Decency: A Calling, A Movement

I was raised during the Civil Rights Movement in America.

The attack on people of color in Buffalo reminds us we are raising our children in the enduring need of simple decency.

We each have a responsibility to a decency movement in America.

There is tolerance of indecency among us.

It is a malignancy, hating someone for the color of his skin or shades of culture, the place of her origin, the dialect of a man or woman’s tongue. This cancer spreads in our tolerance for gory words, overheard by 5 year olds at dinner tables. It is OUR disease of OUR culture riven by cells of vitriol WE allow. Filthy, cancerous words and thoughts are tolerated from our halls of leadership to the schoolhouses of our legacy. I am dis-eased by what I hear now in America. It ought to break every heart and pain every mind, this latter day indulgence of what threatens death to our civilization. It is murderous.

This outrages me. I hope and pray it outrages you.

Socrates reminds us an unexamined life is not worth living. As I examine my own, just now, I see a man who has tolerated too much from people around him. Misbegotten words from the mouths of men and women I know and respect have run out unchecked by me. They struck me hard. They cut open the center-most heart instilled by the people who raised me, and who love me still. To this moment I regret not raging against the outrageous.

And yet….

Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior reminds us rage will not cure this raging among us. “Darkness can not drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate can’t not drive out hate; only love can do that.”

I arrive at this moment wrestling with what love must look like here. How does a man as furious as I am right now temper his tongue with anything that feels like love? The words at its brink are the stuff of back ally brinkmanship. But if I enter the brawl with words of stupidity, I become a fool and nothing good or decent wins. I must not. I will not. Such words are bigotry all their own.

So here, now, I heave a sigh and do no bidding of rage. Instead, I must let disappointment do the talking. May love find a pulse in the artery of what follows.

If you believe a racist giggle or a prideful insult does no harm between friends, I want to run you from this blog page. But no, you stay. If you believe public mockery or private shaming belong in our discourse, I desire asking you to leave. But you stay. If you wear a cap with code words that translate to profanity unfit for the mouth of a child, I WANT to run you out of my gym. But no. You stay, as well.

I am an imperfect man with a responsibility to peace. It will be sought here, and so will wisdom, such as I am. Dr. King’s “weapon of love” helped codify some decency into our laws. Simple. Human. Decency. I will seek to place decency here. I pray it will win hearts and minds amid this great and gory outrageousness of now. The plowshare of no resistance must get beaten into a sword that cuts the malignancy of bigotry from the tissues of our times. It must get done with a strong and loving arm.

It must be done in peace.

We must become better than what we have allowed. Better than how we have been. This malignancy has but one healer, and he, and she, are — ourselves.

This is a movement still calling to us all. We must carry it out, lest we fall.

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