Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vickie Climbs a Soap Box

It is a very rare thing for me to discuss religion or politics. So, please bear with me as I get on my soapbox. I don’t do it often.

I come from a family of “wordy” people. We are all voracious readers, eager storytellers and in many cases writers. The image in my blogger profile is Word Girl—a PBS character who fights the bad guys using the power of her exceptional vocabulary. I even share the same hair style with Word Girl—at least I do every six to eight weeks when someone with far more patience than I tames my curly mass of hair into a cute little flip.
Language is powerful. It can inspire or incite. It can heal and it can harm. Lately, this valuable tool that I love is being cheaply used. In the comments left on websites, one side blames another in a vicious circle where no one takes responsibility for his or her own words. Anonymity has been giving people license to say things that no civilized person would utter in public. If I were to write a letter to the editor of any newspaper or magazine without signing my name, it would end up in the recycling bin. Why should it be any different in cyber space?
            I read a news story this evening with an optimistic report on the health of Gabrielle Giffords. There were over 18,000 comments—most of them anonymous. Eighteen thousand comments. Were they wishing her a speedy recovery? Offers of prayers to the victims? Comments expressing a desire to curb violence in this country? Reminders of the heroes that threw themselves into harms way that day? A few. Mostly they were people stirring the pot of blame and hatred who lacked the courage to leave their names.
            We live in a country where you have the right to say anything you want. Men and women have laid down their lives for centuries so that we may have that privilege. It is a right we should exercise with responsibility. If you have something to say, say it. But if you wouldn’t claim those words as your own, keep them to yourself.
            Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
            Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
            Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land
            Blessed are they who hunger and search for righteousness,
            for they will be satisfied.
            Blessed are they merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
            Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
            Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
            Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
            for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
            Matthew 5:3-10