Things can only go up from here.  It seems to be what many of us want – perhaps need –  to cling to these days. There is so much. It is difficult to absorb. Day after day. Moment by moment.

The list is too long and you know it anyway. Or, at least you should. We all should –  unless you’re playing ostrich or living in the remote corner of Kansas. 

Children in cages.
Asylum-seekers in deplorable conditions.
Send her back.

What did I miss? Certainly something. The list is too long. It’s overwhelming.

I have empathy for the ostriches in our midst. It’s a moment in time that seems as if it is on a perpetual loop that will never end.  It is heartbreaking and hard to know what to say, or do. Many of us are weary.

The real question is, can we go up from here? Has irreparable harm been done to our nation? Our culture? Ourselves?

We can place all the blame on the Oval Office of the last two years but, truthfully, I think that is too narrow. Make no mistake – the president is racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic. He has taken our country down the rabbit hole of hate.  He has unleashed and emboldened the nationalistic, racist underbelly of our country. He has played the game well to ensure a dictatorial hold on his loyal followers, manipulating them with unchecked lies and dangerous tweets. 

The extreme edges are becoming normalized and are doing grave harm to the fabric of our nation.

Perhaps time will tell but, quite bluntly, that is too passive and leaves our personal and collective power in the wrong hands.  I believe the only way we will go up from here is to take action, together. To be actively engaged, together. To do justice, together. To bend the arc, together.

We must stand with the Muslim and immigrant communities with a clear message that you are welcome and you belong.

We must protest the immorality of separating children from their parents and detaining babies in cages.

We must affirm the queer and trans communities that you are worthy and loved because of who you are.

We must believe women, protecting our rights and autonomy.

We must speak out together every time words of hate are spoken. Every time bigotry rears its ugly head. Every time hate begets violence.

We need you — advocates, activists, agitators, and ostriches alike. We need all of us.

There are so many good organizations and organizers who are doing amazing work – all a little different and all vital – to fight the injustices of our nation. Interfaith Alliance of Iowa is doing intentional work to understand hate, bigotry, and violence in impacted communities and how we can proactively change the current tide.

Join in. Step up. Stand with. Speak out. 

We are the promise of our future and the ones we have been waiting for in these dangerous times. If we are going to go up from here, we must never lower ourselves to the current climate but rise up together and lead ourselves out of this time and place. We must send fear and hate back from where it came and say never again. All of us. Together.

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