Our country has come to a crossroads. I do not believe that we may any longer sit and permit the racial injustices that have become apparent. I’m unaware of how long things have been this way. Perhaps it’s just modern technology removing the scales from my eyes. I’ve always known there was racism and bigotry in this country, but it was hidden from my view. For my sin of being an ignorant bystander, I apologize.
The two paths of this crossroads are the well worn status quo or the road less traveled. The status quo will continue the oppression and senseless violence. However, the road not yet taken can fulfill the promise of the American Dream. It can confirm that all are created equal and ensure that all can have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that all can be judged by the quality of their character and for nothing else.
There are many calls for government intervention. Action. Things to be done. First, I must say that the consequences of killing a man should be delivered swiftly and justly. That is the responsibility of the legal system. Any lack of duty in the legal system should also be dealt with swiftly. However, for the rest of us, we too have responsibilities.
Ghandi taught us to be the change we want in the world. I don’t believe we can legislate morality. Putting a law on the books that says a man cannot be racist is foolish. One cannot tell another how to think. However, we can each look inside ourselves and dig deep to ask what we believe. Is this country giving each man his due? When people are saying “all lives matter”, do they truly mean that black lives matter?
I go to my faith in this type of introspection. “…when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The Apostle Paul wrote this in his first letter to the church of Corinth many years ago, but they words still ring true. Nothing can replace these three, especially the greatest. Our best hope for this country to heal, to progress, and to be great again is for love to be our default mode.
Thomas Merton, a best selling author and monk who lived at the Abbey of Gethsemani for many years once described his epiphany at the corner of 4th and Walnut in Louisville, KY. He said that he was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that he loved all these people. What would our world look like if everyone suddenly had that same epiphany? What if when we saw people without regard to their race, religion, or sexual preference; we just loved them like Thomas Merton did that day in Louisville? What if we followed the command that Jesus Christ gave us to love?
I don’t know if Whitman was talking about love, but love is the road less traveled these days. I think we can take that road and be the better off because of it.