Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Problem and Solution

My heart continues to ache over the recent events of our nation. My mind continues to seek understanding. As I have listened to the news, read my social feeds, and talked with others, I see a common theme. We are all looking for answers, explanations, justification. Some say it is a brutality issue, some say it is crime. Some say it is racial, some say it is general hate. Some blame our president, some blame the NRA. Some blame the media, some blame the police. As I reflected on each of these explanations this morning my mind began to see a pattern. The cards started to fall into place. I ran to my computer to try to catch the glimmer before it slipped away. 

We are caught in a cycle. As a nation we have experienced success. With that success came an independence. We began to think that WE were the reason for our success and became less dependent on God to meet our needs. As we made that shift our values shifted as well. As a result of our "self-sufficiency", we stopped seeking God and teaching the values that truly led to our success. Respect for others and for authority became a thing of the past. People who do not respect one another become very selfish. You have something I want? I'll just take it. I don't like what you said? I'll harm you. You look/love different than me? I will hate you. Selfishness and crime enter the picture. When one puts their own desires above the needs and desires of others, fear and hate are reintroduced into the picture, but I think at this point the order changes. Disrespect led to hate and fear, but I believe selfishness and crime lead to fear and hate. Fear is a powerful emotion. It makes us react in extreme manners for self-preservation. Our brains are actually wired that way. When safety is threatened the blood flow of our brain changes and we begin to think from the very primal parts of our brain - fight, flight or freeze. Our responses are not what they would normally be. Fear is powerful. That fear in the good, and hate in the bad, leads police and others in authority to react with forceful corrective actions. Without the crime there would be no need to react at all, but the crime warrants a response. The perfect storm of disrespect, crime, fear, hate, and a required response lead to actions that at times (and this is actually more rare than our media would have us believe although still an issue to address) are extreme. This forceful corrective response leads back to fear and hate and in turn retaliation. The more this cycle repeats, the further we move from God; the further we spiral into the problem.

But there is a solution.

If as a people group, not people groups-- not black, white, brown, heterosexual, homosexual, but as Americans we begin to move back toward God and the values associated with good then we will see a change in the way we raise our children. We will return to teaching that ALL people deserve respect and that it is essential to our survival. When people respect one another the level of love and understanding increases exponentially; our communities become supportive and caring. Crime is not necessary because we HELP one another meet our needs. The help we give one another breeds more love and understanding and requires LESS corrective action. Less corrective action means MORE love and understanding. Each repetition of this cycle brings us one step closer to the foundation upon which we were built. One nation. Under God.

We have got to decide if we are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Which cycle will we follow and promote? We cannot continue to meet our personal needs with no regard for how it impacts those around us. It is true that we need leaders who will guide our nation in this direction, but it is even more true that our leaders do not matter if we ourselves will not take responsibility for bringing about change. 

Where do you stand? Are you the problem, or the solution?


  1. Just a few thoughts... Personally I believe in God and then some. Having said that, some of the kindest people I have been close to are atheist. You can practice the Golden rule without a belief in God. Poverty is ignored in this article. Seems like a lot of realities are ignored. I'm white in a mixed neighborhood and I would not trade places with my black neighbors in this country. God belief can help people - I'm not denying that. Growing up comfortable and cared for are the most important things. You have to have enough of these things to feel that you can share. I'm also suffering from a disabled condition and most people don't really have a clue how difficult it is every day. My pre-disabled life was so much easier. I relate this to being raised white and middle class to urban, black, and poor. I can never pretend to know how hard it must be. I have been pretty low income my adult life due to working in non-profit, so I have a taste and it is SO not fun. People need opportunities, local businesses, education. We export regular jobs and import highly educated people to do our better jobs. We have to focus on creating opportunities for middle and lower class people. We can only access our higher values if we are comfortable enough:food, shelter, enough peace and quiet (totally lacking in cities where many of us live), having grown up with caring caregivers, etc., and getting to know each other again. We are still too black and white, red and blue.

    1. AlohaDelRey, thank you for taking time to read my ramblings and respond. You and I have quite a bit in common. I also have relationships with atheists who live very moral lives and are highly ethical people. My dear friend and God-children are black. I see their struggles each day and am saddened by the unfair trials they face. I work in a school system and poverty is a harsh reality that we deal with as well. I know how going without the basics of life can change perceptions, behaviors, and responses. I have had Stage 4 cancer steal my health and upset the balance of my family and finances. Those struggles are so very real.
      I have known wonderful people with all of the issues that you mention who continue to rise above in spite of it all. At the heart of it all is love and the greatest source of love I know is God. People who love one another can see people through those hard times. I look forward to a time when our country moves back to treating one another with that love. You are so right that we are still too divided. I am grateful to partner with people like you who are seeking to provide opportunities and meet people's needs. People who love help one another meet their needs. They teach their children to do the same. The ripple effect begins and we begin to see the changes that will allow each person to be treated with respect, dignity and kindness.
      Thank you again for your sharing your thoughts. The dialogue is part of the answer. Only when we begin to seek understanding of different viewpoints can we truly grow. Thank you for sharing yours.