The Hallowed Halls of Democracy

There will be many stories, opinions, and theories floated around our country regarding the events of January 6th, 2021. Blame will be passed around like the mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.  However, one aspect of that Wednesday we should agree on is that it will never be forgotten.

For the better part of my writing career, I have tried my dead level best to promote kindness and understanding.  When I write, I always envision God as my boss whispering, “Write from your heart, write healing stories, and weave it around my teachings.” 

Sometimes I know I failed, but I sincerely tried.  

Most of the time, I have steered away from politics, except to calm the reader or encourage each person to view the other side.  My best friends know how I stand on many issues, but publicly promoting my personal views was not in the best interest of all.

One of my editors questioned me one day, “When you write about our political environment, how do you seem not to offend either side?”  My answer is, “Hey, I am just trying to heal a big ole’ divide I feel is dangerous.”

The boiling pot

Our country has endured so much this year.  Every month has scared the dickens out of us as we attempted to hide from the coronavirus, inflaming political ads and arguments.  The virus and politics dangerously mixed with casting doubt on mask-wearing, statistics, and science.  Again blame, distrust, fear, and vitriol swirled in a kettle, becoming hotter and hotter until we could almost feel the sting of a burn. 

Fingers pointed, friends fought, and enough tears fell to fill buckets.  Yet, not enough weeping put out the fires brewing.   How much pain did we want to endure to seal our individual stances, prove our positions, and declare our patriotism was greater than our neighbors? 

Soon after dawn broke on January 7th, people posted on social media their theories on who was responsible for the assault on our Capitol. Who turned the protest into violence? Conspiracy theories reached a new low without basis in fact, only rhetoric. 

It must stop

Just a few hours after being sincerely frightened with the uncertainty of who was breaking into our nation’s house, Congress stood together and declared, “This must stop!”   The first thing they have said in a long time that made complete sense.  It must stop. 

We can accuse a group with whom we do not align with or hate for climbing into the hallowed halls of our American home, or we can call it what it was and still is.

Hate, anger, blame, ungodliness, and evil climbed those Capitol stairs in unison, and we are all responsible.  Patriotism is not found in our souls’ harshness but in the depth of our hearts. It is caring enough about each other to not tear down but build up. It is not condemning someone’s vote, but the glory in each American’s freedom to cast a ballot.

Democracy is kept alive by finding common solutions and coming to the table together before giving up. It is not about sparing and fighting in our individual, selfish, deep-seated corners.

God’s words matter

 We have lost over 370,000 citizens to COVID-19 this last year.   They should be our unifiers.  Their voices need to rise from every grave and shout, “Stop the madness and help each other get well!”

 Their muffled cries have been drowned by discord among those living.   And their lives reduced to percentages and numbers because our compassion failed.  

I pray every citizen would put the swords of conflict and animosity away.  Honor our veterans, our forefathers, and our children by being good, decent people. Now is not the time to declare who is right and who is wrong.  It is not the time to be just boastful Republicans or Democrats.  Today, we must be Americans first and foremost.  

We must understand it is the time to heed the calming voice of the Almighty, who pleads with us, “Will you please, just love one another.”  It is that which will get us to the table of healing.  It is God’s words that will douse the fires of hatred and honor the hallowed halls of Democracy.

A Parade of Human Kindness

Last year brought forth not only a killing pandemic but shined a light on the best and worst in all of us.  We experienced it all, from the discord found in the political environment to the medical community’s united front.  The good, the bad, the love, and the hate, resided side by side.   Neighbors, friends, and family members fought over politics and who was right and who was wrong until there is now talk of another civil war. 

I am sure it will continue for a while because there is so much bitterness, but I witnessed something this weekend that renewed my faith in the best of humankind.  Sometimes life unfolds to reveal a bit of healing and a glimmer of hope that appears divine.

Some people seem to love strife.  Some enjoy controversy and spread distrust to gain fame and fortune.  Others put their fellow citizens in harm’s way to make a point or prove a theory or for power. Humans can become evil, malicious, and selfish, but that is not what I saw on the 2nd day of January 2021.

A big birthday

My friend turned a page on an age that day.  Several years ago, when I turned her age, she, and a few other close friends, hosted a luncheon for me with family and friends.  Folks hugged, shared a meal, and laughter roared as they told old stories.  My friends went overboard, but I will always remember that wonderful day.

I never thought I would not be able to do the same for my pal on her birthday over three years later.  Two other friends and I tried to come up with safe ideas to celebrate this beloved woman.

January 2 is not the best day for a birthday anyway, even when there is no pandemic.  No one gets their picture in the paper for being the first baby born on the day after New Year’s Day.  Many times, one’s birthday presents combine with the Christmas gifts.  Plus, folks are so tired by January 2nd, they most certainly do not enjoy the idea of throwing a party.   

How could we safely celebrate a good friend who was born on the day after fireworks lit the sky without a festive, large gathering?  Of all the people I have known in my life, she is the one who seems to know everyone.  I laugh at the number of friends she has.  I could not keep up with them all if I tried, nor could I write that many Christmas cards.  There is just something about her genuineness and kindness that draws one to her like a magnet.  She is far nicer than I am, but she hangs with me anyway, puts up with my rants, and forgives my many foibles. 

“What have you done?”

I have seen those car parades where people safely celebrate a birthday or a significant event during the pandemic, so we thought that might be a good idea.  I emailed many folks and I told them to spread the word that on January 2, 2020, there would be a surprise parade for Deborah.  

We did have the little luncheon with just the four of us, but we used a ruse to coax her outside the front of my house precisely at noon.   Around the curve, my husband drove the lead in his bright red car topped with balloons, and when Deborah saw it, she looked puzzled.  As far as one could see, car after car rounded the curve. Many, adorned with more balloons and signs, held several passengers while countless horns blew as they inched closer. 

“What have you done?” Deborah shouted as she ran into the street.  People presented her with cards, gifts, champagne, and air hugs as each one greeted their surprised friend. 

I watched as the smiling faces seemed to relish where they were, who they were celebrating, and the complete and utter joy of being a part of creating happiness for a person they loved.

Those who participated have differing beliefs, attitudes, and personalities, yet their diversity did not break their mutual bond of friendship.

Perhaps, we can avoid civil wars if we remember we find happiness when we unite to create joy for one another.

January 2 became a day not many will forget, including the girl who said, “It was the best birthday ever!”  As for me, I was able to watch the light of human kindness shine on the best parade of my life.