Advice for today: Love one another

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By Roger Lovette

Looking around these strange days, I am reminded of a story: This farmer trained his two prize roosters for the cockfight. The afternoon of the fight, he put his two roosters in a cage and drove his truck to the cockfight. When the farmer got there,  he went to the back of the truck. He could not believe what he saw. There were no roosters in the cage — nothing but blood and feathers. He muttered, “They didn’t realize they were on the same side.”

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Today, so many of us don’t realize we are on the same side. Our divisions are everywhere. Labels like Democrat or Republican or independents force us to take sides, knowing full well those on the other side are dumb or stupid or unpatriotic or the enemy. How could anyone believe that we could possibly be on the same side? The sheer hatred of the other seems to have taken over just about everything. My side could not possibly be wrong, but your side well, that’s another story. 

The violence that lurks barely below the surface is toxic. We just closed a grocery store in our town because of bomb threats. Nothing came of this — but this little community was scared. Everybody. And from libraries to school boards to those weird neighbors who live next door we don’t know. And to these, we could talk a long time about politics if we wouldn’t choke one another.

Ronald Reagan used to talk wistfully about “that shining city on the hill.”  America. We don’t hear much about that promise of liberty and justice for all. We do know the pronouns: we and they. Us and them. Liberals and conservatives. Saved and unsaved. These ugly labels we stick on everything solve nothing. 

I have no answers except we all need to turn down the temperature or we all go up in flames. We’ve got to realize, like the old farmer thought, we are all on the same side. That checker in your grocery store. The sad man you drive by with the “Help Me” sign. Your doctor. The men in the truck who take away your garbage. And that couple down the street who are from some foreign land. On your walk, you hear them speaking a language you cannot understand. You whisper to someone walking with you, “Reckon they are illegal or terrorists?”

We are all in this boat, and if we don’t help somebody despite our politics and divisions, we will all sink. If the boat keeps floating, we’ve all got to help. Start small. Move a little outside your bubble where all your friends agree with you. Listen to someone with whom you disagree. Let them talk. Teach your children that old golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do you.” 

If you are religious, remember Jesus said repeatedly, love one another. And he included all those outsiders: the women of the streets, little children who had no status, tax collectors, lepers, Samaritans who were considered enemies and despised by many. Even the cursed Romans.

Somebody said: “Be kind to everyone you meet for we are all fighting a hard battle.” Don’t follow the news all day. Don’t believe most of what is on the internet. Listen to your neighbors despite your differences. Underneath the labels and the differences, we might find that most of us are the same.

It is high time that our job is to bring us all to our senses. We need to leave behind more than blood and feathers.