Thursday, November 19, 2015

Talking about Things that Matter

“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.

Source:  Facebook
Except for business purposes, I've pretty much opted out of social media this past year or so. It seems to bring out the worst in people and I found myself angry all the time. So instead of spending my time scrolling down my timeline, feeling angry, I instead read a lot of suspense novels. 

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.



EcoCatLady said...

Beautifully said.

April Michelle said...

It makes me sad, but I do feel good knowing my state is accepting refugees. I'm also proud of my friends who are pro-refugee.

Cherie said...

April - many Americans forget that most of our ancestors were refugees. Glad to hear your state hasn't slammed the door on people in need.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

The entire situation saddens me so much. I went on a news sabbatical these past several months because I was feeling so paralyzed by the reports about ISIS. I happened to catch some news bits here and there when the refugees first started pouring into Europe and that image of the dead boy on the beach. What a thing to come back to. The absolute horror of it all and shame on my state.

Cherie said...

Shona - I've been doing the same thing - trying to avoid the news and much of social media. But of course I still hear things. When I saw the ugliness of people after the Paris bombings I just couldn't stay silent. We have more homegrown terror than we know what to do with yet we stereotype people and deny them safe harbor. As you said, shame on our states.