In the immortal words of Monty Python, “And now for something completely different.”
My last dispatch raged on about Trump and his neanderthal Republican supporters and sycophants. I blamed myself — and was genuinely angry — that I hadn’t done more to help people understand how dangerous and imbalanced Trump is. I suggested that we all fight with all our might to resist his absurd policies and take this country back.
Then something struck me that I’ve been taught my entire life, but too rarely have put into action. Who am I to judge? Who am I to rant on incessantly with snarky posts and tweets and comments, to spew cynicism, to spread mockery and disdain?
Who am I to do anything but love my neighbor, pray for those with whom I disagree, and respect everyone. Not just those I agree with, but everyone.
I suppose there’s always a last straw that precedes an epiphany.
With the Senate voting to confirm a Secretary of Education who I feel is woefully, dangerously unqualified and to confirm an Attorney General who seems almost a caricature of racism in our country, I realized that my voice and my energy and whatever talents I have would be wasted continuing to judge those who clearly now are in control of our government.
We’ll soon have a Cabinet full of people who will be working against the purposes of the very departments they run, but I can’t fix that problem. And pushing huge rocks up hills isn’t my job anyway.
I can oppose them quietly and among friends, but there’s absolutely no justification for continuing to spew hatred into cyberspace like it’s going to make a difference.
It won’t. I’ll just get all worked up into a sanctimonious rage — and for no real purposeful outcome. We have what we have, and being all pissy about it serves no purpose.
So, I’m going to redirect my voice and energy and talent on behalf of those who have no voice. Or at least I’m going to try.
- There are millions of homeless in America, a fraction of the estimated 85 million refugees noted today in a major national newspaper.
- There are hundreds of thousands of Americans going to bed hungry every night, waking up hungry and feeling the pangs of hunger every hour of every day.
- The streets of cities large and small are littered with the physically and mentally disabled, some oblivious of where they are or why they just spend their day wandering the streets.
- There are millions who cannot afford medical care, much less pay for the drugs they need to get better. How many families, or lonely elderly widows and widowers, have to make the choice each month of paying rent, buying groceries or filling a prescription?
- Tragically, many of those in need are children. How did they deserve this fate? They didn’t choose to sleep in cars, under layers of cardboard or in crowded, scary shelters where their belongings may or may not be there when they awake.
The needy among us once were wrapped in a safety net that today has such huge rips that it catches fewer than it drops.
Do Unto Others…
Somehow, I don’t think The Golden Rule means for us to take to social media and spew snarky comments and hateful memes.
- It commands us to assist actively those in need, not sit back and criticize those who exacerbate the problem.
- It commands us to find an outlet to help the homeless, to feed the hungry, to protect the vulnerable and to love those you don’t even want to look at, much less spend time with.
- It commands us to use whatever talent or resources you have to do for others what you would hope beyond hope they would do for you if the tables were turned.
So go ahead and fight back. But fight with your heart.
Channel your anger into extending a helping hand, not texting a zinger when the inevitable misguided action by our government might deserve it — and you even might feel better zapping them. We wont change this government with posts and tweets and marches.
We have made our bed, so I’ve decided it’s time for me to help those who don’t have a bed, to help feed at least one hungry family, to hug a lonely and confused person unable to navigate in this new reality, and to stop thinking so damned much about myself.