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Another 13 people killed, 11 Jews in a synagogue in Pennsylvania, two African-Americans at a grocery store in Kentucky.  Hate crimes.

… we are engaged in a civil war

How did we get here?  How did we get so fearful?  When did it become ok to voice such hatred of others who are different from us?

And thus, unleash the worst in us.

I am one person who throws one tiny rock into a pool of water and watches the ripples circle out.  Every Wednesday, I send out some small piece meant to inspire.  What can I say and yet what can I not say?  Giving up is giving in to hatred, and we need all the voices for and of love we can muster.

… we are engaged in a war of civility

This morning I ask for guidance, for courage and direction to speak my truth.

And what is my truth?

That all people have as much right to be here as I have.  That there are many ways to understand the Divine, God, Allah, the Spirit.  My way is no more absolute truth than anyone else’s although, at times, it may seem so to me.  So much violence and evil have been done in the name of religion, even within those religions that espouse love and acceptance.  How can we be so hypocritical?

The country of my birth, which I was taught to pledge, is no greater than another’s, although it may seem so to me.  So much violence and evil have been done in the name of nationalism, even within those countries that proclaim all men are created equal.  How can we be so hypocritical?

I am an “accident of my birth” with no more rights than anyone else, even though at times I forget that, and take my white privilege for granted.  My accident of birth put blinders on my eyes and I see only dimly, and understand even less, what people from other cultures and other races experience and believe.  So much violence and evil have been done in the name of racism.  How can we be so inhumane?

… we are engaged in a civil war

My nature and my belief system are built on love, acceptance, peace and justice.  But right now, so much seems to hinge on might and right, condemnation and power, my way or the highway. Our beliefs and fears have become crystalized, hardened, fossilized, and are encouraged through ever shriller hate speech.  We have unleashed the fanatics.  We who turn away.  We who don’t speak up.  We who don’t listen to our neighbor’s pain.  We who grab on to slogans and bumper stickers and think we’ve voiced a solution.

We blame those people in Washington, those voices on the radio.  Talk show hosts and politicians.  But who turns the dial, who casts the ballot?  It’s easier to blame them, those people, those institutions so we can shrug off any responsibility ourselves.

I did not pull the trigger in Pittsburgh nor in Kentucky.  But how often have I not spoken up.  Or been willing to have a dialog.  Or shown up in support.  Or paid attention beyond my tiny, safe world.  I can’t take on the whole world, and I am quickly overwhelmed by all the problems and issues.  My natural response is to flee.  It is important that I don’t.

Do I know what we as a country need to do?  Hardly.  Do I know what I personally can do?  I can get better at listening deeply and long, at speaking with care and respect, at practicing compassion and kindness, and at speaking up when speaking up is called for.

There are a multitude of people in this country hurting and grieving for 13 people mowed down by two fanatics.  Two fanatics born and raised in the U.S.A.  Not terrorists from outside.  Two fanatics who had given statements and signals that we missed.  Two fanatics who were given implicit encouragement and permission by the hate speech unleashed in this country.

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Thirteen people:  Joyce, Richard, Rose, Jerry, Cecil, David, Bernice, Sylvan, Daniel, Melvin, Irving, Maurice, Vickie.  You are in my heart today.  I would like to have known you.  Rest in peace.