The following is a PoliticusUSA editorial by co-publisher Sarah Jones.
President Obama spoke again about unity today during his remarks on the tragic killing of three Baton Rouge police officers. He said, “Only we can prove, in our own actions and words, that we will not be divided, even if we have to do it again and again and again.”
The President does this every day, even though he’s ruthlessly attacked on a daily basis, the color of his skin being such a problem for a certain segment of people that they can’t seem to see the man he really is — a dignified, calm leader who has been a role model in many ways, including being the best family values leader we’ve had in a long time.
“Everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country,” the President continued, “We need to temper our words, and open our hearts.”
How do we do that?
I know many of you feel sick right now when confronted with the racist hate coming from too many Trump supporters. I know it’s hard to be your best self when faced with such ugly hatred every day. I know it wears you down until your heart is hot with rage.
That’s when you start to lose the ability to rise above it and reach for something better, and that’s just where they want you.
We have a huge upcoming battle. Prepare for it; don’t waste emotional reserves on racist trolls. Don’t tolerate hate, even from your friends and family. There is no space for hate. We are in a crisis, a deep moral crisis, and it’s only going to get worse due to Donald Trump’s deliberate stoking of racial animus and wild abuse of civility.
We must decide that we won’t tolerate hate. We will not dismiss it as an “opinion” and tell black people that their lives are a matter of opinion. We must not play “nice” by straddling the fence between white supremacy and justice. We must know what side we are on, and speak up.
We will also not side with anyone condoning violence. We will stand united against violent rhetoric and violence itself. We will stand against the targeting with senseless violence of any group of people.
“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals,” MLK Jr. said in his Noble lecture.
We have a powerful tool as a society that doesn’t depend on our Do-Nothing Congress, violent actions or heated rhetoric. We have the power of shunning.
Hate mongers should be called out and if they aren’t open to hearing why they are wrong, they should be shunned. Walk out, hang up, speak out – and be safe.
This is not a time for timidity or silence. If we all do it, we won’t be alone or lost. We must unify against hatred, we must not allow Donald Trump and his ilk to take hold of our spirits or this country.
If President Obama can do this, the rest of us can do it. We must fight the urge to become that which causes us to despair. The President said in his remarks today, “Someone once wrote, ‘A bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work we need to be reminded of its existence again and again and again.’”
We work on peace not with anger, but with a dedicated mind.
We are all called to lock hands metaphorically, and guard the sacred values of our country and humanity.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.