DEAR READERS: Today is the anniversary of a dark day in our country.
On Jan. 6, 2021, just when my family was about to celebrate my niece’s birthday, the airwaves were filled with frightening images of Americans who were overtaking our beloved nation’s Capitol. It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since that fateful day.
We are accustomed to hearing about civil unrest in other parts of the world. Even though there have been many moments of death and destruction right here on our shores, somehow we, as a collective, continue to hold on to the belief that these bad things happen somewhere else. Not so.
Sadly, politics have sullied our national ability to sort through this horrific incident to figure out whom to hold accountable and how to move forward.
I have no stake in figuring out the politics. I am writing to you now because I want each one of us to think about our own actions and their repercussions in our lives.
I wrote a book many years ago called “How To Be.” The point of this etiquette book was to help people understand how to tap into the essence of who they are and to understand what is expected of them on their path so that they can make smart, honorable choices.
We were deep into the war with Iraq when this book came out, and seemingly everyone was upset about what was occurring overseas. I paused and thought about the warfare that we ignited among ourselves. How often do we say something flippantly that negatively impacts another? How cavalier can we be when casting aspersions against others? How common is it for people to judge one another and rally others to believe the same — even when they know the accusation is false?
If you think about it, you may see yourself in these negative behaviors. Most of us have been guilty of blaming others for our shortcomings. Too many have stirred the pot of darkness when they were experiencing some kind of lack in their own lives. I fear this is what is happening now in our world, and it must stop.
America, the great experiment in democracy, exists as a country that chooses to see the highest in each other and to make space for all of us to live and thrive together. The promise of this country is that we can agree to disagree peacefully, that we can argue without destroying each other, that we can live side by side despite our differences. If that is the promise, what happened? More important, what can we do about it?
I am a firm believer that each one of us can make a difference. We can stand in harm’s way, as Black Enterprise publisher Earl G. Graves used to urgently advise.
We must stand up for what is right and walk with integrity. We shoulder the responsibility of holding ourselves and others accountable for looking out for our fellow citizens of the country and the world. We must resist the pull of violence, hatred, racism and evil. We must choose to walk the path of goodness. We can do this, one by one. We must.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to [email protected] or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.