Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Daily Reminder # 54

Inspiration Fairy napping. Will post a reminder in the morning.... hopefully. Lots of things rumbling around in my head but they won't settle down into coherent thoughts at the moment... so hopefully in the morning I'll be able to manifest words for what's on my mind.

Ok... morning has broken and my head is still so full that I'm not sure how to talk about what I want to talk about. Here in the States, racism - and hate in general - seems to be rampant. I know that this is partly because we are in a time of enormous transition. People are frightened on many levels. We lived through 8 years of the Bush administration which oozed fear and subtle hate (it's ok to torture people if you think they are "bad" and it's ok to lavish abundance on the rich while devastating the lives of the poor) out of every pore. And we are living through the kind of economic crisis that most of us haven't experienced before. Add to this that we have our first black president (who I love despite his flaws) and it is a breeding ground for the worst in us to bubble to the surface. So anyway, I understand to some degree what lies underneath this ugliness. What I don't understand - what really troubles me - is why (or this is how I'm experiencing it) the voices of hate and ugliness seem to be given better coverage than those of reason.

Even when the media is trying to do a good job, they are often sloppy. When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recently called on the Tea Party organizations to disavow those among their numbers who are crudely racist, it was reported by many - and translated into intentionally in some cases - that they had called the Tea Party a racist organization. They had not. They had very carefully not done so. Then the next day - someone released an edited tape of a black woman named Shirley Sherrod who gave a speech - many years ago - in which she talked about her evolution in terms of her own bigotry. An edited tape was leaked by the same people whose edited, doctored tape sank the Acorn organization... and she was almost instantly fired by the government.

This story - which had me deeply depressed - now has me a bit hopeful, because in her case the truth has come out and has come out with such force that it can't be ignored. The farmer she is accused of not treating fairly has come forward - he's 88 - and said that she's wonderful and that she saved his farm. The full context of the speech is being made known. There's a good chance that she will get her job back. This doesn't happen often enough. That's what troubles me so. We seem to let the liars and the voices of ugliness plow over the rest of us and we weep into our hands and mutter under our breaths and yell at the TV (I'm talking about myself here).... but we don't insist that the truth drown out the lies.

I don't know what my point is exactly. Shirley Sherrod's story is uplifting and she seems to have managed to rise above the lies. I hope maybe she will start a trend. That truth will start to matter more than political expediency. That we'll stop firing good people from public positions because someone starts and ugly rumor, that we'll start to have the courage to push back against the ugliness.

We are bleeding talent to bigotry and slander. Our military has lost skilled people because we're so afraid of homosexuality. Some (Fox News among them) are trying to create racial tension by inventing stories and professing that the Obama administration is secretly anti-white.

I'm sure this is part of the healing process. The pus of the psychic body as it tries to heal itself. It's probably a good sign in some ways, but it's just so ugly. It makes me sad.

Shirley Sherrod is an example of how good people can be. When her father was murdered by white supremacists she chose - after initially wanting to get even - to instead devote her life to helping people. Initially, she said - she thought she would be helping black people, but the experience of helping this white farmer - who at first she did not want to help - made her see that it wasn't about black and white, but about rich and poor. In each case, she ran up against her own darkness and transformed it. She's an inspiration.

So this story started out depressing me but it also gives me hope that maybe her story will be a turning point and we won't continue to let the forces of darkness win. I hope so.

For now....

Some things I'm grateful for tonight...

  • that tomorrow is another day
  • my home
  • mail delivered to my door
  • laughter
  • truth
  • beauty
  • people who strive for the highest good

(Me too!)

No comments: