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The hallowed halls of democracy

There will be many stories, opinions, and theories floated around our country regarding the events of January 6th, 2021. Blame will be passed around like the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. However, one aspect of that Wednesday we should agree on is that it will never be forgotten.

For the better part of my writing career, I have tried my dead level best to promote kindness and understanding. When I write, I always envision God as my boss whispering, “Write from your heart, write healing stories, and weave it around my teachings.”

Sometimes I know I failed, but I sincerely tried.

Most of the time, I have steered away from politics, except to calm the reader or encourage each person to view the other side. My best friends know how I stand on many issues, but publicly promoting my personal views was not in the best interest of all.

One of my editors questioned me one day, “When you write about our political environment, how do you seem not to offend either side?” My answer is, “Hey, I am just trying to heal a big ole’ divide I feel is dangerous.”

Our country has endured so much this year. Every month has scared the dickens out of us as we attempted to hide from the coronavirus, inflaming political ads and arguments. The virus and politics dangerously mixed with casting doubt on mask-wearing, statistics, and science. Again blame, distrust, fear, and vitriol swirled in a kettle, becoming hotter and hotter until we could almost feel the sting of a burn.

Fingers pointed, friends fought, and enough tears fell to fill buckets. Yet, not enough weeping put out the fires brewing. How much pain did we want to endure to seal our individual stances, prove our positions, and declare our patriotism was greater than our neighbors?

Soon after dawn broke on January 7th, people posted on social media their theories on who was responsible for the assault on our Capitol. Who turned the protest into violence? Conspiracy theories reached a new low without basis in fact, only in rhetoric.

Just a few hours after being sincerely frightened with the uncertainty of who was breaking into our nation’s house, Congress stood together and declared, “This must stop!” The first thing they have said in a long time that made complete sense. It must stop.

We can accuse a group with whom we do not align with or hate for climbing into the hallowed halls of our American home, or we can call it what it was and still is.

Hate, anger, blame, ungodliness, and evil climbed those Capitol stairs in unison, and we are all responsible. For every person who spread hatred and bias, walk the steps. For every citizen who did not believe in American justice, climb the walls. If you who called each other names and scattered bogus information without research, scale the chambers. For those who refuse truth because of errant pride, keep climbing and destroying.

If you believe in patriotism, it is not found in our souls’ harshness but in the depth of our hearts. It is caring enough about each other to not tear down but build up. It is not condemning someone’s vote, but in the glory of America’s freedom to cast a ballot. Democracy is kept alive by finding common solutions and walking to the talking table before giving up. It is not sparing and fighting in our individual selfish deep-seated corners and pointing fingers.

We have lost over 370,000 citizens to COVID-19 this last year. They should be our unifiers. Their voices need to rise from every grave and shout, “Stop the madness and help each other get well!”

Their muffled cries have been drowned by discord among those living. And their lives reduced to percentages and numbers because our compassion failed.

I pray every citizen would put the swords of conflict and animosity away. Honor our veterans, our forefathers, and our children by being good, decent people. Now is not the time to declare who is right and who is wrong. It is not the time to be just boastful Republicans or Democrats. Today, we must be Americans first and foremost.

We must understand it is the time to heed the calming voice of the Almighty, who pleads with us, “Will you please, just love one another.” It is that which will get us to the table of healing. It is God’s words that will douse the fires of hatred and honor the hallowed halls of Democracy.

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