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Strengths apparent among distrust, hate

Strengths apparent among distrust, hate Strengths apparent among distrust, hate

Where do we go from here in our nation? What do we do now? I have only a wealth of confusion in my brain.
A week ago, I called Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, the editor of this newspaper, and suggested that it might be better if I waited to submit my column until after the presidential inaugural and the Women’s March on Washington. I knew that, even though I would not be able to attend either event in person, I would be glued to my television watching everything. I knew I would be reading, taking notes and thinking non-stop for the whole weekend.
Now, here it is Sunday, Jan. 22, and I am as befuddled as before.
I hear in my head the words of the old ‘Whiffenpoof Song’ sung since the early 1900s. Perhaps you can also recall them:
We’re poor little lambs who have lost our way.
Baa baa baa.
We’re little black sheep who have gone astray.
Baa, baa, baa.
Gentlemen, songsters off on a spree,
Doomed from here to eternity.
Lord have mercy on such as we.
Baa, baa, baa.
I acknowledge that I come to this moment in time with a far more liberal bent than many. I factor this bias into my thinking when I try to analyze a situation or idea. I do so want to be objective and think clearly when I look at my options for involvement.
Like most of you, I love this country and I want us to take the route most beneficial to the United States in the long haul. I am not out to prove my political philosophy is right but, instead, to seek a compromise that is helpful to the most people, compassionate and respectful to all and will work in today’s world. I guess one could say I am a pragmatist on economic and social issues.
I have watched in awe during the last days as our country, even though divided in beliefs of all kinds, voluntarily transferred power from one group of leaders to another. This is no small task. It defines what is so special about our democracy. Even in some respectable and developed countries, it takes a war, coup or crisis to nudge an old leader out the back door to make room for a new leader coming in the front.
Not in America.
Here, we serve tea and offer words of advice and encouragement to newly-elected officials and their staff.
I watched as past presidents sat respectfully and listened to our new president who spoke with disparaging remarks about the condition of the country he had inherited.
The television in my home brought me right into the action, as adversaries shook hands, wished each other well and took over their respective new roles. The commentators in the media repeatedly stressed the important ceremonial nature of this inaugural day with its peaceful transfer of power.
I stayed up late that night watching the joy of presidential balls. The women in their gowns were beautiful, the entertainment was the best our artists can perform and the atmosphere was totally upbeat and positive.
The next morning, Jan. 21, millions of people took to the streets across our country and abroad. They were upbeat and raring to go. These citizens were diabolically opposed to the speakers of the previous day. Some reporters called these protest marches. Obviously, the marches were spurred by actions taken the previous months culminating in the inauguration the day before, but the mood was not mean spirited nor destructive.
I spoke with friends in New York, Indianapolis and Phoenix who did not speak of ‘protest.’ They all spoke of the shear positive ‘energy’ they felt as they joined so many people who saw hope in the future. It has been acknowledged that the marches were made up of all kinds of people: old, young, men, women and children, many national heritages and religions.
There were no arrests that I heard of nor property damages and fights. The chants were neither hateful nor threatening. Humor in wording was often used to soften criticism. The posters they carried were mostly made by individuals and expressed their interests, hopes and concerns for the civil rights of all people.
The next morning, the news outlets were again discussing the sharp divisions within our country. A statement by our new president was received with praise by his followers and anger and fear from his adversaries. There are claims of doom on the one side and the realization of wanted change on the other. We are told this noise is the sound of a lively democracy.
In our advocacy, we may say others are wrong, we may say we don’t like ideas or people or we may say we will work to defeat them in future elections. But, we don’t lock them up or shoot them down.
So, where do I stand at this point in time? I have seen a lot of good and strength in our country and our citizens these past days as well as a lot of distrust and hate. Confusion for me today may turn into clarification tomorrow. So it is throughout history.

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