“These tragedies have reminded us that phrases matter, and that the facility of life and demise is within the tongue. We’ve got been warned that everlasting vigilance continues to be freedom’s value.” – Barry C. Black, U.S. Senate chaplain, throughout his closing prayer, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021
Virtually anybody who has ever overcome a severe dependancy will agree: Typically you need to hit all-time low earlier than you lastly get up sooner or later and understand you need to make some important adjustments in your life.
Hopefully, for all Individuals, the occasions of Wednesday afternoon in our nation’s capital represented that lowest of low factors. As a result of if the pictures of armed U.S. residents pushing by means of barricades, scaling partitions and breaking home windows of the U.S. Capitol aren’t sufficient to shake you to your core, we’re unsure what’s going to.
However when you assume this is only one extra condemnation of outgoing President Donald Trump and the rhetoric that incited that mob to riot inside our hallowed halls of presidency, you’re incorrect. Others have spent the previous few days doing that already. And no matter transpires over the past week and a half of the Trump presidency is out of our fingers.
As a substitute, we expect it’s time for a severe reckoning on this nation. It’s time for all of us to look inward. It’s time to research how issues went so incorrect over the previous a number of many years that our fellow Individuals felt the necessity to barge into the Capitol, injure regulation enforcement officers, deface historic property and vandalize authorities places of work. How did we sink so low in our political discourse and interactions with one another that hundreds have been keen to behave like they did this previous week?
Actually, many will level the finger on the president and say it’s all his fault for consistently fomenting chaos and division over the previous 4 years. Others will have a look at us within the media and say we’re in charge for despising him for the reason that day he was elected.
However the reality is – whether or not we’re keen to confess it or not – nearly all of us bear some accountability. As a result of if we hadn’t allowed ourselves to be pulled in a single route or one other, into one of the crucial excessive states of political polarization our nation has ever seen, this by no means would have occurred.
If solely we had chosen, years in the past, to combat to take care of the Equity Doctrine, we would not have given rise to Fox Information, MSNBC, CNN, OANN, Newsmax, and many others. And people “information sources” – full with their 24/7 cycle that led to blurring, then fully erasing, the road between information and commentary – won’t have fueled that polarization.
However then got here social media, which simply locked us deeper in our echo chambers, unwilling to listen to something that challenged our beliefs or provided details we didn’t need to face. Fb, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and others consistently alert us to extra posts that do nothing however affirm and validate the ideas and emotions created by those that got here earlier than them. Additionally they lead us down an web rabbit gap to an increasing number of harmful websites that feed paranoia and gas extremism on each side of the political spectrum.
So what will we do now? First, we have now to commit to interrupt this cycle of dependancy. If we actually need to keep away from one other scene like we witnessed Wednesday, we have now to chop the cords that maintain us tied to info sources that feed us solely what we need to hear. We’ve got to as soon as once more use Fb for spreading pleasure, love and optimistic experiences, and cease blasting our household and “buddies” for his or her political ideology. We’ve got to begin speaking – and, extra importantly, listening – to one another once more.
On the identical time, we have now to insist the folks we elect to symbolize us work throughout the aisle to realize outcomes that profit ALL Individuals, not simply members of their very own social gathering or those that fund their campaigns. We don’t count on them to sit down in a circle and sing “Kumbaya;” disagreement is a wholesome a part of governing. However we do count on them to deal with each other with respect; cease the fixed grandstanding and fundraising; and negotiate, compromise and act decisively in ways in which depart nobody behind.
Somewhat than making legal guidelines that widen the gaps between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we should elect leaders who will work to shut that breach. Somewhat than sowing the seeds of division that result in chaos, we should insist they seek for widespread floor. Somewhat than letting them spew hatred, we should insist they return to diplomacy; in the event that they refuse, we should elect individuals who will. As a result of the choice is just too scary to think about.
Amid the hours of research that poured out of the speaking heads of practically each main community this week, there was one chilling assertion that we will’t appear to shake: “It might have been a lot worse.”
That’s true. However whether or not it was 5 or 5,000, the unhappy actuality is folks needlessly died on Capitol Hill by the hands of people that, on the finish of the day, most likely wished the identical factor because the perpetrators of those heinous acts – a safe house, an honest wage, good well being care, and many others. However someway, as a substitute of working collectively for the widespread good, the politics of division led to chaos and destruction.
The query for all of us is whether or not we need to repeat the experiences of the previous week or whether or not it’s time to lastly say “Sufficient.” We sincerely hope and pray, for the nice of our nation and everybody who calls it house, it’s the latter.