Not On My Watch
I had the opportunity to attend “An Evening with Marianne Williamson” on her Love America tour last week. (I love that name. I wish I had come up with it.)
She spoke of many things, all of which supported this:
“Where there is love, there are always solutions.”
In today’s political climate, we are desperately in need of love AND solutions.
And hope. We definitely need hope.
She pointed out that “over time, we (as a country) get it right.” However we start, eventually we get it right. We are self-correcting, even if it takes us a really long minute. But we get it right. Whatever it is. Eventually.
For example, the United States of America was founded upon the most enlightened principles with the idea that “All men are created equal.”
And yet, those very words were written and signed by slave owners.
There is and was a difference, she said, between being anti-slavery and an abolitionist. Someone who was anti-slavery might have said something along the lines of, “Yeah. Slavery is bad. I don’t own slaves. I don’t think others should own slaves.” Abolitionists, on the other hand, said “Not on my watch.”
Not on my watch.
They took not only an anti-slavery stance, but they also took the risk of being public, of both speaking an unpopular truth and actively working toward ending slavery. They recognized that slavery was not a political issue, but a moral one, a spiritual one.
When we look at all the problems plaguing the United States right now: the divisiveness, the utter lack of respect for the dignity of others, poorly funded schools, too much focus on war and not enough focus on veterans, the fact that slavery is still legal in prisons, lack of accessible healthcare, wide-spread poverty, terrorism in the form of mass shootings, and so much more–it is so easy, so so so easy to be discouraged. It’s so easy to give up hope.
But we cannot, must not give up hope.
We don’t have the luxury of being hopeless.
We must choose a cause and say, “Not on my watch.” We must elect politicians who say, “Not on my watch.” If, as my friend says, we don’t know for whom we should vote, we should vote for anyone other than the incumbent.
Sometimes the devil you know isn’t the best choice.
The preamble of the US Constitution says this:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Our very government was formed to make a more perfect union, to establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, and to secure blessings of liberty for our founders and ourselves.
This is the why of the government and the nation of the United States of America.
If we find those in government who are making our nation a less perfect union, we must vote them out. If we find those who corrupt or obstruct justice, we must vote them out. If we find those who destroy domestic tranquility, we must vote them out. If we find those who are more focused on attacking than defending, we must vote them out. If we find those who work against the general welfare of America’s citizens, we must vote them out. If we find those who work toward destroying the blessings of liberty we must vote them out.
To allow ones in power to continue defiling the very reason for the existence of the United States is to be complicit in that defilement. To allow ones in power to continue perverting the intention of the Founding Fathers is to be complicit in that perversion.
These problems that we as a nation are facing are not political issues. They are moral ones, spiritual ones. The spiritual and moral issues must be addressed, however, through political means.
We must work through love to find solutions, and not just for a small subset of the population. Ambitious, transcendent solutions are out there, simply waiting to be uncovered from the animus which buries them.
We must love our neighbors as ourselves. We must abandon labels which confine us and work together to find solutions. We must learn the art of civil discussion, addressing policy and not personality; we must refuse to react with mindless defensiveness. We must find solution-minded people with whom to work, regardless of their political affiliation. We must find those who will pursue solutions judiciously and relentlessly.
If our neighbors are unable to work with us toward solutions, if they are determined to focus on incivility and whataboutism rather than solutions, we must accept them as they are, love them and bless them and then move the fuck on. Instead of wasting our time and precious energy on people who would rather be right than happy or people who would rather die than change their minds, we must find like-minded individuals and begin our work.
And that work begins with