We have been involved in war many times, being born through revolution, in favor of a new way of life. Fighting to settle disagreements, whether on battlefields or in the political arena, has been a part of our history.
Our country’s history gives us overwhelming evidence of this. When the Revolutionary War began in 1775, the colonists fought to be independent from Britain and to have a government that existed only by the consent of the people. In 1861, the Civil War was fought over the moral issue of slavery. From the Civil War to the civil rights movement, we have fought each other about as often as we have pulled together.
Today, that war seems to rage more and more against one another. We know that anger has destructive powers and is one of the most extreme forms of communication, spreading information faster than almost any other type of feeling.
No longer is that anger seen just on occasion, rather it is unrelenting, a never-ending cycle of lashing out for revenge or feelings of discrimination or political injustice.
With social media at everyone’s fingertips, folks can spill it all right there on the page to people everywhere. People feed off one another and the rage grows – you can see it with each comment. Whether through social media, television, the news – soon that anger grows into hatred – then there’s a snap.
The recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left at least 31 people dead – 22 in El Paso and nine in Dayton. In El Paso, the shootings appear to be hate crime-related. There it is – hate. It’s hard to comprehend what is happening in our society to cause someone to go out and randomly kill innocent people.
We must realize it’s OK to be different, to disagree and have different opinions and beliefs – no one wants to be boxed into a Stepford Wives mentality. The key is learning how we react and to strive for new balances.
In 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the speech “Honoring Dr. DuBois,” a gifted discoverer of social truths.
Of DuBois, he said, “Above all, he did not content himself with hurling invectives for emotional release and then to retire into smug, passive satisfaction. History had taught him it is not enough for people to be angry – the supreme task is to organize and unite people so that their anger becomes a transforming force.”
Our nation must address the anger and hatred that consumes us.