A Country Moving Forward: More Gratitude, Less Attitude

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea billows roll; 

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 

It is well, it is well with my soul.

~ ~ • ~ ~

Yesterday was a rainy, cold Monday.  I spent the day inside, not doing much of anything.

Lost in contemplation.

Humming the hymn that I’d heard on Friday while watching the funeral in Charleston for Rev. Clementa Pinckney.

Remembering my Southern church lady aunt who used to hum that particular hymn while tidying up around her home.

Which, really, is what I should have been doing.

My plan for the day had been to use the time to weed the garden.  Our vacation travels followed by a busy week of getting back into daily routines had given the weeds a chance to take over.

Not pretty.

But instead of jumping into any activity at all, I found myself thinking about how proud I am of this country for moving forward in a peaceful way on social issues that impact everyone.

Somehow.

I realize that people are whining and opining all over the place on FB and cable news outlets, but when you get down to it, this country in pretty damned amazing.

The change process worked, both on a national judicial level and on a state executive level.

Homophobia and racism, spotlighted last week like they were, are now officially acknowledged as behaviors that do not help make our country strong.

Hate never does.

It really is that simple.  We’ve moved forward.  Hallelujah!

~ ~ • ~ ~

Do not be afraid of the hate surfacing. Backlash is an inevitable side effect of progress. Cruelty is simply fear’s death knell. Carry on.

~ Glennon Doyle Melton

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

19 thoughts on “A Country Moving Forward: More Gratitude, Less Attitude”

  1. I love Amy Grant’s voice–very calming. I, too, am proud of this country. Heck, that’s why everyone wants to live here! We are a true melting pot. And I was so proud of the people in Charleston. There were no riots and ugly rants. Only love and compassion. One of the boys that lost his mother in that horrific attack summed it up nicely. He said, ” Hate will not stand. Only love will overcome.”

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    1. Beth, last week seems to me to be a turning point in our country’s history. And it all happened without riots like those in the 60s. Social progress is difficult, but we as a country managed it through the systems we have here. This is coolness.

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  2. I love that quote that you used by Melton. It’s very appropriate. It’s reminiscent of the old adage “The truth hurts.” No one likes to look at the stark realities of what they fear or what is ugly about Life, but in order to confront them and in order to fix what is broken, you have to look at the problems.

    It’s an old Self-Help Mantra: Face It, Trace It, Erase It. Corny, but really quite true. Stand up to it, identify it, and then eliminate it. As identified here, the Americans this past week chose to do so in the Best Ways Possible: democratically, compassionately, humanely, and with our better nature striving to prevail.

    Quite a bit is still broken, and I am not denying that for a moment. But Charleston’s community and Washington’s Gay Men’s Chorus (who sang the national anthem on the SCOTUS steps to celebrate the decision) showed immense grace, giving me hope that things aren’t irretrievably broken.

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    1. nance, I’ve never heard that mantra before, but it is so apt. I agree that there’s lots more to do in regard to these issues, but like you I felt hope for the first in years last week. And I loved the Washington’s Gay Men’s Chorus singing the national anthem. Very moving.

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    1. Andra, I’d forgotten all about that hymn, then when it was played during the funeral service I instantly remembered my aunt singing it. Now it’s stuck in my head, which considering its message, is not a bad thing!

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  3. I felt uplifted by the reactions to tragedy and overcome by positive change, which added definite optimism to my attitude. It makes me feel like there is hope for progress. (although for some reason, I have been unreasonably terrified for President Obama’s safety lately)

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    1. Margaret, I like the idea of social progress. I, too, feel more optimistic than I have in months. Whether this feeling will last we’ll see, I guess.

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  4. I think I’m more bitter and cynical than you. It’s been an ugly few months on the racial issues and there’s still so much negativity on the gay marriage issue. Sometimes I feel that things will never really change. But, thank you for reminding me how far we’ve really come. It’s been slow and it’s not perfect but it is not the world of my childhood. And despite the few extremists, most people are probably part of your great country ready to embrace change.

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    1. Zazzy, I can understand your cynicism. This all may be temporary before the next outbreak of hatred comes flooding down on us. But I hope not. And in the meantime, I’ve decided to be optimistic.

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  5. “Homophobia and racism, spotlighted last week like they were, are now officially acknowledged as behaviors that do not help make our country strong.”

    I liked that bit a lot. An acknowledgement that they are not helpful. We admit that these problems are still very much with us, and horrid, but at least we’re not pretending that they’re OK. Or at least, most of us are no longer pretending this. I know many who still do so. Sigh.

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    1. J, thank you. If awareness leads to improvement, then we’re on our way to a better country. Like you said, no more pretending. As for those people who cannot let go of the hate… time, perhaps, will change their povs?

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  6. Generally people seem to want to try and get along, help each other, and live gently. There’s always the extremes on both ends and the insane which do thing s no one is able to understand. It’s time for people to focus on what we have in common rather than the differences ( which are far fewer) – maybe the media will allow that and those who over-generalize to stir up trouble for their benefit – and allow healing and progress.
    This country has made mistakes like all the others, but the difference is that we have a framework/process that allows for change without falling into chaos. We’ve come a very long way. Not every place has.
    Changing human behavior takes a long time. Old ideas do die out. It may seem like it takes a long time to us, but as far as the earth and universe is concerned, it’s only the blink of an eye…We are pretty insignificant creatures in the big picture…Think ants…only louder and much more messy/destructive ones.

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    1. “We are pretty insignificant creatures in the big picture…Think ants…only louder and much more messy/destructive ones.”

      Well said, philmouse. Like you I’d like to see the media focus on the commonalities, not the differences. I imagine that homophobia and racism will end eventually, but fear that it might be because we as a society have decided that we have new enemy to hate. The behavior stays the same, while the subject changes? Gotta wonder.

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      1. People are easier to control if you can direct them by targeting one specific group. Focus may change, but as you say, human behavior doesn’t much. It’s not just the media – it’s leaders, parents, schools, churches, advertisers who go for the easy cheap laughs with meanness or featuring laughing at other’s misfortune rather than showing benefits of product (but with that would take expensive clever writers and so many products now are really poorly made and not designed to last). What happened to “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all?” Of course real conversation and friendly debate requires real thinking – while name calling and demonizing others is easy – (the product of shallow, weak minds – that used to be said with pitying looks at the speaker….as people walked away not wanting to be associated with one like that.)
        Society will need to take a sharp choice away from the negative, focusing on what is good and how to make it even better. A little bit of pride in the unit’s accomplishments would strengthen everyone and encourage progress. That can be done without going overboard and swinging to the other extreme.

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        1. You’ve explained the situation perfectly. Not enough kindness, not enough clear thinking, not enough taking personal responsibility for being part of the solution. These are character traits that people need to embrace. I’m pleased that in one week this country acknowledged the problems, now it’s a matter of implementing solutions. We’ll see how that goes, won’t we?

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