“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
This week I stuck my toe in to see what it was like and what I had been missing, if anything. Unfortunately, I was reminded why I quit in the first place. The killings in Paris have brought out the worst in many Americans. Instead of seeing it for the utter tragedy it is, to dig deeper for the seeds of the violence, and to care for victims, they find it an excuse for paranoid, racist, jingoistic rants. I had to unfriend a family member who, not happy with just spewing ugly sentiments, had to PUT THEM IN ALL CAPS, including the grammatical and spelling errors. It's one thing to be angry with the perpetrators, but to put the blame on groups of people - Muslims, refugees, Syrians, the homeless, etc. - is ignorant, irresponsible, and dangerous. The more I scrolled through my feed, the more I wished I could "unsee" it all. But it was too late - my heart was broken and I couldn't remain silent.
These current events are most telling as Americans head into the biggest holiday season, when we observe one holiday, Thanksgiving, that resulted from a time of hospitality, welcoming the stranger, and cultural exchange. And another holiday, Christmas, where Christians celebrate the birth of the messiah who was born in a stable because his parents were refugees and who told his followers to minister to the least of these, including strangers.
It's also interesting to compare the following maps: one listing the states that are and are not accepting refugees; the other showing the most and least religious states:
Is it me or is there a pattern there?
All day today I felt my heart breaking. That a country, where many citizens take pride in being a beacon of freedom and wear their religion on their sleeves, refuses to help those in need - especially those fleeing the very people we say we are protecting the world from - is unconscionable. I know my comments and observations will fall mainly on deaf ears but I don't want history to reveal me as one of the good people who remained silent.