In 2020, I'm not so sure anymore.
I love America. I'm not particularly political, but I am all in patriotic. And I'm not ashamed of being that way. But I am, at this point and time, pretty confused.
I'm no expert, but it feels as if America has been sucker-punched. And I'm not a conspiracy theorist or suspicious by nature. I just believe we are starting to lose our way.
For starters, for living in the land of the free, almost everyone is afraid. And living in fear is not living in freedom.
Some people are afraid to go anywhere without wearing a mask.
Others don't want to wear masks, but are afraid of being told they are selfish if they don't.
Black people are afraid of being a victim of racism.
Almost everyone else is afraid to say or do anything that might be thought of as racism.
Peaceful protestors are afraid of being harassed by bad police.
Good police officers are afraid of being targeted and attacked by violent protestors.
Many people are afraid to drive through the streets of their own cities for concern of being blocked or attacked.
People are afraid to voice an opinion too loudly at the risk of being misunderstood and losing friends, jobs, or family.
People are quickly and quietly being 'forced' to take a 'side', without understanding what each side is actually fighting against or standing for. And heaven help us all if you pick the 'wrong' side.
None of those things sound like the land of the free. It sounds like chaos that has been left unchecked. And it feels like the bully mentality has taken over.
And what about bravery? Where does that come in?
Bravery is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to stand up to fear and fight for what you believe in. That's how and why our nation was founded in the first place.
The problem with bravery is that bullies can't stand it and try to tear it down.
Bullies come in all colors, cultures, economic status, and political affiliation.
Burning down a business and looting is the act of a bully.
Controlling people by mass fear is the act of a bully.
Mistreating someone, or a group of someones, because of the color of their skin is the act of a bully.
Pretending you can re-write laws, history and decency is the act of a bully.
So what are we to do??
Perfect love casts out all fear. And yes, that is a Biblical reference. And yes, that actually needs to be our first step. Once again becoming one nation under God. And from there, these steps of love.
If you have hurt someone, make it right. Without being forced to. Without being shamed into it because it was caught on video. Just do the right thing. You don't have to pay for the mistakes of others, but you should make amends for your own.
If someone has hurt you, find a way to heal. You can tell that person and give them a chance to accept what they did and fix things. But you can't make them. You can, however, choose to walk away from that person. No one has the right to continue to mistreat you. But what YOU don't have the right to do is make everyone else around you pay either. You can't become bitter, suspicious, and abrasive to all for the acts of one. There are ways to heal, and you owe it to yourself to find them.
If you see someone hurting another, take a stand. Say something. Do something. Protest if you must. But stay focused on what you are protesting. Stay committed to the true cause. And when others use your bandwagon to play their music, call them on it. They have to find their own bandwagon and not hijack yours or your message.
We have made a mistake in telling everyone they get a trophy for participating. You are not entitled to a trophy for showing up in this life.
You were given one life. Not everyone is given the same circumstances, advantages, gifts, and talents, but everyone is given a chance. What are you doing with yours?
Are you taking the steps to make it better? Are you learning what you can to have the facts? Are you committed to living your best life despite what anyone else says? Are you willing to take responsibility for your corner of the world?
My Hopefuls, we still DO live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. And don't let anyone take that away. Be true to yourself. Do you. Be respectful of others, but stand for what you believe. Don't fall for the tactics of bullies, and never become one yourself.
Be as brave as you need to be so you can be as free as you want to be.
And as always.....
Hope With Abandon