About two weeks ago, DB's daughter said, "mkromd, be alert - the world needs more lerts." And I laughed. In fact, I laughed all afternoon. I thought it was funny and clever and quick-witted. Then, later that day, I listened to National Public Radio (NPR) and heard about the Arizona Congresswoman and several others who were shot at a rally, and I sat in my car... in a parking lot… in shock... and I wept. Several people were killed, including a child, and many more were seriously wounded.
How have we come to this? How have we come to a place where, regardless of the motive, this could happen?
Now, please understand something. I don't pretend to be wise or eloquent, and I don't pretend to have answers. In fact, often times I simply accept the fact that when 'two roads diverge in a yellow wood,' I will take the one destined to get hit by a mudslide. But I'm heartsick. To my core, I am heartsick, and I cannot remain silent about what has happened: that for all of the problems in this world that require us to work together as a species… problems like global warming, hunger, poverty and war… we have chosen to be polarized. Problems that (to loosely quote Kennedy) ‘were created by men and must be solved by men’ which cannot be discussed let alone resolved because we cannot agree to civilly disagree.
Again, how have we come to this?
I wish I knew. With all my soul and every fiber of my being, I wish that I could scream loud enough or cry hard enough that someone, somewhere would stand up and make it stop. That said, it’s happening. This insanity has finally gone too far and people from every background and belief system are now standing together and saying, “ENOUGH! I will no longer tolerate or participate in your intolerance.” And I intend to lend my voice to theirs… because, at the end of the day, Margaret Mead really was right, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
And things NEED to change.
So, with that – forgive me. I’m going to break my own rule for this blog and disregard the advice a dear friend’s husband once gave to me, “Never discuss politics or religion with a person unless you’ve slept together… and even then – only if they know your real name… and even then – only if they ask you for your opinion.”
Here it goes… I’m going to pull out my soapbox and preach.
Dictionary.com defines alert as, “fully aware and attentive; wide-awake; keen.” So, if that’s the case, what does it mean to a lert? Since Webster never took a stab at that, I will. To me, a lert is someone who is present and kind and patient. They agree that love is stronger than hatred and that to change the world for the better - we have to change ourselves for good. But most importantly, they don't just finish the rest of Kennedy’s aforementioned quote... they live it,” No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” So, take DB’s beautiful daughter’s advice. Be a lert. The world needs more of them.
Talk to you next week, and I promise I won’t preach at you.
NOTE: This was written two weeks ago after U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot. I'm happy to say that she's recovering, but it was still a tragic waste of human lives.