After the horrific attack on innocent persons this last weekend, I think that it is really time to carefully examine how we talk about each other. I am not subscribing any one person for fault or blame except the gunman in this tragedy; however, I, as do many others, believe that the tone of our language toward each other, especially in political campaigns, leads some to believe that this sort of violence is justified. We must speak more civilly of each other, even if we don't agree with their views. For heaven's sake, none of us is the boogie man!
Yes we do have credible differences about how to resolve the most critical issues of our time, but violence is never the correct way to resolve issues. Whether you believe that such strong, vilifying language leads to this sort of physical violence or not, I think that we should agree that clear, reasoned debate and trusting in the intelligence of those who are listening to make the right decisions is a more prudent way to conduct our civil discourse.
Naming and blaming is something that people do when they have no understanding of the issue nor a reasonable solution to it. When we vilify someone, we try to make them out as the most evil person ever and the cause of all of our problems. We have seen how this works in history over the centuries. I seriously doubt that anyone in our country today has this much power. Just look how Congress and legislatures can't agree on how to resolve some of our most pressing issues!
So, let's start today together in banning harsh, crude, and uncivil language from our everyday discourse. Let's treat others as we would like to be treated. Let's work together to transform our society in one who cares for each other no matter who they are.
And, let's pray for the victims of the tragedy and for all of us. I suggest this prayer for greatness of heart from PAX Christi:
Keep us, O God, from all pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding
and leave off all self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense
and meet each other face-to-face,
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment,
and always generous.
Let us always take time for all things,
and make us grow calm, serene, and gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
to be straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize
that it is the little things of life that create differences,
that in the big things of life, we are as one.
And, O God, let us not forget to be kind!
May God Give You Peace!