Deliver us from the radical views so we can resolve our differences
Shocking, but fascinating, what is happening in Seattle. A protest group is occupying six or seven blocks of its city center. They have blocked off the police department and civic buildings, and are making demands for change without recourse to the rule of law. Depending upon what news media one follows, the protest has been reported as anything from a lively street festival to an insurrection, with buildings covered in graffiti-laden plywood, and the area borders guarded by Rambo-type folks carrying weapons. Good grief! What is going on?
I so remember my lovely time living in Tacoma, Washington, in the late ’50s — and the very cool local residents I met then. I remember their stories about their grandparents and great-grandparents, who settled the Northwest. They described a ruggedly independent people, who chanced crossing the Continental Divide in Conestoga wagons, boldly facing all natural and human obstacles to reach a place where they could be free to choose their own peace.
My friends were also independent and sure-footed, albeit a bit more mellow than their forebears. Unique might today be a good word to describe their insights: Free thinkers, but welcoming and kind. Seemingly quite different from the folks dwelling in the Germanic structure of Milwaukee where I grew up; a city where it was clean and well managed, but not really what one would call free thinking. Yet it, too, felt safe and also good.
Perhaps because for the most part they shared three principles: they understood that freedom is yoked to responsibility, the rule of law and, yes, the Golden Rule.
The diversity of America has always made me proud. Because it is in our buy-in to those principles that preserves our cherished freedoms, in spite of our differences. In many we are one, I was taught, and still believe. And there is plenty of room to speak one’s truth. Yet, there was and is always the capacity for disaster when one element seeks dominion over another, when opposing views cannot be acknowledged as honest and valuable, when one cannot imagine hope for resolution without domination — or demolition.
When one believes only a single side has the truth, or when right and good are defined by one’s “label,” and the prevailing purpose seems to be to destroy the opposition — and its dignity and honor — at any cost, how can our beautiful, brilliant system of government prevail?
I pray for deliverance from the radical left and the right, for anarchists and bullies of all kinds who countenance violence as a means to their ends. Can we not find reasoned, honest, fair, truthspeaking resolution to the true divisions tearing apart our beloved country?
It is the freedom to choose that brought our forefathers to America. We are free to choose. I pray we choose peaceful resolution.