A woman from Tennessee told of her friend being murdered in church because he was a Liberal. Another woman in a Red State talked about being publicly jeered by her family members. These comments from last week's post impacted me deeply.
Have you or someone you know been savaged by partisan politics?
Here are what other HuffPo readers said:
"I live in the South---in a solid red state...A man came into a local liberal church and shot a man I knew to death because he was mad at liberals.
He said he wanted to shoot Obama but knew he couldn't get close enough so he decided to shoot his supporters.
This happened at the Unitarian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. He killed a person I really liked--Greg McKendry. He also shot a woman I didn't know who was visiting the church. This is a church my 16-year old autistic daughter visits- they are very kind to her (some people aren't so nice). They have a gay-friendly environment, though, and that is why this guy zeroed in on them. Best not to even talk about it with a Republican." - Pickwickianmom
"How sad that those of us who supported Obama are more afraid of people who voted for the Republican candidate than we are of any outside force." - Libbydoe
"The trouble is actually finding decent republicans. I would have denied to the death the thought that my in-laws would treat me badly, but I left my husband's family after they jeered at my political beliefs in a public place, openly guffawing at me- and this despite the fact that my husband and I have been married over 30 years." - Ivyfree
Coffee and Calling On My Higher Nature
What would I do if any of those situations had happened in my family? "When did hate become a family value?" was the question that plagued me. My heart started pounding just thinking of hearing gun shots while I was sitting in church. Could I really have compassion for Jim D Adkisson, the Tennessee gunman? Would I put up with in laws that called me a traitor and terrorist sympathizer? The answer was simple. No way.
Yet, I have a pull to encourage myself and others to heal these internal and external divides. I struggled and stared at my computer screen... My deadline was looming so, I took the obvious next step. I got up to make a cup of coffee. As I stood up the small sign that sits next to my calendar gleamed as if a spotlight had just hit it.
"I am sharing God's loving."
Was it odd or was it God? Ah ha! It was my roadmap. I know it isn't very spiritual of me, but I have always had a tough time with the concept of forgiveness. Maybe I missed that day in Sunday School. Forgiveness seemed that it was engineered for mung bean ashram residents and not red meat eaters like me. It came naturally for the Dali Lama, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa, but was too big a leap for a mere mortal like me. As my ex-husband would tell you, I came factory-loaded with a very wide vindictive streak.
Maybe I am not a forgiveness pro yet, but I can give love. To heal these divisions I see both internally and externally that it will take something bigger than my personal agenda. The Great Good's Love is just that. As we rebuild our nation, you and I are called to give love- even to those that "don't deserve it". Let's make the simple act of sharing love our new family value.
Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized woman's executive coach and motivational speaker.
Her book, Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for The Savvy, Sassy and Swamped, (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards.