Starting With One’s Self

by Nola

My post yesterday expressed a lot of anger I have over what I have perceived as the culmination of an atmosphere that has been becoming increasingly charged in large part by the tea party and their much-touted gun rights position.

It was pointed out to me on Twitter that this vitriol we today are hearing so much about is heaped on both sides of the aisle.  I have given yesterday’s events a lot of thought.  And am writing this post in an effort to practice what one preaches–to take my own advice.

Based on what I recall in the news and various outlets, the outrageous and egregious political hate-mongering has been from the tea party.  But I concede that I avoid watching most all news.  And consequently there could very well be Pelosi-types that are making just as charging comments against her Right opponents as I can recall being slung from the Right.  Rather than spend my day googling or having comments left by others that can quickly point to the clips of just such Leftist venomous words and deeds, I concede that, in fact, such acidly bitter words have been slung from the Left.

Whenever I am faced with reconciling a truly horrific, violent act (9/11, the Oklahoma shootings, etc.), my immediate reaction is to seek to squarely place blame to those responsible–either legally or ethically.  That was yesterday’s post.

But soon after these devastating, inhumane acts, my feelings turn to what it would take to turn this crazy world around and stop seeing violence as an acceptable answer.  And such queries always lead back to myself: What can I do to reduce the violence in this world?  Because, you see, I cannot stop the Loughners or the McVeighs, the Taliban or irresponsible vitriolic American politicians.  All I can do is look within to see if somehow I played a hand in this atmosphere as well.

And an honest answer to myself would be that, sadly, I did.

I have a hand in further charging this vitriolic atmosphere when I think, and worse, SAY that any one ideology is the problem; when I disagree with the political climate but do nothing more than squawk about it rather than get more involved and take action; when I do nothing beforehand to prevent what I am oh-so-quick to I harp I-told-you-so about; when I am naive enough to think that the bitter lies are on just one side of the aisle.

Words have consequences.  And so does inaction.  And even thoughts of violence have consequences.  In these cold, hard days of being an American, it is time each one of us looks first to ourselves to see if our hands are just a touch as sullied as we cite our opponent’s are.  And work first to cleanse our own.  Only by cleaning one’s own hands, hearts and souls can the process begin to cleanse the nation.

It starts with me.  And you.  Can we walk together, hand-in-hand to a better tomorrow?  Or will we chose to continue to see our fellow Americans whose ideas of a better America being different from our own as the enemy?  This choice is before us, clanging louder than I’ve heard it clang in my lifetime.  May we Americans heed the call and rise up together and not tear each other asunder in the name of politics.

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