Events/news create election-time dissonance
What a dizzying cachophony of events has led up to the election. What's happening? Will our shock overwhelm and numb us? How are media we each follow covering it? Are they raising the crucial questions to help us make decisions? How informed are we? We have also had debates, voters guides, social media appeals, ads, campaign rallies, personal connections with candidates and opportunities to research the issues.
There were bombs mailed to members of one party, the gruesome murder of a Saudi journalist, mocking body slamming another, and another caravan of Central Americans leaving risky lives of poverty in violent neighborhoods. There's talk of terrorism and terrorists. There's slinging of muddy, hateful words and xenophobia—blaming, bait and switch, repetition of falsehoods to win believers. Words matter. There here have been volatile words this season.
Violence and threat of it is taking the political rhetoric out of the realm of discourse and into the realm of division that leads to fear and hate that lead to violence. Since the pipe bombs, there's been a call to tone down the rhetoric.
In this issue, we learn that free speech has costs and limits, that area universities are committed to including students and faculty of diverse backgrounds to build "intercultural competence."
It's heartening to know that many people are keeping their commitments to work for peace, justice, sustainability and caring.
It's heartening that the State Supreme Court ended the death penalty and the Spokane City Council voted for renewable energy, a nuclear-free zone and limiting Border Patrol access to the Intermodal Center.
It's heartening to know that local people reach out globally to help friends in other lands improve their lives with fair trade.
It's heartening to know the witness of caregivers with people as they are dying.
It's heartening to know there are many sung and unsung journalists who inform people of facts and truth around issues.
Someone recently said it's hard to be resilient in these days, but now and all times are times we need to be resilient and to carry on in our commitment to justice and caring. It took decades to form the UN.
We need to recognize the power of social movements through which people demand changes in policies in the many months and years between elections.
Faiths, nonprofits, ad hoc groups and ongoing organizations are avenues for people to learn about, be empowered and act—to speak out, march, contact leaders and organize peers. That's how we express our vote between elections.
Before and after we vote, we must be attentive. We must keep informed, inspired and involved.
Mary Stamp – editor
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November, 2018