Aiming to Build a Better World

People across political spectrums increasingly insist on integrity and refuse mob rule – even when in fierce disagreement. 

Republican officials in ‘red’ states rigorously upheld voting rights though threatened by party leadership. Liz Cheney chose to be purged rather than submit to irrationality. Capital police slowed a mob, some intent on violence. One officer died, a Trump supporter.  

A young Black woman had teenage Tweets unearthed that disparaged Asians. Though long apologized for, she resigned her dream editorial job amid a hail of condemnation. Graeme Wood, an Asian man, countered in the Atlantic: “the entire point of being a teenager is to make and correct the most mortifying errors of your life…not hounded eternally for their dumbest and most bigoted utterances.”

Natalie Wynn, YouTuber and trans activist, parsing a controversial JK Rawlings article refused to demonize the author. “There’s…two sides to humanisation. One is that if you’re trying to persuade someone, it helps if you can get them to see you as a human being, but another is that it helps if you can…recognize their humanity.”

Women support “Calling Men In” and “Truckers Against Trafficking” who work on behalf of women, girls and boys and help men become effective allies.

Justice requires holding ourselves, our allies and our institutions accountable while challenging ourselves to remember the potential ally, the human trapped in unhealed wounds. James Baldwin’s “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of things you do not see!” 

We can compel destructive behavior be stopped, yet not condemn the individual. The goal is to heal injury as we change institutions, policies and industries that encourage division, oppression and the systematic installation of damage. 

An enduring corrective ethic takes work and decision, getting ready to say or hear hard things, resisting easy answers, telling the truth as we see it, grieving, raging, welcoming disagreement and diverse thinking, willingness to admit error, and celebrating learning. A truthful conclusion is more likely, more believable across sectarian boundaries, when it comes from such engagement. 

Cornel West asked “how do we create the conditions in which people can enter into public space without humiliation…able to be themselves…Of course you are going to agree, of course you’re going to disagree, of course you’re going to contend, of course you’re going to clash but you feel you can do that in such a way that you can transform yourself and transform others.” 

Bryan Stevenson:“We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others…
…we all need mercy, we all need justice, and – perhaps – we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”

K Webster, NYC, NY