a blog by Ellen Davies

A response to violence: Let there be peace on earth

A response to violence: Let there be peace on earth

The events in Charlottesville last weekend hit pretty close to home for me. My mother lives there, and my nephew is about to start his freshman year at the university. (Thankfully my mother and her husband were nowhere near Saturday’s riots.)

How do we respond to violence like this? What are we supposed to do when we witness such hatred?

Some of us may fall into despair, thinking that the world is coming to an end. We may feel so helpless that we don’t see a solution. What’s going to happen to us? We may start to live in fear, feeling unsafe any time we venture too far away from our home.

Some of us may respond with anger and outrage. I believe anger can be a healthy emotion. Recently I heard anger described as good, because it teaches us what is and is not acceptable to us. Unhealthy anger, however, is what leads us to rage and hatred.

I love the words to the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” because of the line: and let it begin with me.

let it begin with me

What are you doing right now to bring peace on earth?

Maybe instead of actively doing something, you choose not to do something. For example, maybe you don’t post that rant on Facebook (even though you know it’s really good and clever and acerbic and will get tons of likes). Similarly, maybe you don’t rant again about how much you hate our current leader. Maybe you stop to examine the hate in that sentence. You can dislike our president and think he’s incompetent, but if you hate him, that doesn’t bring peace on earth.

Maybe you broaden your horizons a little. Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle, was interviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer today about how she “gets” Trump. She also grew up in Appalachia, in a town that now fully supports Trump, and she “gets” why Hilary didn’t “get” those voters. Her viewpoint is interesting and enlightening. Maybe if we all took a deep breath and tried to reach some level of understanding, maybe that would cool the temperature a little, so to speak.

I wrote something similar in an earlier post (Naturalization Ceremony) but it is worth repeating. We’re all Americans. We need to start finding some common ground. We need to forge a path back to being united.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.


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