A car is one unit and cannot be driven in two different directions at the same time. Most people would believe it is safer and more peaceful to drive straight forward, focusing on what is in front of you, while checking the rear view and side mirrors. Generally people like to move in a forward direction in their lives also, and not get stuck in a rut. Getting stuck in a rut usually causes anxiety that can lead to a loss of sense of purpose. Everyone I know likes to have a sense of purpose.
At this time we have a group of leaders in this country who were given the keys back to the car, and have driven it into the ditch. Ironically they used that phrase in their campaign against the other side.
In the 1950s, President Eisenhower proposed civil rights legislation that never made it to the Senate floor because the then Senate president Lyndon Johnson blocked it. When Johnson became president he signed the Civil Rights Act. This country had moved forward from the ‘civil rights growing pains’ of that era until recently when certain leaders decided to try to reignite the flames because of the death of one man to further their agenda. Unfortunately for those misguided leaders who are trying to reignite the flames of racial unrest, the facts are not on their side and the country at large is not feeding into their rhetoric. The fear, distrust, and anxiety they are trying to instill are real and are damaging to the one’s physical and mental health.
The concern I have is that some evil people might seize upon the rhetoric of these misguided leaders and create racial unrest. Having seen that once, I don’t want this country to go backwards into that mess. Another concern I have is that if racial unrest returns, it is that the misguided leaders who lit the match will be very heavy handed in their response, as they have already put those tools in place. There have already been an increased number of people expressing their dismay over the actions of these misguided leaders. The actions of the misguided leaders have created an increase number of calls from the anxiety created to counselors and Pastors. Mental health workers have had their work load increased because of the fear and anxiety that has been created.
Real leaders should lead – in front, and not from behind. Before he became president, Teddy Roosevelt became popular with the Rough Riders when he led the charge at San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898 to win the decisive battle in the Spanish American War. Teddy Roosevelt quit as Assistant Secretary of the Navy to organize volunteers for that war effort. For some reason their horses were not transported to the battle, so they attacked on foot and won. Teddy Roosevelt led the charge up the hill from the front, overcame the obstacles, united the team and won the battle.
The leaders of today would better serve our nation if they would cease from overburdening mental health workers, counselors, and Pastors because of their inflammatory words and actions and become Peace Makers – at home -first. Our nation would be better served if our leaders would, unite the country instead of dividing it, keeping the car in one piece, going in a forward direction and out of the ditches.
Being a peacemaker does not mean capitulating to the demands of evil people. Being a peacemaker does require putting away the gasoline and the match, which each one of us can do.
Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA & AZ ) and Founder Family Renewal Center (AZ) http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org
House Divided Speechby Abraham Lincoln