03/07/2012 03:13 pm ET Updated May 07, 2012

Yes, Alexander, It Is A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, But...

In that marvelous children's book, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day," the main character Alexander knew that things were going down hill when he woke up with gum in his hair, didn't get a prize in his cereal box and wasn't given a window seat in the car. So his answer to his woes was to move to Australia.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day for us when we woke up a few days ago to more reports of the lack of civility and care for each other as fellow human beings that we read in regards to comments by Rush Limbaugh and the behavior of Judge Richard Cebull. We continue to hear folks proclaim that we have free speech thus the notion seems to be that it makes no difference what one says. When did we move to that understanding of free speech in this country? Who among us thinks that it is alright to say anything that comes to your mind about another person just because you have a legal right to free speech. If you have missed the stories regarding these folks in the past few days, please go look them up. I am not so interested in repeating them as I am trying to make the point that all of us need to consider the possibility that we must find a better way to live together in this country and that includes not supporting negativity of any type.

There are many wonderful people in this land and all of us who make up the faith communities need to assert the tenets of our various traditions and figure out ways to stand more firmly against the people who wish to denigrate and destroy those whose ideas are not the ones that they wish to hear. Those of us in the Christian community live with the voice of Jesus telling us, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I loved you, so must you love one another" (John 13:34 NIV).

But in the face of this commandment we see folks in the Christian community who behave much like Limbaugh and Cebull and even if they don't say the same kinds of ugly, derogartory things as these two men, they are quiet when they hear about them being said by others. It is time for all of us who believe God is real and expects us to make this world a better place by supporting the good that we found when we arrive here as human beings instead of trying to see how much we can tear down each other and the environment to take a stand and to speak louder about the mean-spirited, destructive and unproductive behaviors that are so common these days.

Let me be clear, this is not about free speech, this is about saving ourselves and saving our world by turning ourselves toward the light and finding new ways to be together in this country and on this planet. We can not go to Australia. We are here and most of us will continue to be here and the ball is in our court and we have to play. We cannot afford to be immobilized by the loudest voices among us and we cannot afford to refuse to see reality as it is presented to us. So the sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, abelism, abuse of the environment, political incivility and basic rage that is so prevalent in our land today does create a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" for us. But we can refocus the lens and we can return to love if we choose to do that.

The lack of civil dialogue is merely a symptom of a greater problem. The problem is the loss of love and respect for one another as fellow human beings. No matter what we believe and no matter what set of values we use to get through our journey on this earth, our life will not be as good as it could be if we do not have respect and love for our fellow human beings, animals and the world in which we live. The lack of love and respect makes it possible to say all kinds of hate filled things about others, it makes it possible to see the world as only being a place to provide for our needs and desires and to act in all kinds of in humane ways toward animals.

There is good news. We can return to love. Each one of us can do this in whatever sphere we occupy. We can be more loving toward ourselves and that will make it easier to export it to others and finally even to those that we deem to be our enemies. But as we work on the task of becoming more loving we can certainly show respect for everyone even if we don't understand them. We can refuse to participate in the hate that is being presented as political discourse and under the guise of exercising free speech. The horrible days can be transformed if all of us make the choice to love one another.