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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

21 October 2010

Where there is hatred, let me sow love . . .

Have you ever noticed how much hate there is around us today?  It seems that everywhere we look or listen are examples of this tendency.  Most of us find the kinds of hate demonstrated in other places and other times are clearly recognizable, e.g., Europe in the 1930's, Rwanda, Kosevo, and in the American South during the 60's.  Many of these were just blatant forms of extreme hate.  

But, I challenge you to listen to the American political language of this current election season.  Listen to the words - listen to the tone.  What do you hear?  Strong words - name calling - half truths - outright falsehoods.  Yes, all of these are a part of today's political speech. We vilify the opponent and demonize their intentions.  We monger our worst fears that will be realized if the opponent gains power.  To listen to some of today's political speech, you would think that the opponent is Satan himself.  Formerly innocent words like conservative, liberal, socialist, and Tea Party have been surrounded with such emotion that they have been transformed into a condemnation of the other.

We are so fond of labeling people, usually in a less flattering light, to make our own puffery seem all the more legitimate.  Sadly, no one seems to recognize the truths contained in these simple words, "Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye?  You hypocrite,  remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." (Matt. 7: 3-5).  

Each of us has our own dirty laundry that we prefer does not see the light of day.  We should attend to our own problems, before resorting to deleterious comments about another; because, when that is the mode of operation, eventually we all will get covered in mud - and, that is not a good basis for selecting leadership.  

Why not consider returning to honest discussion of the policy differences and outlining the course that we believe should be taken to correct the issues that face us?  Why not resort to sound, intellectual, honest discourse?  Why not inform people about our honest stands on tissues and explain how we would propose to change the world toward a resolution?  

And after election, why don't we really discuss the issues and look for ways to work together to solve the problems that beset our entire society?  Why don't we put the others first is resolving issues?  Why don't we think about the poor, the homeless, the orphan, and the unemployed instead of worrying about who gets which tax break?

If we continue upon this course of strong speech, labeling, and fear of the other, we can only further degrade the discourse of what we should be as a nation.  We risk falling into the trap to which many other "enlightened" societies have succumbed and transform ourselves into a form of government that no one wants or invites.

If we followed the age-old advice and became . . . "patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, not seek our own interests, not be quick-tempered, not brood over injury, and not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth," (Cor. 13), all of our discourse would become much more informative.  Then, we would be able to make much more intelligent decisions about whom should serve in our government.  

Surely many are as disturbed as I about the current direction of our political discourse.  Shouldn't we all who feel this way just say, "ENOUGH!!!" It's time to set aside our petty differences and work together for all of the people.  Set aside the distrust and hate, and work together for the good of all peoples.

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