I had the opportunity to witness a local rally for President Trump’s reelection in West Milford this past Saturday (8.29.2020).
In light of recent events in our country, I have to say I’m glad I didn’t see anyone incur physical harm, permanent injury or even death at the hands of another human being in my own town.
While no one getting hurt or killed is a basic requirement for a peaceful public demonstration or protest, Saturday’s events weren’t very peaceful beyond that.
Pro-Trump demonstrators certainly outnumbered the counter protestors at the rally, but there were very regular displays of hostility, vitriol, animosity and disrespect toward perfect strangers from both attendees and passing drivers representing both sides of the pro- and anti-Trump divide.
Peace and a person’s understanding of peace varies for every individual, but there are multiple longstanding cultural traditions far older than our shared nation state identity that hold far more profound definitions and understandings of peace than what our national heritage alone actually offers us.
With another election coming up this November (arguably), I find that yet again neither of the two mainstream political parties come even close to representing the whole of my values. Oh well. I’m used to that by now.
But please, kindly, consider how our current global ecological climate serves as a near perfect analog for our current national political climate: Things are heating up, lives are threatened and it would seem that some kind of crisis is imminent if not already unfolding.
If you have some peace in your life, I am as happy for you as I am grateful for what daily peace I experience in my own day to day. However, I know that my own sense of peace is deeply affected by the peace of others. Everyone’s peace is interdependent.
So, please remember that peace is as much your responsibility as it is mine. (I’ll do what I can on my end of things. Also, the quality of all our lives will be better determined by how well we treat each other than by who gets to sit in the Oval Office (though I don’t want to diminish those often dire consequences). If people appear to be abhorrent, that could be more a matter of your perception of them and their ideas than their actual beliefs and actions in life.
Even if people disagree with you, they are not as evil as social media and political rhetoric make them out to be.