Time For Inspiration

I begin each day with a walk along the beautiful Musconetcong River. It helps me find some peace and balance before the day gets into gear.

The catbirds are chirping and I see an occasional squirrel, a deer and pea hen cross my path and a snapping turtle sits like a stone. The lavender ground ivy is blooming. The honey bees and the tiny blue, green and black mason bees are busy pollinating.

The river flows effortlessly and seemingly endlessly.

But for today and the past few days, the sun is blocked by clouds and the air has been filled with a persistent mist, unlike the downpour that comes and as quickly is gone, allowing the sun in.

The mist is like tears from above that refuse to abate, a constant reminder of the sadness that prevails. I can hear the banging of thunder in the distance, like an angry warning.

We live in an ever-present mist of tragedy and anger and we lack direction. A nation needs to be told that the sadness will be replaced by peace and that the wounds will heal and the skies open up. Leaders inspire through example and motivate people to meet any challenges.

Here are some historical, inspirational words in times of crisis:

“We cannot dedicate. We cannot consecrate. We cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it…These dead shall not have died in vain that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the Earth.” — President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

“This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt at his 1933 inauguration, in the heat of the Great Depression.

“Contrary to the claim of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve to think as to believe we can get beyond our racial divisions on a single election cycle or with a single candidate, particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own. But I have asserted a firm conviction, a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people, that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice.”- President Barack Obama in 2008 address on race and politics.

“Above all I wanted to express comfort and resolve — comfort that we would recover from this blow, and resolve that we would bring the terrorists to justice. This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace.” — President George W. Bush the day after the Sep. 11, 1001, attacks.

“We will never forget them nor the last time we saw them this morning as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.” -President Ronald Regan on Jan. 28, 1986, after the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle.

“I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King. Every American of good will joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding leader.” President Lyndon B. Johnson, April 4,1968, after the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“My favorite poet was Aeschylus. And he once wrote, even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” — Robert F. Kennedy after the king assassination.

If there was ever a time when a nation yearns for encouragement and support from its leaders, it is now. We have more than 100,000 dead from COVID 19. A Minneapolis police officer fatally holds down an African American despite the man’s cries that he cannot breath. Rioting breaks out as demonstrators unleash their anger and feelings of powerlessness.

An African American man in Georgia is gunned down for jogging through a white neighborhood. An African American woman is shot dead while sleeping in her Louisville, Ky., home by police who burst in to serve an arrest warrant.

And how has President Donald Trump reacted to recent tragedies?

May 28, President Donald Trump retweeted a founder of “Cowboys for trump” who said “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.”

May 29, after the 100,000th death from COVID 19, he tweeted, “To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!”

May 29, a day after riots broke out in Minneapolis, Trump tweeted that protesters are “THUGS” and said military intervention could be necessary, while warning, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The tweet was later flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence.”

Jan. 22, Trump referred to the early reports of COVID 19: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Aug, 24,2017, the day after a rally by white supremacists in Charlottsville, Va., where a counter protester was killed: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

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