The recent destruction of civility in our country began with the primary season of the 2016 election. I believe everyone was shocked watching the mudslinging and nasty comments as our politicians stepped on and over each other on their way to the top. Some citizens actually thrilled at the game of it! Unfortunately, once the winner climbed to the top of the mountain to proclaim victory, that crude behavior did not change.
On a chilly day last January, I stood along the Parkway with my protest banner in hand, as part of the many Women’s Marchs around the world. I have never been a political person, so I wouldn’t have normally taken part in something like that; but I wanted to join a movement I thought would take our country in the better direction. A woman standing next to me leaned over and asked “Where were all these people on election day?” I could only find the words – “Home doing something they thought was more important?”
My most poignant memory of that March was watching a middle-aged man with his young daughter straddling his shoulders. In order to have his hands free to hold her, he had a simple sign hanging from a rope around his neck - it read “Because I Am a Father!” That should be enough of a reason for anyone to care about what’s happening in our country today. It’s my fears as a mother that convinced me to become an activist.
Much of our country was stunned by the results of the election; and continues to be stunned by what has happened since. I wonder how many people have given thought to the results of their previous complacency.
I have tried to find some solace in the fact that this last few years has awakened our country. Most of my friends have been awakened to the need to treat our democracy with much more care. Others have allowed the new leadership to awaken all their hatred, biases and cruelties. The divisions are distressing.
While I was talking about this situation with a group of like-minded friends the other day, I glanced toward the heavens, as if waiting for some celestial guidance, and asked “So, what’s the lessen we’re supposed to get from all this chaos?”
One of the group, a short stature, silver haired lady, proclaimed without missing a beat – “Get off your butt and do something about it!”