We are one people

December 21, 2016

one-peopleAs the birth of Christ is celebrated all over the United States, we’d do well to live by his example.

Words I never thought I would utter:

“Honey, help me remember to bring the “women against hate” sign to the solidarity event at the mosque tomorrow.”

Politics does make for strange bedfellows, but the one thing that unites people like us is our belief that we are all one people. As someone I love said the other day:

“I believe that we are one people. There are bad Christians, but not all Christians are bad. There are bad Muslims but not all Muslims are bad. There are bad white people, but not all white people are bad.  There are bad black people, but not all black people are bad.”

Fear of differences

But we’ve had a long, national history of xenophobia. It’s no accident that the word is dictionary.com’s word of the year. It means fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.

And that’s the thing. It’s xenophobia that makes us demonize those not like us. If someone from a different culture sins, the entire demographic is painted with that same brush.

My grandparents faced xenophobia in the early part of the 20th century, when Italian immigrants were refused jobs. They were swarthy and considered dirty. They were illiterate and uneducated and considered stupid. Those were my grandparents, part of my gene pool. Discriminated against.

Xenophobia isn’t new. But by now we should know better. Things should have changed. But instead of changing, people in our country are taking it to a new level. A more extreme level.

I was standing in a grocery line the other day wondering what would happen if someone started slinging around the N word or began insulting women or others. I would want to say something. But what if that person were armed? Because thanks to the NRA lobby, just about anyone can get armed.

In another day I might think, “oh, Carol, don’t be silly. Your worry is groundless.” But these days I doubt anyone would consider those thoughts inappropriate.

Hate crimes are on the rise. We attended a quiet, solemn solidarity event at a nearby mosque,  one of many across the nation that received hate mail last month. The letters called for genocide, saying that Trump would “cleanse America” and do to Muslims what Hitler did to Jews.  The event was put together by local activists, with the approval of the imam.  It was a respectful event with more than 60 peaceful participants. A number of members of the mosque came out to shake hands and thank us. The mosque even brought out a case of bottled water for participants. Drivers that passed mostly ignored the group, although a few honked and waved in support and at least one slowed down, frowned in disapproval and gunned his engine, speeding up the street. After we left (early, as I had a Skype class) a potentially violent man showed up and wasn’t very nice.


The imam we met in Morocco.

A pall of hate has fallen over our country. Xenophobia and hatred of those different have been legitimized by the incoming administration.  You’re damn right I’m bitter about about it and I’m not going to get over it any time soon.  Our American values have been pushed down in favor of hatred. I just can’t stand for that or the people responsible for that.

I’m going to close by telling you a story about a visit we had with an imam in Morocco a few years ago. It was nothing like I thought it would be and you can read about it here. I hope you will.

And then, how this happened:

Lies and more lies

“Like Goebbels before them, conservatives understood that they had to create their own facts, their own truths, their own reality. They have done so, and in so doing effectively destroyed the very idea of objectivity. Trump can lie constantly only because white America has accepted an Orwellian sense of truth — the truth pulled inside out.”  That, from journalist Neal Gabler.

And more:

“The media can’t be let off the hook for enabling an authoritarian to get to the White House. Long before he considered a presidential run, he was a media creation — a regular in the gossip pages, a photo on magazine covers, the bankrupt (morally and otherwise) mogul who hired and fired on The Apprentice. When he ran, the media treated him not as a candidate, but as a celebrity, and so treated him differently from ordinary pols. The media gave him free publicity, trumpeted his shenanigans, blasted out his tweets, allowed him to phone in his interviews, fell into his traps and generally kowtowed until they suddenly discovered that this joke could actually become president. ”

He adds,

If there is a single sentence that characterizes the election, it is this: “He says the things I’m thinking.” That may be what is so terrifying. Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans? Who knew that tens of millions of white men felt so emasculated by women and challenged by minorities? Who knew that after years of seeming progress on race and gender, tens of millions of white Americans lived in seething resentment, waiting for a demagogue to arrive who would legitimize their worst selves and channel them into political power? Perhaps we had been living in a fool’s paradise. Now we aren’t.




25 comments on “We are one people
  1. Pat says:

    Well said Cassandra. Thank you for putting into words exactly what I am feeling. As I followed the election I kept thinking he was a joke, a caricature, and now I am reeling in disbelief, horror and fear.

  2. Mandi says:

    Yes! We must continue to do what we can to eradicate xenophobia. We are all so much more the same than different. I’m horrified about where we are right now.

  3. Diane says:

    A fool’s paradise, indeed. And now that paradise has come crashing down, disclosing things we thought we had overcome. Now they are to overcome all over again.

  4. I look at people so differently today than I did a few months ago. I’m appalled, ashamed, and angry at what I country has decided. It’s like giving the wolf the keys to the hen house. We will never be the same and I don’t mean that in a good way. Keep up the fight! I’m so proud to know you.

  5. Hi Carol! Just as the Winter Solstice reminds us, it is often most dark before the dawn. I am choosing to believe that the pendulum of life has swung so violently in this current direction that is MUST swing back towards the Light. Doing what we can with what we have been given is essential. Act when you can for what you know to be right, but never give up hope! ~Kathy

  6. I’m still walking around saying to myself “What the hell happened. This can’t be real.” I agree that the media did it’s best to elect Sir Trumpalot. It was all about getting headlines and it blew up in their face and in ours.

  7. A timely and necessary post. During grad school I did a thesis on Charismatic Leadership…and “that man” who is PE has all of the attributes. I am afraid we may not recognize our own country soon. But we cannot be silent. We have to protest.

  8. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    It’s so hard for me to explain all this hate to my children. I don’t know why we can’t all just get along. We’re all human.

  9. A very worth-reading post! I love the “I believe we are one people” quote. My thoughts exactly!

  10. Amber Myers says:

    I so love this! I’m teaching my kids to embrace differences. I wish more people would do this.

  11. Well said. All this hate and fear and disrespect and lack of acceptance is just too much to bear at times. Hurts my heart especially as I have black nephews and Pakistani nephews. Poor kids (some now adults) face ridiculous, hurtful, ignorant and scary situations far too often.

  12. Very interesting post. We are all made different and I think if we put out differences together we can work together better.

  13. I think this is a reflection of what is happening all over the world. In the Middle East there is a hatred for America that has grown enormously, we have politicians in Australia who have a similar party line to Donald Trump and they get elected for saying “what people are thinking”. It’s become a sad and scary world that we’re creating unfortunately.

  14. Anne says:

    Well said! You have written the article beautifully. The quote ” we are one people ” is so deep and meaningful. Glad to read your post.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    It is scary times that we live in. I genuinely fear for my children’s future with such xenophobia on the rise, and actively promoted. We all need to do what we can to help counter that with love.

  16. My Teen Guide says:

    Very well said! I’m alway teaching my kids to be good and embrace one another. All people wants a peace of mind.

  17. Wendy Polisi says:

    Our world is really horrible, especially what happening in the middle east! I hope those people must think to be one people to work together.

  18. Elizabeth O. says:

    This is exactly what I feel right now too. There’s just so much hatred in our country and the world and i’m not sure how long it’s going to take before we can overcome it. It seems to be the new norm and that’s where my fear is coming from.

  19. Bill S says:

    It really is sad what is happening in parts of our world. We really need to see everyone as one people not groups.

  20. jill conyers says:

    My apologies but I’m going to pass on commenting. Thank you for understanding.

  21. Rosey says:

    One good cause does unite. Unfortunately it’s often times in the midst of a tragedy. Too bad it’s not just because we want to. 🙂

  22. This is a very well written post, very eye-opening to read.

  23. TColeman says:

    We are definitely all one people. It is so hard to just realize that we are all the same on the inside.

  24. Tiffany Hathorn says:

    This post and the sentiments therein in are needed now, more than ever. Not just here, but all over the world. I am afraid for our future.

  25. Tyler says:

    Yes I completely agree! I’ve written a few posts about this. Thanks for sharing <3



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