“I want a kinder, gentler nation.”
“Prosperity with a purpose means taking your idealism and making it concrete by certain acts of goodness. It means helping a child from an unhappy home learn how to read – and I thank my wife Barbara for all her work in literacy. It means teaching troubled children through your presence that there’s such a thing as reliable love. Some would say it’s soft and insufficiently tough to care about these things. But where is it written that we must act as if we do not care, as if we are not moved? Well I am moved. I want a kinder, gentler nation.” George H. W. Bush Republican politician and 41st President of the United States
Me too, Mr. President, me too. How far we have come since that August 18, 1988 speech. Our country is angry, hateful, ugly. I have sweet friends who frequently post Facebook memes encouraging violence in the face of violence. Words that ask for smacking, hitting, killing because the behavior they see offends them. They blame all Muslims, all African Americans, all who are different. The extremism of the Taliban infiltrated our country, stealing from us the plurality that was our history, our beauty. My friends and strangers alike are blind to the fact that their actions are polarizing, narrow-minded and debilitating to our democracy, that they have given the war over to the Taliban here on our soil. We sacrificed not only our young men and women but our ideals and our compassion.
I see posts that proclaim support for soldiers, veterans, police officers. Can’t we all see that to really support these people is to jump in and make our neighborhoods safer? To teach kids to read, to feed hungry bellies, to give jobs to those with a shady history? What if we gave second, third chances? What if we listened instead of shouting, what if we got dirty instead of slinging mud? I support officers, I support our troops. I also support little children of color who don’t get the same education as mine did, children who grow up into poverty and can’t afford boots to ever pull them selves up and out. I support breathing in and out ten times before responding with hostility.
We ask God to bless America, what if He is really watching, to see if we are blessing each other, if we are being a blessing to the world. He didn’t just create our neighborhood, our city, our likeness. The world is His, full of His children. Even the ones we don’t like. God bless them all. And may God evaporate our anger like the morning dew on spring grass. Then we truly win the war.