We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

We Can’t Waste This Crisis

Written By: Charles - Jul• 23•20

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Buddies Alan, Tom, Bill. Sally, too. Kate’s openness. The meal I made yesterday, which wasn’t so good. Derek. Who will continue transporting the fallen from our yard to his wood stove. Peter Praski who fixed our ceiling lights in the living room and comes today to work on the fan. Jude and his shipping container. Eduardo and Holly with Holly’s brother there in an Airstream. This mountaintop neighborhood. Diverse politically and economically.

Oh, John. Teddy. Harvey. Woody. Bill. Margaret Sanger. Sexual predators, racists, eugenicists. Harvey and Bill, definitely bad men. But Bill was funny. Harvey produced good movies. Woody makes real art. Margaret Sanger championed birth control. John and Teddy, good men, I think, who chose not to think critically about their views on race.

Luther: hate sin and love the sinner. Not my theological world anymore, but the sentiment is true. None of us are all this or all that. Judaism teaches that we have a yetzer hara, or an inclination to serve only ourselves, and a yetzer hatov, an inclination to bear the burden of the other. Mussar as a spiritual discipline teaches how to balance these two and how to use even our yetzer hara in non-harmful ways.

Yes, a difficult idea. Yes, one that could be used to whitewash (pun intended) the most awful of people, but true nonetheless, I believe. Hitler was a painter. Not a good one. But, still. Does his apparent love of dogs forgive him for his anti-semitism and rancid cruelty? No. But it can be a point of connection between his humanity and our own.

At its best this idea allows us to see our own flaws, to imagine ourselves as a complex person, to not get trapped in the oh, I’m no good at all, or the I’ll never amount to anything psychic swamps. And, to not view one-dimensionally the others in our lives, in our history.

No more than we should forgive the Nazis for their atrocities should we forgive racist, sexist actions, policies, religious beliefs. We must stand against all actions inspired by claims of superiority or inferiority based on secondary characteristics. Must. Always.

MLK said we cannot legislate what is in peoples hearts. But we can make sure their thoughts do not become actions. That’s what the Civil Rights Act, the Affirmative Action legislation, the Voter’s Rights acts were about.

What will we need now? I don’t know. I’m waiting for Black and Latino communities, First Nations to define that. We could pass the E.R.A. That would help women.

Trump has to go. The sycophants of his in the Senate and House, too. That’s the sine qua non to grab this moment for the significant change that can happen. After that, it will take a lot of sausage making. But we cannot waste this crisis. It offers too much.

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