Photo: A police officer blocks an entrance as officials respond to a bomb threat at the Jewish Community Center in Louisville, Ky., on March 8. (Bryan Woolston/Reuters)
The news in the last few weeks about threats, damage, and violence tied to a surge of anti-Semitism across the country is horrifying and demands our immediate attention and action. It demands that we speak out clearly and forcefully and say; Never again!
I think that the rise in hate and bigotry we see today is symptomatic of our tendency to demonize whole groups of people. And it is important to note that this is not just an American problem, or a specific political party’s problem, or a specific individual’s problem. It is occurring across the globe and across the spectrum of thought and belief. We demonize those who don’t look like us or talk like us or dress like us or worship like us or think like us or vote like us. We do not hold up our thoughts and ideas and beliefs and celebrate their validity; rather we attempt to tear down everyone else’s thoughts and ideas in the belief that that if ours is the last one standing it will must be the best. That is not new of course; it is the basis of decades worth negative campaigns and unfortunately it has been proven to work.
But the horror that can follow that is the idea that if your thoughts and ideas aren’t good enough to win your side of the argument through logic and persuasion, or by just verbally attacking the ‘opposition’, maybe you can win through intimidation and violence.
The thinking being that if you can scare them away they won’t be able to show your ideas are wrong. This is the bully mentality. We are on the road to becoming a nation of bullies.
But as any one of us who has faced a bully on the playground knows, they can be stopped. They can be stopped by calling their bluff. But as anyone who’s ever faced a bully on the playground also knows; that isn’t something you necessarily do alone as you might end up with a bloody nose. But when two, or three, or six, or ten stand up and say; ‘No, you will not get away with this’ then the bully usually slinks away.
We, as a nation, are that two, or three, or six, or ten million. We are the one that can say no.
But to do that we need to stand up, band together, and say ‘Never Again!’
By John Berry
Respecting the dignity of each person, St. Vincent de Paul Georgia brings hope and help to those in need so they may achieve stability and move toward self-sufficiency.
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