“This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect”
This was a quote made by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, during his farewell speech to our nation in 1961.
Somewhere along our journey to move our nation forward, we lost what President Eisenhower was trying to warn us about.
Hate is the evil that spurs a 40-year-old man to brush his teeth at work, and then proceed to kill twelve fellow employees and injure four other in Virginia Beach May 31. It is the latest mass shooting in our nation.
Anger is the emotion that drives a former soldier to open fire on police officers during a peaceful protest, killing five and injuring half a dozen others in Dallas.
Hate is the force that drives an armed gunman to turn a crowded nightclub into a shooting gallery in the early morning, killing 49 people and wounding more than 50 others in Orlando.
Apathy allows a man to kill 58 and wound 422 people he did not even know, from a high-rise hotel room in Las Vegas.
These types of mass shootings continue seemingly month after month.
As children, our parents taught us how to get along with other children. When we would misstep, they would teach us to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” or “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
The rule seems lost in the complexities of modern-day life. When intolerance, fear and anger drive people to violence we cannot simply “treat others as we would be treated.”
Here in Scottsbluff, we have escaped the racial tensions and violence that have rocked our nation and the world over the past years. But we are not immune to hate. While we cannot control others, we can control how we respond as individuals, and that response takes place at the simplest core of our being.
No, we can’t change the world all at one time. But we can change one person at a time by showing respect to each and every person we come into contact with. I truly believe there is much more good in this world than bad, despite the images we see on television and mainstream media.
Vietnamese Buddhist and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh summed up the challenges we face today so very well. “People say walking on water is a miracle, but to me walking peacefully on Earth is the real miracle.
Let us pray that we can find that miracle.