weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning (Ps.30)
This past week was one of unrelenting violence, tragedy, and loss. From pipe bombs sent to prominent Democratic leaders and critics of President Trump; to the murder of two African-Americans in Kentucky – killed when their assailant was unable to enter a black church and sought other prey; to the devastating attack on the Jewish community leaving eleven dead; it seemed the sorrow would never end.
These are not isolated incidents. They are the very predictable outcome of the rhetoric, the hate speech, the dog whistles to racists and anti-Semites, that has been perpetuated by our president and not repudiated by his followers in Congress. They are part and parcel of the fear mongering and lies Trump is perpetuating about the Honduran refugees, claiming they are terrorists, when in reality, they are fleeing terror.
There is a direct line from Trump’s hateful lies to the murders in Pittsburgh. The terrorist who perpetrated this horror did so specifically because of Jewish support for refugees, through the Jewish refugee resettlement agency HIAS. The response of the Pittsburgh Jewish community has been to pledge to redouble their efforts, based on their Jewish values of tikkun olam, repairing the world, to reach out a helping hand to refugees. Trump’s response has been to send 5000 troops to the border to keep out the Honduran refugees, and to threaten to take away citizen rights to people born in this country to foreign-born residents.
In the wake of Saturday’s shooting, President Trump said, ‘It’s a shame, something should be done’. I could not agree more. Something should be done, and next week we all have the opportunity – nay, the responsibility, to do that something. Nov. 6 is election day. If we do not agree with what is happening to our country; if we do not want our elected officials to be fomenting hate and violence; if we want to be a country that welcomes people seeking safety and asylum; if we want to be a country that values each and every person regardless of religion, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation or gender identity; then we are obligated to go to the polls and vote.
This past weekend felt like one long night of mourning. But for many communities around the country, the weekend ended with interfaith vigils and ceremonies, as the many and varied sectors of our society came together in love and unity. This outpouring of support brought light to the darkness, and helped those of us who were experiencing pain, and grief, and fear, to see that joy would be possible in the morning. Let us look forward to seeing this joy carry through to Election Day and the opportunity to make our voices heard!