Interdependent Web: It's not too late to save America

Interdependent Web: It's not too late to save America

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism


I can barely see my computer through my tears

The massacre in El Paso brings back a painful memory for Betty Reid Soskin: her first time crossing the Mason-Dixon Line, in El Paso, as she traveled to New Orleans by train.

As I watched the porter approach in anticipation and eagerness for the next adventure, he paused at my seat, tapped me on the shoulder with the words (spoken quietly), "please follow me." There were about a dozen Negroes lined up behind him in the aisle. We were about 3 passenger cars back. We were being led to the Jim Crow car, a coach that was the closest to the engine, behind the mail and baggage cars. . . .

I joined that little procession excited and expectant, but by the time we had walked through 3 cars of grinning, staring, or simply disinterested, white people, I'd gotten the message. The lessons had been learned. Shame and humility had been absorbed through every pore. I would carry them the rest of my life after that long and awkward march of disembodied shame and inexplicable humility. This would be the moment in history when those lessons were baked into my being; where my black identity would become rooted. (CBreaux Speaks, August 7)

Kim Hampton writes about America’s “ toxic brew of easy access to guns and white supremacy.”

This toxic brew plays itself out in many ways. It plays itself out in law enforcement (and others) having an unnatural fear of black/darker bodies, which causes people to want to arm up to alleviate the fear. Which, in turn, lets those who have other issues (like toxic misogyny, a thread through every mass shooting) create chaos. (East of Midnight, August 7)

Joanna Fontaine Crawford has a suggestion: “Let’s stop saying ‘he’ with these shootings, and instead use the plural ‘they.’”

We feel powerless. But there is a power in calling this out in the plural. Because, see, that terrorist movement is already using that power. “THEY are going to take what should be yours. THEY deserve to die.”

. . . . Maybe this will help us learn to move from powerless to powerful. When we realize that yes, there is a “they” . . . but there is also a WE.

What are WE going to do? (Facebook, August 4)

Diana McLean responds to the news of unprecedented numbers being rounded up by ICE, in many cases leaving children unattended when their parents were taken into custody.

I am a white citizen of the United States, and so I only have a second-hand understanding of the atrocities being perpetuated by our government against immigrants (and also against black and brown people regardless of citizenship status). Even so, I have reached an inescapable conclusion: our government is a terrorist organization. It is intentionally terrorizing individuals and families, including babies and children, to keep power and privilege in the hands of certain people, most of them cisgender, straight white men. (Poetic Justice, August 8)

It’s not too late to save America

Doug Muder notes that if we are “fortunate enough to elect a Democrat in 2020, the new president will have to deal with a traumatized nation.”

The crisis in this country goes way beyond the usual policy discussions, to the point that debating how fast to phase in universal health care or whether crossing the border without a visa should be a civil or criminal offense . . . it almost mocks the sense of trauma I feel, and that I think a lot of people share . . .

The Left also has an old-time religion, but it’s not the liberal Christianity Pete Buttigieg wants to invoke, or any form of institutional religion. It’s the hippie idealism whose wisdom found its way into countless songs: All you need is love. Everybody come together, try to love one another. We’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden. Give peace a chance.

There’s a power there, and I’m not sure how to tap it. But I hope somebody actually qualified to be president figures it out soon. (The Weekly Sift, August 5)

Jim Foti writes that much “has been lost in the past few years, but all hope is not yet lost.”

[The] threads of hope are fragile. . . . To not be involved—in demonstrations, in fundraising, in a local or national political campaign, in compassion for immigrants—is to endorse what’s happening. . . .

So please use your time wisely. Don’t waste it arguing politics on Facebook or over Thanksgiving dinner with people who will never change. Make it normal among your friends to talk about what kinds of actual actions you’re taking to bring about change (versus just venting) to help save the country. There is no better use of your time. (Jim Foti, August 4)

Suzy Danger Spangenberg is bothered by the “practice of call out culture and/or perfection expectation.”

[It’s] like a school of piranhas feasting on an unwary person who just stuck their toe in to see how cold the water was. . . . It appears to be more important to prove who is the alpha fish of “most woke” rather than build a movement. . . .

[If] we are going to stop this steam roller of fascist behavior that is moving across this country, we are going to need MASSES of people. Just like we need a diversity of tactics, we also need to be able to appreciate that people come to this in various stages of awareness. Let’s help educate one another rather than rip each other to pieces. (Facebook, August 8)

If despair has grown in you, and wild things don’t bring you peace, take a look at these photos shared by Robin Bartlett; her 93-year-old parishioner, Charles Gray, makes charming, hand-illustrated books for her. (Facebook, August 5)

Note: The Interdependent Web will be on vacation for the next two weeks. We'll return to our usual publiucation schedule on August 30.