How to Stay Calm and Focused When the Storm is Blowing
Like a lot of people, I felt very disappointed at the results of the recent Presidential election. There was the temptation to feel like all was lost and that a state of great hopelessness could easily begin. The pictures that I saw on various newspaper websites about the demonstrations, especially in Portland, Oregon were disheartening. While I empathize with those who were unhappy regarding the results, it doesn’t really correct anything to break windows at Nordstrom’s or elsewhere, let alone generating one million dollars’ worth of property damage.
Now, is the time to assess where we are in this whole process of being citizens of our country and contributing to positive political discourse. Unfortunately, we have witnessed the worst in behavior by some that has needlessly pitied groups of people against one another.
Our healing needs to begin by reminding ourselves of who are, especially those who are working for a progressive future. This can be inclusive of our current two party structure as well as other parties contributing to this reality.
Yes, both political parties need to do a lot of soul searching as to how they might really meet the needs of working people. They need to become better listeners and leave their protected conclaves and actually go out and spend time with people who are truly suffering, like Robert Kennedy who went and spent time with and listened, empathized with the poor of Appalachia. He became empowered to become a strong advocate for social and economic justice for all.
We need to listen to others who don’t agree with us and commit ourselves to being able to respectively disagree. I realize that in the aftermath of this recent political race that this will not be easy for some of us.
Peace making and the work of creating a just, fair economy and community doesn’t end with election results. I encourage people to consider what agencies and organizations locally, that you know of, are dedicating their resources, time and effort to the building of a better world. There needs to be a formulation, on a grass roots level, for a platform that really addresses policy issues regarding income inequality, education, student debt, affordable housing, health care, foreign policy and defense.
Citizens in Portland, Oregon, for example, are addressing these challenges by their support for organizations like Multnomah County Coalition For Affordable Housing, Do Good Multnomah. People can encourage religious organizations from all traditions to work collaboratively to address and work against racism, xenophobia, economic and environmental exploitation which would be a good place to start regarding the healing that our country needs at this time. Portland and the State of Oregon could continue to be a model of excellence for advocating for progressive social and political change in this current climate of uncertainty.
Indeed, this type of model of civic and civilian engagement could be a model of progressive excellence for all communities nation-wide. Through action we can break out of inaction and the drain of hopelessness.
John Wesley said:
Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
As a country, we can recover and become even stronger, no matter what the political climate dictates.
May it be so.