Are you not yet entertained?

Marcus AureliusI stood in front of a centuries old sculpture of Marcus Aurelius last week, during one of my frequent trips to the Institute of Art in Chicago, and I was moved to tears.  As I thought on a man who led a great empire but did so nobly with a philosophy that valued self restraint, duty, and respect for others. I thought on his many years focused on obtaining a good education.  I thought on the way that he took the mantle of leadership not as a badge of pride but due to a sense of duty.  I thought of how among his many duties he took time to put sincere focus on the process of emancipating slaves, the guardianship of children and orphans, and the selection of councillors for cities within the empire.  History has long since revered him as a great leader that guided the Roman Empire with temperance and honor.

If you wonder why I shed tears, it was on that same day I was bombarded with images of my own countrymen abandoning the ideals of self-restraint, duty, and respect for others.  Of course I am talking about this election cycle and the barbaric tone it is taking.  I had hoped this year would be a year I could educate my children on the fantastic freedom we have, as citizens of this great country, to select our leaders on the merits of their character and their ideals to improve the lives of all the people living in the United States.  Instead I fear turning on any coverage, because the examples of these grown men and women, and their many supporters is so sharply at odds with the values I am trying to teach my children.

 

As I watched last week people were treated with blistering verbal and violent contempt for holding and defending views contrary to candidates and their supporters and I had to ask:

“America are you not yet entertained… is it the blood of the innocent that will finally appease you? Is the circus so great that you are blind to the evil before your eyes?”

When it is acceptable to deride a person for skin color, their religion, or their political view, we are failing the grand experiment that is the United States of America. Did we not once say “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Our actions are driving us faster and faster towards a place where that statement we made as we declared our independence, in hopes of a brighter future for our descendants, will be rendered void.

I watched the Trump rally in Kentucky, the one with the video of a young black college student being verbally and physically assaulted as she is “escorted” out.  In the 40 minute video she was not the only one escorted out that way and it is shameful.  To see the anger in peoples eyes as they confront their fellow citizens for holding different views is scary.  To see bystanders tacitly accept that treating another human being in such a fashion is not only OK but entertaining.  The mob has arrived for this years politics, and as I watched the mob act I had to ask myself: “If that was my daughter, my wife, my sister, my son, my brother, my husband or my friend, what would I say to them as I watched them push, abuse, and harass another person for disagreeing with a politician’s position?”

I want to ask that question to America at large,  I want to know why we are allowing ourselves to become the mob, why we are willing to be entertained so by the mistreatment of others.

America, whose child’s right to life must be injured, whose liberty revoked, whose pursuit of happiness crushed, before we realize we are not the people we are acting like today? All to often when we speak of our country and our politics we claim that our country is founded on Judaeo-Christian values… Where are those values when we demean and abuse others for how they differ from us?

As I stood in front of that sculpture and wept I thought about the many valuable lessons of history that we seem so willing to forget.  It is a subject we do far to little study of and our politics today make that painfully obvious. Unfortunately we see history as this obscure thing and I think it get’s lost that we are making history every day…

We need to look closely at what we are doing and ask very pointedly are our actions today the ones we want our future generations to read about in 50, 100, 1000 years from now?

We are better than this…

Vote for who you like, hold what ever belief you like, but please for the sake of our children do not be the mob that destroys the bright hope of our future. Do not snuff out the diverse ideas and varying opinions that have made  the United States a great country.

Remember,

No one person makes the United States of America less than great.

No one person makes the United States of America less than great.

No one person makes the United States of America less than great.

If we are not great it is because of our collective will to accept hate and bigotry as the status quo.

If we are not great it is because of our collective will to embrace the mentality of a mob and mistreat others in the guise of anonymity.

If we are not great it is because of our unwillingness to compromise and work together as our founding fathers hoped we would do.

America… are you not yet entertained?

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