De­liver us from the rad­i­cal views so we can re­solve our dif­fer­ences

Orlando Sentinel - - Opinion - By Ju­dith Del­san­ter

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.