As individuals, let's squash the dysfunction
Wednesday, Oct. 24 — A 51-year-old man tries to break into a black church in Louisville, Kentucky, and when he can't, he goes to a supermarket, targets black people, and kills two, one a grandfather at the store with his grandson looking for poster board for a school project.
Friday, Oct. 26 — A 54-year-old man, an admitted white supremacist, is arrested in Florida after a furious, national hunt, and he is charged with mailing at least 13 bombs to prominent Democrats, President Trump detractors and CNN.
Saturday, Oct. 27 — A 46-year-old man, ensnarled in anti-Semitic hate, invades a Pittsburgh-area synagogue and shoots and kills 11 and injures six others — action he promised on his hate-filled social media post.
In response, our leaders are focused on throwing or deflecting blame.
America, are we going to succumb to this?
It's short-sighted and wrong to place blame directly on President Trump, as many on the left have been quick to do. Racially motivated actions of hate and murder have long happened in our nation. The tragic murders in the Charlottesville black church took place during the Obama Administration. However, it's also blind and overly partisan to not recognize that the president's in-your-face political style, his disdain for political opposition, sets a tone that can embolden someone bent on violence. It also leads his opponents to ratchet outward the limits of their vitriol, which can just as much add fuel to the fire.
Until we get a grasp on our politics, until we can find leaders who will unify the nation, whether those voices lean left or right, we will continue to drift further apart. Right now, a Republican can't show anything but lavish support for Trump or they'll face political exile from their party; and a Democrat can't acquiesce an inch toward a Trumpian idea without being pushed aside in their party. We're dysfunctional, and dysfunction makes us susceptible to evil such as that which ran rampant last week.
Again, are we going to succumb to this?
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, recently published a book perfect for our violent, confused times — "THEM: Why We Hate Each Other - and How to Heal." It speaks less to politics and more to people. He contends we are a nation of lonely individuals, a state exasperated by social media, self-affirming media outlets, dwindling community involvement and reduced inter-human communication and activity.
His ideas aren't purely original, but the senator is on to something. There is a real vacuum of community throughout our nation, for various reasons. I heard it repeatedly this past weekend, that it will take something cataclysmic to unify us at this point, a war, economic collapse or environmental-geologic catastrophe. Let's don't wait for that. Let's follow voices and ideas of unity, let's push aside the negative shrill from the left and right seeking to further separate us. And let's improve ourselves before we address our political opposition. We are supposed to be an evolving species, right?
One cannot work at a local, hometown newspaper such as ours and not realize that there are far more champions of community than enemies of it. Good outweighs the bad by at least 100 to 1, and we all know it's the same for every community in our great nation.
It's that truth that we must embrace, and be vigilant to not let the seeds of divisive dysfunction, whether from the left or right, prevail. We need a reset, a commitment to open hearts and minds. If we don't, the carnage will just continue and likely get worse.