You are surely and sorely needed at this time. Needed to think – and perhaps act – globally, and surely to think and act locally. They have never been more connected.
Globally, there are 25 million documented refugees, with another 40 million displaced within their countries.* Over half are under eighteen. The vast majority seek refuge due to human-created causes: violence, persecution, conflict, and human rights violations. Some still maintain: humans may not be the cause of climate turmoil. But there is no argument about the causes of this human suffering. Humans create it.
I will not get into an attack on or a defense of President Trump here. There are a thousand places to enter into that argument, should you so desire it.
Instead, I invite three things. First, that we all acknowledge that the human tendency to feel threatened by other tribes, faiths, genders, parties, companies, departments, races, etc., will forever be part of our psychic equipment. Of course, internecine war – blood, carnage, killing – afflicts Honduras, Syrians, Sudanese, and others. Most Americans have been horrified at our government making kids refugees, from their border-offending parents; it feels to many ofus like supporting the laws of our tribes crossed a moral boundary. Some were so angry they were causing Republicans to flee from restaurants, and that doesn’t feel very American, does it? I don’t think I know ANYONE who has not been triggered by someone on “the other side” in the past week. Nor do I know anyone who doesn’t see that these positions are hardening.
Second, I invite you to sign-up for the Axios newsletters that comes out every day or check them out online. They proclaim that their desire is to be brief, interesting, and SMART. They do not belong to the MSNBC Tribe or the FOX tribe. They try not to fall for gut-level tribalism. Here is a link to yesterday’s brilliant column on their take on the shortening fuse of Americans. It should be required reading (in this time when, “I’m right and everyone else is crazy!”).
Third, I invite you to get local about this with me. In the last week I have found myself pointing a mental finger at my wife, my writing partner, my children, my students, our administration, Trump, Republicans, Bill Maher, shall I go on with all my othering? Call me a bad person. Or just call me an aware human. I have to keep re-pointing the finger at me first. I am doubling down on my two core life commitments: Be curious and be caring.
I refuse to be under siege. I refuse to turn friends into enemies. I will do my small part to put down the arms, and seek truth and seek peace. I will not operate out of desperation and create moral shortcuts and a false moral righteousness. I need help, though!!! I need people to hold me to high ideals, to be curious and caring, as we all seek in these fractious times to
Lead with our best selves?
*Source: UNHCR: https://www.unrefugees.org/refugee-facts/statistics/