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Friday, February 22, 2019

On Monday, a segment on NPR caught my attention. Though its focus was on the continuing Brexit debate, what caught my attention was a sentence in which the commentator noted that what was at issue was that some in leadership were opposed to supporting the United States, seen as a growing source of evil in the world.

Our nation is now perceived by more within and beyond it as a source of evil, even by those who have been our closest allies and friends. And though we are all soul-weary, we need to pay attention.

All around us, we grieve as we see institutions precious to us derided or even destroyed. We watch the very institution of our democracy chipped away at its foundation in a manner that has already endangered it. The damage already done will take many years to repair. The declaration of a national emergency is not just another flashy parlor trick, it is a deep threat to the essence of how we are governed and we must speak out.

The damage that has been done in these last years has not only been to people and to relationships and commitments — damage has been done to the very structure of democracy itself. As we make the debates and the revelations more and more unsavory, we encourage more cynicism and more disengagement.

Entire generations now no longer see the value of public engagement and as more and more exit, we are allowing a toxic hyper-capitalism to take over. We become addicted to buying and possessing, and we are commodifying what cannot be given a value, including human life.

Yes, we are weary and yes, we need nurture and sanctuary and relief. And history tells us that when we look away and are indifferent, hatred and the division of evil are allowed to grow. Though engagement may seem beyond our means, it is our only choice. We must continue to say no to the continued erosion of the values, which imperfect, we cherish and upon which we depend. This is our only chance.

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