Friday, June 29, 2018

Theology, politics, and the journalists

How Jordan is spending her day
My day

 Every morning I start my day with an online meditation from theologian Richard Rohr. Most days his words help balance me and send me in the direction I want to go. This morning, he wrote about the difference between restorative and exploitive systems of government. Restorative philosophies seek as the name implies to restore earth’s natural resources, from environmental to human. It cares for rivers and lakes and pristine wildernesses, just as it cares for the poor, the sick, the homeless. It builds toward a future. An exploitive government uses up all resources for satisfaction in the moment, with no thought for the future. It ignores all but the rich, whom it coddles, and it destroys the environment for the sake of immediate wealth.

Guess which one I think we’re living in now?

Then a bit later I read an essay about former President Obama’s expected return to politics, in some degree, for the mid-term elections. He was quoted as saying this is not, should not be a dog-eat-dog world in which people are angry all the time. Probably he’s an idealist, but if he can help us restore a bit of loving kindness to our world, I’ll be ever so grateful.

None of us should think we’re helpless in the mess that has become our country these days. We can each begin with kindness and an absence of anger to those around us, even those with whom we bitterly disagree. We can erase anger from our lives, though it isn’t easy. The absence of anger does have great health benefits.

And that brings my thoughts to the sad, sad case of the five journalists killed in Maryland yesterday. The tragedy is horrendous, made even worse if possible by the timing. Trumpf had just called journalists enemies of the people—not of the government, mind you, but of the people. One of his sycophants—apparently a person of some notoriety that I have never heard of and can’t remember or spell his last name; he’s Milo somebody—said he couldn’t wait for people to begin shooting journalists.

And then bam! Five dead.

Liberals were quick to claim that Trump and this Milo person have blood on their hands for inciting violence. That may well yet prove true, and it is horrendous that the president of our country says such things. But if we’re honest, this particular shooting was a grudge act, anger against the specific paper, fueled not by Trumpf’s words or Milo’s but by the obsessive hate of one individual who had been nursing his anger for years.

In these outrageous days, it’s too easy for those of us who resist to leap to blame everything on the president, be he legitimate or not. But if we would strengthen our argument, we must curb the anger and stick to logic, to rational arguments. It is right and good to defend journalists in the face of the awful attacks being hurled at them; it is not right to blame this one episode on Trumpf’s words.

Many will disagree with me. Bring it on. With logic, not anger, please.

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