There has been so much in the news this past week that it has been hard to focus on much else. There is a transition of administration and power taking place in our country. A process that has been happening peacefully for over 200 years. But in the midst of this transition there are many who would rather see the current president stay in office. So much so that thousands of his followers were willing to protest and riot and eventually break through the doors of the State Capitol this past week. What pursued was an all out riot with violence and destruction, and even death.
Watching this unfold, and seeing so much disrespect and violence and destruction taking place was one of the most painful and heartbreaking things I have ever witnessed. To see a person shot, another person being crushed between the door jam and the crowd of protesters, pleading for his life as he was bleeding from his mouth, was something that will forever be etched in my mind. To see the destruction unfold to the things as a country we have held sacred for centuries brought me to my knees that day as I watched. It was something I have never witnessed before to that extent.
Growing up in the ‘60’s, I saw Viet Nam protests, sit-ins, and civil and racial unrest, and it made me aware of the process of demonstrating and protesting. I thought I had seen it all, the spectrum of peaceful protesting to more angry and violent protests. But this past week was the most violent thing I have ever witnessed in our country. Looking back, I always felt peaceful protests and demonstrations did help us grow as a nation. Racial progress was being made, even if it was at a snail’s pace.. Watching the protests unravel into violence and killing this past week made me aware that we have not come as far in racial equality as I thought. I saw people with logos on their shirts condemning people of different minorities and ethnic groups. I heard people shouting to kill those who thought differently than they were thinking. We have only been stifling the racial tensions and tendencies lately. Instead of looking at one another as all being Americans, once again we are pitted against each other by skin color, rich vs. poor, right vs. left. Is this because of one person in office giving permission to behave this way without consequence? Maybe. Or maybe it is something deeper that has held on to our culture and has risen again above the surface because there are no consequences. Like children, do we only do good for fear of being caught? Where are the adults these days?
I want to believe we are better than that? But are we? Are we, as American citizens, better than the violence of many that took place this week. Like many other people who watched the violence unfold and the division between us...us meaning American citizens...it has brought me pain. It has also brought me to my knees.
In moments of quiet time, I have prayed for my country, for all of us living here in the US. While there is so much pain right now, I have to believe we, as a nation, will rise above this, that we will heal the scars on our hearts. We will find reasons to unite, reasons to give thanks and even be proud again to be an American. I really want to get to that place, how about you?