A letter to the editor appeared recently on these pages under the headline, “A Time for Mourning in America.” I agree. But not for the reasons you may think.
It is a time for mourning in this nation because those who preach the loudest about diversity and common ground, acceptance and equality are among the last to uphold these very ideals. We are the most divided country in my memory.
We blame our divisiveness on current or past presidents or essentially on anyone else. We accept fake over facts. Our centuries-old election process serves us well as long as those elected align with our way of thinking. We prefer that our leaders hold to the same high moral standard that we perceive we have.
But let’s be honest. Stop the blame game. We don’t need an elected leader or anyone else to tell us what our personal character, moral or otherwise, should be. We can choose for ourselves.
It is a time for mourning because some Americans disrespect the flag of the United States of America, that which will drape the coffins of courageous men and women who have died to protect our right to choose even ignorance. Some adopt a take-it-or-leave-it stance on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or choose to kneel during our National Anthem. Others seek to ban all mention of God or Christianity.
It is a time for mourning because there are homeless and starving Americans in our cities. Children and seniors are mistreated. Animals suffer cruelty. There are those who expect entitlement without taking responsibility. Some accept the benefits offered by America’s opportunities while deriding its traditions and laws.
It is a time for mourning when some wish to dissolve our nation’s history, along with the traditions with which they don’t agree, rather than to learn from the ways of our past and effect positive change for our future. Those who march for equality and justice do not always afford the same equality and justice to those with whom they disagree. Respect, integrity and kindness are no longer valued. We manage our differences with accusatory finger pointing and incessant name-calling instead of civility.
This I know from experience: A time for mourning can define you for all time. Or, it can give you a new perspective, a greater appreciation, a firm resolve, and renewed hope.
I choose hope.