Less than two weeks ago, I posted a video on Facebook decrying the lack of civility and the growing political rhetoric and violence in the country. During the video I said, “Somebody’s going to get killed.” And that is exactly what has happened.
On the one hand a pro-Trump man mailed over a dozen pipe bombs to prominent Democrats. For whatever reason, they all failed to explode but the intention was apparently there. On the other hand, a Trump hater committed the worst mass murder of Jews in American history in a synagogue in Pittsburgh as his victims, mostly elderly men and women, were at worship.
Why should we be shocked? The signs were everywhere. Both sides are to blame for the destabilizing of American society. It is unlikely that either side will own up to their part in the ripping of our national fabric. While the majority of Americans may not have been among the advocates of in-your-face confrontation, neither did the majority make it clear that such behavior and attitudes were unacceptable.
It only takes a few for the beat-downs to begin. Some of my high school classmates will recall the Great Cafeteria Riot of 1967-68 or 1968-69. Our school system was integrated in the fall of 1965. For the most part, everything was peaceful. Mostly the students, both black and white were curious though a bit apprehensive. In fact, most of the students got along just fine.
But it only takes a few. Agitated by intolerant parents, a few of the students, both black and white, expressed antagonism against each other. Mostly, the confrontations were verbal and physical contact was rare. Until one lunch period.
I don’t know what started it, but a few boys at a couple of tables began name-calling and swearing. Threats were made and, suddenly fists and chairs were flying. It only involved a handful of the 1,200 students and was broken up quickly. But the damage was done. An uneasy peace and a suspicion of other students marked the rest of the school year. It wasn’t a “riot,” and it wasn’t “great”, but it was in the cafeteria — and it clouded relationships from that point on.
In my video piece, I addressed the Christians and said, “You know better than this.” Truthfully, we all know better than this. The people who name-call, who slur others of differing opinions, who mock, berate, and belittle are no different than the thugs and punks in the cafeteria fight. It’s childish, it’s inappropriate, it’s dangerous, and it can be deadly.
If we create an atmosphere that is hostile, that encourages physical confrontation, that rewards bad behavior, then we are in part responsible for the mayhem that occurs as a result of that volatile atmosphere.
Stop it. Just stop it. Stop it with the name-calling. Stop calling people snowflakes, or racists, or libtards, or sexists. Stop it with the Demon Crats and the Republi Rats. Stop comparing people to Nazis or Communists. From Antifa to the White House … please! Just stop it.
One actor recently was reported as saying if the elections don’t go well, there will be “blood in the streets.” It is a stupid, irresponsible thing to say … but he may be right. There has already been innocent blood shed and there may be more.
The mid-term elections are over. Either you got your choice or you didn’t. Your candidates won or they lost. Now live with it. Be at peace with it until the next election.
Listen, for a change, and stop yelling. Do something constructive and stop wasting your energy and your life. If we don’t dial it back, if we don’t calm down, if we continue on the current path … other people are going to get killed. And, as Pittsburgh has demonstrated, you don’t even have to be out on the streets to die.
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA between Newnan and Peachtree City (www.ctk.life). He is the bishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Diocese of the Mid-South which consists of Georgia and Tennessee and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U. S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]