Saturday, November 12, 2016

It's Up to Us Now

I wanted to share an article my daughter wrote for her newspaper yesterday.

I told Rebecca how proud of her I am, and I reminded her that all this is not what Jesus wants.

I believe as Christians we need to let people know that this is not what we want either.

It’s up to us now

by Rebecca McKinsey, Staff Writer
November 11, 2016
I’ve cried a lot since Tuesday night.
A lot of people have.
We’ve cried as we’ve heard heart-wrenching stories of hatred, of ignorance, of ugliness.
They’re pouring out this week at alarming rates.
Someone approached a Muslim woman at a store, pulled off her hijab and told her to hang herself with it.
A man yelled at a woman using sign language, “This is white America now. Take your retarded self and go somewhere else.”
One man came up to a woman he didn’t know in a bar, grabbed her and kissed her, then defended his actions.
A man found a sign on his windshield: “White power. … Deport all niggers, Muslims, faggots, wetbacks.”
People are setting rainbow flags, representing gay pride, attached to people’s homes on fire.
A group of white men called an Asian man “bin-Laden” and threatened to burn him on a cross.
A Muslim woman who needed a heart monitor asked for a doctor’s letter so she could prove to people that it wasn’t a bomb.
Four white men approached a black woman and threatened to kill her, called her a waste of air and said they would have shot her there if there weren’t witnesses.
Women have had strangers grab them by the crotch in public.
One Muslim woman had a knife pulled on her.
People are wearing shirts stamped with the words, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required.”
And in schools, with this country’s kids, this is happening as well.
“Kids are scared and bullies feel emboldened,” wrote one elementary-school mother online.
Kids in schools are running through the hallways, screaming “white power.”
They’re waving Confederate flags and calling black classmates the n-word.
One student told another, “Shut up, you illegal immigrant!”
Kindergarten students are telling their Latino classmates to “go back to Mexico.”
Others are telling black classmates to “go back to Africa.”
Kids are drawing swastikas on their school bathroom walls.
Some Muslim kids are going to school for the first time without their hijabs, too scared to wear them.
One student who still wore hers had it ripped off by classmates.
Many students, as young as elementary-school age, are chanting at school, “Build a wall!”
White students at one school yelled at black students, “Cotton picker … Heil Hitler.”
At one school, white students lined up and formed a physical wall to block Latino students from entering.
Multiple male students of varying ages have told their female classmates that they’re going to “grab them by the p***y.” That that’s OK now.
One 10-year-old student had to leave school because a male classmate turned words into actions and grabbed her vagina.
One message scrawled on a school wall: “Yall black ppl better start picking yall slave numbers. KKK 4 lyfe.”
The fact that anyone is needing to use the phrase “make our schools safe again” is heartbreaking.
When people say they are scared, this is what they’re talking about.
When people can’t stop crying this week, this is why.
If you’re reading these stories, these sentiments, and you agree with them, shame on you.
Don’t be the person who believes that the existence in this country of people who are different than you is something that needs to be “fixed.”
Understand that your whiteness and your straightness and your maleness doesn’t make you better. More important. More worthy.
This week, I’ve seen people laugh at others’ fear, at their tears, at their reactions, and that’s sickening.
Because the truth is that way too many people who aren’t middle- or upper-class, who aren’t white, who aren’t straight, who aren’t Christians, who aren’t men, are scared.
I’ve seen that too often this week, with my black friends, Latino friends, gay friends, poor friends, female friends, friends with disabilities, friends who weren’t born in this country.
They’re scared.
And that breaks my heart.
It’s hard not to feel buried and hopeless as a member of one of those demographics.
And I’ll be the last to tell people to calm down, to not be upset, that they’re overreacting.
Because I’ve shed tears this week. I’ve felt physically ill this week.
But I’ve also seen beauty this week. I’ve seen people banding together. I’ve seen love.
I’m choosing to believe — to hope — that this hatred, this ugliness, this ignorance isn’t representative of our country. Of most of its inhabitants.
Prove me right.
Recognize the fact that what makes us great isn’t our skin color, where we were born or who we’re attracted to.
Decades ago, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
His words are as relevant today as they were then.
So let’s be horrified by actions like this and make sure that they’re not the norm. That they’re not what’s accepted.
Let’s volunteer. Let’s give to organizations that are doing things we believe in. Let’s talk to people who are different from us, learn from them, embrace them, not tear them down. Let’s smile, and laugh, and give, and love. Let’s be kind. Let’s recognize that hatred and division don’t get us anywhere, and they’re not who we are.
And for everyone who’s scared? I get it. But we can’t give up. We can’t crawl into a hole. We can’t leave.
I’m scared, too.
And if you’re not scared, take a moment, open your eyes, look around and acknowledge that many people are.
Make sure you’re not the reason why.
Be louder than this.
Be better than this.
Let’s not make hate the norm.
We can’t let it win.

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