attucks who not only dreamed of a better day for African Americans but bravely risked everything to make it happen. The courage of heroes is necessary to overcome the strength of evil ideas that gain acceptance because they are expedient to the larger society. Everyone wants to feel special and advantaged in life but the question is who are you willing to handicap to get that feeling? Minorities around the world have been victimized by the answer to this question. Human beings have grown in their ability to see those who are not like them as people deserving of dignity, but we live in a time of increasing insecurity and tribalism. What will the future look like for human dignity? The answer to the question seems bleak right now, but I remain hopeful that there are many more heroes among us who will lead humanity toward the light.
Dr. Martin Luther King said that “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” As I look at today’s challenges this quote resonates as loudly as it ever has. We poison our planet with carbon and plastic while a few thousand billionaires have more wealth than over four billion people. In the United States and other countries tribalism is on the rise and threatens to destroy any effort at global collaboration to save, or improve life on our planet. Many Americans say they would rather have a dictator who thinks like they do rather than have a constitutional republic. Fools and foolish thinking is at high tide right now, but we can change that in 2020… it may be our last chance in more ways than one.
Lev Parnas has released documents and an interview that show The current president was soliciting assistance from a foreign government for the 2020 US presidential election. Clear criminal behavior on several levels that must be confronted by our leaders on multiple levels including legally. Should the senate fail to take the assault on our elections and Constitution seriously then the republic will be undermined. Send your senators a clear message that you demand a fair and impartial hearing of all the evidence available. There is an application called “5 Calls” that you can use to contact your representatives. Be a citizen and demand the US Constitution be defended and taken seriously by Mitch McConnell and every member of the US Senate.
For even the most determined supporter of Trump the moral arguments in favor of voting for him continue to vanish (if they ever existed). The world is increasingly complex and intertwined, but we have an administration stripping the government of experts of all kinds. The 45th president makes decisions based on opposing whatever his predecessor did, and does not seem to apply any kind of higher level thinking to problems or relationships. Lies are the most used tool of the President. The United States is dealing with increasing problems on a national, international, and planetary level, but we lack leadership that inspires respect of any sort. Who would vote for that?
The recent climate report issued by the UN has reason for hope in it. If humanity can plant 1.3 trillion more trees (enough to fill the space of the United States) the carbon in the atmosphere will be compensated for. This is good news in my mind because if we can quantify what it will take to help heal the planet then we can find a way to do it. Recent reports have been alarming in my mind, but this one stands out because while it says that things are dire; there are reasons for hope. Get together with family and friends and find places to plant some trees!
Where are we as a country when the president calls a city disgusting and rat infested and the major newspaper of that city calls him a rat? What do young people growing up in this time think of dignity and respect for our institutions? How are we as mature members of this society supposed to explain this reality? The real question is how can anyone who is thoughtful and decent be okay with four more years of this?
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is the first verse at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor. Apparently we are shutting the door to being the shining city on a hill, and becoming the torture garden for any who dare to come here seeking asylum. There are many who say that we have lost our way, and have become a pillar of selfishness on a planet that we have pushed to the limit of being able to support our species. We do little to lead the world in addressing the climate problem we have helped to create, and we allow our country to become the land of the cruel.