How Do We Respond to This Really Horrible Day?
“It’s too late to reverse the death and destruction, but it’s never too early to advocate for peace and life.” — Paul Brandeis Raushenbush
Just 3 days ago, believing things are getting worse at a faster pace than ever before, we revisited Where Does of All This F*cking Evil Sh%t Come From? to offer up some explanation of why the world seems to be plummeting downward.
Yesterday, everything got much worse.
While the media was fixed on the passenger jet that was shot out of the sky by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists, ground troops started rolling into Gaza with seeming impunity. Today, I am publishing in full Raushenbush’s thoughtful, 400-word call for action — we are fast losing our humanity but each of us must recognize that we are not impotent.
What a horrible day. Israel has begun a ground offensive in Gaza, the White House is on lockdown, and a plane has been shot down in Ukraine. Today’s news piles on an already shaking landscape of ISIS in Iraq, immigrant children suffering on the U.S. border, and still missing Nigerian girls. My Twitter feed has been raging with information and disinformation today, but underneath the diatribes I have been struck by a sense of despair and disbelief that the world can unravel this fast, and anger at our sense of impotence.
But we are not impotent, and this is not “happening to us.” We, the human race, are doing this to ourselves. These aren’t natural disasters, or “acts of God.” It’s just us, humans, having completely lost our humanity. We are warring, and hurting, and intentionally or unintentionally killing one another through direct assault or indifference and neglect.
We have forgotten that we belong to one another, that we are connected, that we are all sisters and brothers, that we need one another.
Today, right now, I want us to take back our power, and begin to mend together what has been ripped apart.
It is too late to bring back the innocent lives that have been lost so far in the Middle East, but it is not too late to stop the killing that is happening now.
It is too late to bring back the innocent plane passengers who died in Ukraine, but as a human race we can insist that this is unacceptable and not let the incident be a springboard for even more violence and hatred.
It’s too late to reverse the death and destruction, but it’s never too early to advocate for peace and life.
It is hard to know what to do, but, even within this dark day, we need to continue to insist on the possibility of peace — and to have that start with ourselves. If all I can do today is pray for peace and the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians and refuse to accept that war is inevitable or hate is natural, that will be a start. If I can pray for the people in that plane and try not to be swept into a rage calling for revenge, if I can make myself open to being an instrument of peace, then that will be a start. That is one, very small, way that I can respond to this horrible day.
Each person who loses their life for no reason represents a tragedy. What would each person have done to contribute to a better world? There were 100 experts heading to an AIDS conference in Malaysia, for example. When will it end? What can you do to make the world better today by advocating for peace and life?