OPINION: Looking for hope in a world gone crazy

Opinion_Gale_Horton_Gay

The events of recent weeks have left me in a funk—the clash between protesting groups that turned deadly in Charlottesville, the deaths and injuries in Barcelona from a terrorist attack, the growing prominence of hate groups, the protests and counter-protests surrounding removal of Confederate monuments. Add to that the mounting controversies involving President Donald Trump, his administration and the nation’s political leaders.

I’ve been shocked, angered and frustrated by the constant ratcheting up of tensions.

In recent weeks it seemed society has devolved into bearing its teeth and tearing each other apart, demonstrating ugliness at every turn and speaking in ways intended to polarize and humiliate.
Last week my 25-year-old daughter called to vent about world affairs and how she isn’t feeling as trusting of people and places as she once did. She was familiar with the place where the carnage took place in Spain as a few months ago she and her girlfriends vacationed in Barcelona and had strolled along Las Ramblas Boulevard, the site of the terrorists’ van attack that left 13 dead and 100 injured.

As a mother, I’ve spent my life reassuring my children that “everything’s going to be OK,” but I couldn’t utter those words. I sense that events in this country and abroad are likely going to get worse before they get better. Still, I know that as dark, desperate, tragic and uncertain as the current times are, this is but a moment in time.

History has repeatedly shown us that good triumphs over evil and we must never stop working toward making our communities places where people are treated fairly, decently and respectfully and where they will not be victimized due to their beliefs, their age, their race, their gender or nationality. And we must not stop speaking up and speaking out.

Over the weekend I observed several gatherings in metro Atlanta that attracted large numbers of people of various ages, ethnicities, education and income levels and representing a mix of religions.

Two were outdoor music events and the other a high school sporting event. Those individuals attending didn’t seem to have a care about the differences of their neighbors in the stadium, amphitheater and atrium. They shared a common bond, cheering for a team, jamming to the beats and applauding the individuals at center stage. Despite the size of the crowds—ranging from a few hundred to several thousand—I didn’t see or hear of any violence or negative incidents at any of the events.

I took the joy, harmony and raucous-yet-peaceful atmosphere at these events as a hopeful sign that maybe civility is not dead.

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