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What Really Matters

As a nurse I know what really matters to keep the human body alive and functioning: to put it most simplistically- the various organs must all be healthy and function well, the body itself needs to have good nutrition, be free from infectious diseases, major stressors and genetically inherited or cancerous conditions. So I know that when a brain needs surgery, the surgeon cannot determine if the brain belongs to a Mandela, an Einstein or a Hitler. There is nothing in the structure of this brain to indicate whether it is creating great literature or chaos. Likewise, the beating heart needing a new valve does not indicate if it is a heart capable of love embracing all peoples such as the Dali Llama, or one which teaches hate to others.

Aside from some genetic traits, for example, such as the tall athletes seen in parts of some Slavic, African and Chinese geographic areas or small boned women seen in indigenous native populations or some Asian countries, most populations are remarkably similar under their skin. So why then, have those who hate become fixated on traits such as skin color, ethnicity or religiosity when they are broadcasting their tirades of prejudice? Every educator knows that it is what is inside one’s brain that matters, not what is presented on the surface.

Certainly there is cultural and ethnic pride in one’s parentage and native lands, but that should not engender racism or bigotry. Sadly, there are still some places in the world which continue to fight battles originally waged hundreds of years ago; current residents teach their children to have the same prejudices that they themselves learned. One need only to think of Rwanda or the Bosnian war both of which represented ethnic cleansing in their battle plans.

Barack Obama tweeted out a phrase today: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion...”

In the movie South Pacific there is a song which talks about the same thing - that children are not born with hate in their minds – they must be taught to hate. “They’ve got to be carefully taught”

Why do some voice the bigotry of white supremacy and link it with ultra-nationalism, why do so many who are young turn to this message? Indivisible does not have the answer, but we do know that there are more reasons for us as a country to join together as positive forces for good, for brother and sisterhood than there are reasons to act out against each other. The peaceful protests against the demonstrations in Charlottesville are a sign that many disagree with the bigots who marched. The stated reason for the march was to protest the removal of a statue of General Lee from the U VA campus; to many he is a symbol of a confederacy which promoted slavery and is not a person to be admired. To others he represents a failed rebellion and the loss of a storied southern culture which they regret cannot return. But the subtext was that America is for white folks and others who are not white have no rights to be here, should not be allowed to immigrate to this country and should leave.

As a Call to Action – Indivisible asks each of you to speak up and cheer for all of our members as they continue to resist the Trump agenda and protest against hateful actions. I ask that you speak out when you hear unjust words or see unjust actions. Ask for our government officials to step up to the plate on these issues; for too long they have been sitting in the dugouts watching and waiting; it is time for them to get up to bat and be players in this game of life.

Where, we ask, is the voice of our President who should be disavowing actions and words of the alt/right, but instead bunches haters and protestors together? Where is the leadership this country sorely needs from someone in its highest office who could stand tall and say “no more”? During the campaign he had a wink and a nod for these extremist groups, he spoke with code words and a chuckle when their ideas were cheered. By not disapproving their support, he was tacitly encouraging it. But now he has a responsibility to speak to all Americans whether they voted for him or not because he should be the president of all of our people, not just a few.

The columnist Michael Gerson (a Republican) said it well in a column in the Washington Post on 8/13/17.

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