Be Mad. But Be Mad At The Right People.

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Well, it’s a brand-new month. The year is almost half-over, and we’re finally allowed to get back out and interact with the world around us. Masks and social distancing are still part of that, and probably will be for a long time. But it does seem like we’re finding ways to cope with a virus we still don’t fully understand and make the most of the situation.

Yet once again, we’re in crisis with protests across the entire nation – not against masks and closed nail salons, but against something much more sinister. Most of the protests are peaceful, and for a cause we should all stand together to uphold. This isn’t political, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about human rights, something this country has fought wars to defend.

Sadly, there will always be some who see these things as little more than an opportunity to incite violence and destruction. They are the minority – a fractional percentage of those who stand peacefully. But, through their actions, they degrade the message of hope and unity that others are trying so desperately to share.

It’s beyond heartbreaking – it’s truly sickening. But that small faction only has the power that we give them. When we let their violence obscure a message of humanity and lump them in with all those who are protesting peacefully, they win. When we give violence a voice and amplify that voice louder than all others, we enable it. Hate prevails because we allow it.

When riots broke out in Los Angeles over the verdict in the Rodney King case, my daughter, who was still in elementary school, asked why people would destroy their own neighborhood. I told her she was seeing less than one percent of the population in those neighborhoods doing these things. For every person on the street, hundreds were at home praying for it to end. The same is true today.

So far, five people have died as a result of this violence, and many more have been injured. It’s understandable that we would be outraged. Yet, in the same month, store employees have been killed for asking patrons to protect others from a deadly virus by wearing a mask. Were we equally outraged by that?

It would be as unfair to blame the death of those store employees on everybody protesting state shut-downs as it is to blame the destruction we’re seeing on everybody who is standing peacefully against the violence that triggered this latest round of protests. Place the blame where it lies – with those who perpetrate violence, not those who are standing against it.

It’s easy to blur the lines, especially when we don’t have a personal stake in the situation. But we do have a stake. We have a stake in restoring peace and stability, and we have a stake in making sure no citizen faces the risk of death for suspicion of committing a non-violent and relatively petty crime. This isn’t about us versus them – it’s about who we are as a nation.

I try to avoid controversial topics in my posts, and I try to keep them lighthearted and motivational. But there are times when we must all speak out and address the elephant in the room. This is a big elephant, friends, and it’s not going away on its own. We have to make it go away, and we have to do that in a manner that benefits humanity rather than tearing it down.

This has been a tough year for all of us. Every time we think we’re seeing the end of one crisis, another takes its place. Yet somehow, instead of standing together as we did following the 9/11 attacks, we’re allowing each crisis to divide us further. Our perspective is clouded by politics instead of being guided by a sense of morals. Until that changes, things will never get better.

Violence begets violence, and silence breeds indifference. Somewhere between the two lies an appropriate response. If it’s acceptable to protest the inconvenience of social distancing, it must also be acceptable to protest the immorality of wrongful death. In fact, it’s more than just acceptable – it’s a responsibility we share as citizens of a free nation.

While we must never accept violence, we must also never allow that violence to stain a message of compassion. We’ll get through this. The riots will end, and peace will once again be restored. But our response to those standing peacefully against a grave injustice will say more about us as a nation than any number of fires we have to put out in the process.

That’s all for now. Have a peaceful and blessed day.

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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