Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise
HCP columnist

After watching and reading a bit too much news, I feel quite sad and helpless. The overriding theme these days seems to be constant anger and hatred.

It makes one wonder if we’ve always been a species that focuses on these emotions rather than those kinder, yet more elusive angels of tolerance, happiness and gratitude.

We have an incumbent stating openly he’s running on grievances, intolerance and increasing divisions between people. We have some running on what doesn’t work rather than what does work.

I can remember a time when those seeking a place on the political stage tried to point out the possible, appeal to what bound the human race together and touted their particular plan to raise everyone up rather than diminish some. It’s not unique to the political stage, but it seems like anger, hate and intolerance are surfacing in unimaginable ways.

It seems we have forgotten that we used to be able to look at challenges by assessing, confronting, and solving in an effort to benefit the whole where possible.

While America has been described and touted as a melting pot with its inherent pros and cons, the ability to coexist was our strong suit. Now, we’re seeing retribution, vindictiveness and payback taking center stage. We’re seeing fear outweigh and outmaneuver courage. We’re seeing morals being traded for temporary expediency. We’re seeing lies overtake truth so that everything is becoming suspect.

Who benefits in that type of world? Even those who think their grievances are being aired, where is the solution when the only thing happening is the complaining and fighting, not the fixing.

It’s not fun to live in a metaphorically armed camp. People who voice their opinions are coming under attack, both verbal and other. People who respectfully disagree are being publicly vilified and fired from jobs. People are becoming fearful to display their bumper stickers, worship, express their opinions, root for their favorite sports teams for fear that they will be attacked.

We seem to have either forgotten or decided to ignore history. We’ve seen over and over where one group temporarily overpowers others, but the pendulum does swing at some point. Power is temporary and illusive. It isn’t static.

When we diminish others, have we forgotten there will a time others will want to diminish us? Do we really believe that any end justifies any means? We are teaching each other and our children that a momentary win is all that counts, and different people and different ideas are expendable, and worse – evil. Are we really OK with that?

I wonder when we will collectively raise our voices and demand that there is a place for all, and that all deserve respect, care and compassion.

“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemöller, Lutheran pastor (1892-1984)