Most days recently, I wake up wondering why there is so much hate in the world. This is especially so because of the trifecta of horrible events that took place in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas this past week. These of course come on the heels of so many other tragic occurrences in 2016 such as The Paris massacre, the Baltimore shootings and the slaughter in Bangladesh. It seems now that few days go by where we are not confronted with another instance of violence, tragedy and hate. Has it always been like this or is it a new world we live in? And if it is all about a new world, how in the hell did we get here?
Obviously there are no easy answers and for certain, part of the answer lies in social inequality, racism, religious bigotry, prejudice and poor behaviour by people of every colour and creed. But all of that has been around and primarily unresolved for decades, if not centuries. And so one must ask what has changed to cause this terrible upheaval in most parts of the World today?
Globalization may be one reason, but to me, a primary answer is that we have stopped talking to each other. At its base it is as simple and uncomplicated as that. Trenches have been dug so deeply that there is no way to get across them. Sarah Palin, that flamboyant former Governor of Alaska and unsurprisingly, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, made the point succinctly in a recent speech when she said, “You are either with us or you are against us. “ She might as well have said, ‘It is our way or the highway’. No middle ground. No room for dialogue. No one to care for your opinion unless it is theirs.
The really sad thing however, is that this phenomenon is much greater than any election campaign. It is becoming a way of life and it results in intransigent positions and ultimately a dysfunctional, negative and nasty society. And while Canadians may think we are inoculated from these things, we are not.
While I am somewhat ambivalent about the presidency of Barack Obama, a part of a recent speech of his caught my attention. Now it was a political speech, aimed at the Republicans, and Donald Trump, but I ask you to put aside any political connotation or prejudice and just look at his plain words. Here they are:
“…Because whatever our differences, we all love this country and we all care fiercely about our children’s futures. And we don’t have time for charlatans. And we don’t have time for hatred. And we don’t have time for bigotry. And we don’t have time for flim flam. And we don’t have the luxury of just popping off and saying whatever comes to the top of our heads. Don’t have time for that.”
I was struck by this paragraph and actually believe it should become a mantra for all of us, whether politicians, special interest groups or individuals. It really is a formula to take our society back, to build positive relationship and meaningful bridges of dialogue that would allow us to effectively confront and resolve hate and negativity rather than exploit it. If we don’t act soon then I fear for our generation and our children’s generation. We can do it. All we really need to do is to fill in the trenches and start talking to each other. But we need to do it now.
In my posting last week, I mentioned how privileged I felt to live in Huntsville. That feeling came back in spades this weekend as I watched so many community activities; the bathtub races, the lake association meetings, the Ironman competition. I continue to be thankful for our great sense of community, our volunteerism and our support for each other. As well, I felt that wonderful sense of community that is so much a part of Huntsville in a very personal way this weekend, in a manner that I deeply appreciate and will never forget.
Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org
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