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2020 was bad but it did plant some seeds

There are only a few hours left in 2020, one of the most arduous years most of us have ever had to endure; I remain hopeful as I watch the images of the year playback on my television. It was a year where: Many of our brothers and sisters senselessly lost their lives to a virus run rampant, aided by leader’s political overtures and the indifference of other’s health and safety by those who followed them. People of color continued to be shot and killed at a disproportionate rate by those sworn to protect them.
The rich saw their portfolios grow in size while food lines stretched for miles.
The very fabric of American Democracy came under fire, its flames fanned by American politicians looking to secure or further their careers. Yet, for as bad as it was, 2020 planted the seeds for a better future. Young people and people who never were in the past came out in record numbers to vote—determined to remove those who put themselves ahead of the country, who looked to line the pockets of the rich at the expense of most Americans, who believed that America has no responsibility for the inherent racism and social injustice it has propagated since before its birth.
Americans of all races, genders, ethnic backgrounds, religious and sexual orientations came together and took to the street in a call for racial and social justice. It was the birth of this generation’s Coalition of the Righteous. So as we head into the new year, let us not discard 2020 entirely but cultivate the seeds of hope it has planted.

Happy New Year!

Do not think. Do

As Yoda would say: Do not think. Do.

As children, we do not look at each other and think.

How are they different than me?

Do they believe in the same god I believe in?

Where were they born?

What is their sexual orientation?

As children, we do.  We see other children and look to interact with them.  We do not think about the unknowns of the child across from us.  We reject the fear that they may be different than us because we do not believe there is an unknown.  We allow our minds to be free, to embrace the unknown and new possibilities. In these possibilities is the growth potential that is essential for the existence of humanity. As we grow, we learn to question the culture, religion, and religion of others. Subsequently, we cease to grow; we stagnant and wither away, unable to or afraid to dream of a better future for humanity.

Yoda had it right. Do not think. Do

The Lord gazes upon us with sadness

The Bible tells us that humans have free will, a mind, and will of their own and, as such, are morally responsible for our behavior. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, one must wonder if the Lord gazes upon us with sadness. Sadness that so many of us have availed ourselves of the gift of free will not to follow the lessons that the Lord and his sons taught us, not to benefit humanity in general, but to indulge in selfish behavior. Even sadder is that so many use his name as the cornerstone of their actions.

In 2020 the well-being and health of Americans were sacrificed for personal and political gain. Racism and bigotry thrived and were used by our leaders to divide and conquer. The pursuit of happiness for many was impeded by existing economic and social injustice roadblocks and exacerbated by Covid. The use of masks turned into a political football by leaders and those who follow them—seeing their self-centered refusal to wear a mask as a badge of honor but a sign of disregard for the lives of their fellow man.

The result? Hundred of thousands of Americans waking up on Christmas morning to an empty chair with a heavy heart. The chair that was once occupied by a loved one regrettably lost their life to a virus that killed far more Americans than it should.

As American leaders celebrate this Christmas with their families and golf, isolated from the harsh realities of the real world, millions of Americans wait on growing food lines and face the possibility of homelessness. Simultaneously large corporations receive billions in bailouts, and millionaires continue to see their portfolio grow.

The Bible is clear we are given freedom. But we are not to use that freedom in the pursuit of our selfish desires.

Galatians 5:13: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

It is not so far fetched to say that the evil man is growing in power and gaining followers each day as they are preying on the intrinsic human behavior for power, greed. Bringing out man’s true nature.

Luke 6:45: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

It is up to those of us with true and pure faith to resist the evil around us by leaning on our faith in the Lord, and hopefully, we will one day defeat the evil from among us.

With great power comes great responsibility

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please. But as the opportunity to do what is right.

Peter Marshall

With great power comes great responsibility

-Peter Parker

Let’s be clear I do not write this to say American society has always done the right thing, understands its great responsibility, or that it has seen all of its citizens enjoyed freedom equally. However, for all its warts, this is still America, the land of the free, and the last four years, especially 2020, has shone a spotlight on the selfish and irresponsible behavior of a segment of America’s leaders and a percentage of its citizenry. Leadership’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the anti-maskers who follow them is the most glaring example. From the very beginning, President Trump downplayed the pandemic; it was clear to most that his end game was to downplay the pandemic not to keep the country calm as he claimed but an attempt to keep the stock market from falling. The reason for this? To try and ensure his re-election bid. As the year progressed and tens of thousands of Americans succumbed to the virus, Trump doubled down, taking no responsibility for his office’s response, openly mocking the wearing of masks, and inciting potential violence against state leaders who attempted to slow the spread of the virus as their state’s hospital systems became overwhelmed. Many GOP Congresspeople, Senators, Governors, Mayors, etc., followed suit despite the pandemic spreading like wildfire through their respective states. The loss of life took a back seat to their selfish serving agendas of maintaining their hold on power. A portion of Americans blindly followed them ignored the pleading of the medical world to wear a mask. They wrapped themselves in the American flag, shouted USA, USA, and claimed that being an American gives them the right to do as they please; this, of course, is a false belief, but even worse, it was based on the fact that refusing to wear a mask only impacts themselves, refusing to understand the obvious, it impacts anyone they come in contact with. One could argue that the entire Covid pandemic proved a large portion of America is not ready mentally to handle the freedom it enjoys because they have put their agendas ahead of what is right.

The second most glaring example is America’s current leadership attempt to undermine democracy by casting doubts and attempting to overturn the will of the people in the 2020 Presidental election. It was Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg that said

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long.

And while we are not literally at war, we each other; let us make no mistake that the Trump administration and the GOP have spent the last four years attempting to divide Americans culminating with their actions following the election. While it simple to say America will always endure, history has shown every empire has an expiration day. As Lincoln said in the Gettysburg address, America has survived all these years based on the principle, regardless of how literally it has been applied as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. And because of this, it shall not perish from the earth. It should go without saying that when Americans elect their leaders, they should expect to look to protect Americans and the democracy by which they were voted into the very seats of power they hold. Seemingly that is no longer the case. Politicians now look to protect themselves, even if that means consciously dividing the nation by sowing discontent and neglecting the very principles that this country is allegedly built on. They have no concept that when they took their oath of office, they were bestowed with great power, and with that power come great responsibility. They embrace the power while simultaneously discarding discard the responsibility it comes with. But make no mistake; it is not American leaders alone who have neglected their responsibility. The very people who vote them into their positions of power have turned a blind eye to corruption and politicians attempting to divide them and, in the case of the Presidential election, usurp the very democracy that they claim to respect so much, as long as it fits their particular view on society regardless if that view is good for the country as a whole. These Americans have proven that the concept of the power that comes with democracy, something so many in the world do not enjoy, has escaped them.

So, where do we go from here? Will we ever be able to come together as Americans? Will we ever be able to look at both sides of the coin and understand that our side is not always right, and that is OK. Will we ever, as people, hold our politicians accountable again. Will our politicians ever have the backbone to put the country ahead of their agendas again? If the Civil War lessons show us anything, we can overcome our differences and come together, at least to some extent, as one. But before we start to heal, we need to relearn what freedom truly means, the power that it holds, and the responsibility that comes with it.