The times lately have been strange and heavy. I have had a feeling of unease and restlessness.
I have strong political views, but work hard to respect another’s position, even if I can’t understand it. After all, I am a big supporter of human rights and a person’s right to their point of view.
Last week a particularly divisive candidate for the highest office in the land came here to our town. His rallies had recently been escalating, which he encourages, and seems to incite, and the vitriol and anger are overflowing.
I have some amazing friends, and we all agreed immediately that we would go and peacefully protest. Bail each other out, if necessary. Advocate for love. As the day grew closer, and another event erupted in violence, I started to be afraid. The tone was different than anything before. This was new territory.
A couple friends dropped out. My family asked me not to go.
Was I being selfish wanting to go? Was I being selfish being afraid to go?
After a sleepless night, and dropping carpool off at school, my friend and I decided just as it was about to be too late, to go.
As we drove by the campus and saw the long line of supporters waiting to enter the venue, we cried. But we were there. We parked far away and walked to the campus with our “Love thy Neighbor” signs. We stood in front of the chapel at the university with all the faith leaders and students and sang hymns. And cried. And gazed around in disbelief at the number of people that seemingly supported him.
People were ejected from the event. A couple of people were chased, tackled and arrested. People started yelling at one another, and a human chain of clergy and peacemakers linked arms between them.
The sun grew hot. The few supporters I spoke to seemed angry, but confused. They didn’t know what to do. They seemed unsure and said they were praying about it. I encouraged them to keep doing that.
I too, will keep doing that.
I fear where this country is going if this particular person is elected.
Brandon from the popular blog Humans of NY posted an open letter while we were standing with our signs. He perfectly summed up why I was standing there. This is different. Its not just a difference of opinion. It’s crossed a line… “this is no longer political. It is moral.”
I know people are angry and fed up with the government, but this can’t be the answer.
How people are treated is important to me. Showing respect and caring about your fellow human, no matter how different they are from you, is important to me.
For my son, my daughters and my sweet granddaughter, I cannot be silent.
I denounce the hate and divisive strategy this candidate is espousing.
I choose love.