Taking care of each other

It used to be that on my day off I could go to Ft. Desoto (Fla) with my beach chair and umbrella, watch the wind surfers, read a book …. Between dozing off to the sounds of the wind and surf. Thursday is still my one day off each week. Today in the Tampa Bay region temperatures will reach the high 70s. Today in Northern Virginia is it raining with a high of 36 degrees.

People have noted that I post a lot more these days. I refer you to the above paragraph. I have a lot more time and space to muse about things without the siren’s call of the beach… and so I post thoughts complete (or not) here on the blog.

Last month, after the events of January 6th, I posted an article titled Listening and Leadership. Apart from one person who posted I should rewrite the article since “FBI report yesterday showed Antifa infiltrated the crowd and incited them to breach the Capitol,” the comments public and private understood that we were a people of hardened hearts – on each side of the divide. The hardened hearts that, despite all evidence to the contrary, still hold that the election was stolen. The same hearts that think Antifa was at the root of January 6th. The same hearts that follow the piper down the rabbit hole of alt-right media. And these folks are facing hearts hardened in a different way across the divide. The other side tosses around labels which question the intelligence, the moral compass, and more of those who disagree with their view. I finished that post with this:

We are in desert times of elections and the wilderness of pandemic. It is hard not to bunker down, listen to our favorite echo chamber of political thought, and slowly stop listening – and stop taking care of one another. Stop being servant leaders in our lives.

If you take care of Americans, they will take care of America, and the way you do that is through leadership. Leadership from the very top, but at every level of society. Take a look at the traits of leadership. Take a look at yourself. Your next encounter with someone who does not share your political view – it is not a zero-sum encounter. Take care of each other and the mission will find its own end. That is the start of servant leadership.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice,
“Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion

Today there was an article in the Washington Post about the people facing criminal charges from the events of January 6th. It was not focused on the leaders of the Proud Boys or other extremist groups. It was focused on people who supported President Trump and were there to peacefully demonstrate. One person was a believer and when the crowd entered the U.S. Capitol, she seditiously announced to the others around that she was a real estate agent in Texas, and she’d love their business.

That has to make one stop and ask about her story. One trait she shares with 60% of people charged with Federal crimes (criminal and misdemeanor) is that they were burdened with lives coming apart personally, socially, and financially. The financial problems included bankruptcies, evictions, foreclosures, unpaid debts, unpaid taxes, and more.  There was virtually no one with criminal histories and many had professional careers. Business owners and white-collar workers made of 40% of the people facing charges. Only 9 percent were unemployed. When social scientists look at the assembled data, they are led to speculate that these are people who feel that they have lost something, and no one is listening – and so they are susceptible to having someone play on their personal pain. They felt America was going astray and Trump would make America great again. And when the “election was taken from him” – they understood and rallied this side.

The Texas real estate agent’s problems are only compounding as she wonders how she was duped, and it all amounted to nothing. She is facing jail and bankruptcy. President Trump is in Palm Beach. She wonders why she wasn’t pardoned. She was there for him when he called.

If you take care of Americans, they will take care of America – but first we all have to soften our hearts.

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