You Are Not Alone
You are not alone.
To every one of my Muslim friends and neighbors, you are not alone. The demonizing of your religion will not go unchallenged. Threats to discriminate against you because of your faith will not go unchallenged. You are our neighbors, friends and family. There are so many Americans, so many Christians, who will defend you.
To every immigrant, even those who came to us undocumented, you are not alone. We will still speak of your dignity and worth and celebrate our connection as human beings. You are our neighbors, our fellow humans, and you matter to us. Your children matter, and we will not leave them forsaken.
To every woman who feels that deep pain in their soul when men use and excuse demeaning language like “grab them by the pussy,” you are not alone. We will continue to hold people accountable for their words and actions. We will always speak of your value and we will defend your bodies and rights.
To every LGBTQ friend and neighbor, you are not alone. We have seen important civil liberties achieved in the last decade for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer minorities, and we will not sit idly by when those are threatened. You matter to us, and we will continue to safeguard your life and liberty.
To the millions who have healthcare for the first time, and those who finally have coverage even in the face of preexisting conditions, you are not alone. We will not sit idly by while your health is threatened by political games and rhetoric. We will fight for you and with you to keep the healthcare you so desperately need.
To our non-white friends and neighbors who have been vilified, faced condescension, and suffered demeaning, racist abuses, you are not alone. We will continue to stand with you for equality and truth. We will continue to work for a day when no one’s race or ethnicity is used as a weapon to disenfranchise, demean or discredit them.
To refugees around the world and those who have made it to US soil, you are not alone. We will not allow you to be further victimized by fear and suspicion, but will loudly proclaim your dignity, value and humanity. You are our sisters and brothers.
Those holding public offices change, but some things will never change. We will always stand together to create a better world, a safer world and a more beautiful world where our diverse gifts and shared dignity brighten every dark time. We will work harder each day to embrace love and accept our differences, and we will safeguard one another against all threats. We will stumble and we will misstep, but we will always rise and be better for our shared efforts.
You are not alone.
October 3, 2012 Redux in 2016
Oct. 3 ~ Civility requires more of us than just winning… it requires connection with the other. #civility
And I don’t mean that quite as mystical as it might sound. I mean really, we are required to connect with the other person. It may be more fun to ridicule them or label them in ways that create distance between you, but that is not civil, not what brings ideas together, and certainly not what facilitates sharing and creation of new options and innovations.
Incivility says, “He’s Un-American!” or “She’s a Socialist!” Incivility believes that winning an argument at the cost of someone’s dignity is acceptable. Incivility divides so that we alone are good and right, and the other is evil and wrong.
Every four years in America we face “the most crucial election of our time.” Why do people speak like that? It’s simple. They want you afraid and prepared to win at all costs. When you are afraid that our society and civilization teeters every four years on the brink of destruction, then civil discourse sounds a bit passe and requires too much time to pursue. Instead, just rip and tear, and do what it takes to win.
That kind of thinking denies that you have anything in common with “the other,” the other person, the other party, the other idea, the other side. It takes a bit of effort, but we can step right over that kind of thinking. We can step right past it and realize vital connections that bring us together in ways that create friendship, collaboration and better options for our society. We are far more alike and connected than incivility can tolerate.