By Dr. E. Faye Williams
After all of the senseless killings in schools, in churches, in workplaces, on streets by civilians and by those charged to protect and to serve us; I cannot help but wonder, “When will it end?”
Our world has become increasingly mean and violent. Tempers are short. People take what doesn’t belong to them. Arguments happen over practically nothing. Members of Congress refuse to compromise – making life miserable for those they were elected to serve.
We see adults acting like children. In the past few days, we’ve seen a leading candidate for President resorting to vulgarity to express himself.
Since I‘m sometimes asked to participate in events where rappers are on the program, I decided to research some of them, and take a look at the words to some of their songs. I was blown away with the words young boys and some older men use in describing women! I’m painfully aware that a few women lower themselves to act in ways that would make their mothers and grandmothers blush and pray hard for their children to recognize the error of their ways.
Don’t the words peace, respect, love, truth, honor, tolerance, dignity and unity mean anything anymore? Doesn’t life mean anything to those who so easily take the lives of others? Doesn’t dignity mean anything?
A few days ago, Pope Francis visited our nation and experienced the ultimate in love and respect. People seemed to have been affected positively by his presence and his words. I went to the National Mall when the Pope spoke to Congress, and people were happy. The crowd was diverse. People were applauding every time justice was mentioned. They were courteous. People of all persuasions were laughing and talking with one another and all seemed to be well. Nobody had a fight.
Even John Boehner bid a happy farewell to his job as Speaker of the House of Representatives! He had a “You gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to throw down and when to walk away” attitude. He exhibited no bitterness or regret. He even sang a happy little tune at his announcement.
The Pope left town and it seemed that all the goodwill we experienced for a few days left with him. Congress went back to talking about shutting down the government. Republican men began a shameful tag team grilling of Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. Russia announced its bombing in Syria. A teen was shot at a local recreation center in Washington, D.C., for no apparent reason; and soon thereafter, it was announced that a mass murder had occurred on a community college campus in Roseburg, Oregon! Why? When will it end?
Talking with each other seems to have become a lost art. If each of us would think of just one thing we could do to make life better for those with whom we come in contact, isn’t it possible we could get rid of some of the anger, the disrespect, the hate that’s leading to all the problems we are currently experiencing?
If our leaders would try just one act of kindness on their jobs each day, I think that would be the beginning of change that could lead others to change their behavior. I am not naïve enough to think this would resolve all of the problems that lead to tragedies, but I have enough hope to believe it would make a difference.
Pope Francis left us with the reminder of something most of us learned in Sunday school or at home when we were very young when he said, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If we did that, just maybe, some of the senseless tragedies would end.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. www.nationalcongressbw.org.