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State of my mind

We are going through a lot, in this America: the pandemic, the economic devastation, the death of George Floyd, the protests followed by the riots and looting, our lack of inspiring leadership. I feel like a rudderless ship. I alternate from grief, angst to desolation and depression. I am sure many of you feel the same.

Yes, all politics is local, thus the reactions of different communities differ throughout this very large and multicultural country. The reactions in urban centers with large minority populations, with whole sections of the population without jobs, income, property, education, family structure, drug infestation and poor health care pushes people to despair and acts that are difficult to understand. For what do they have to lose? They have nothing. They do not even have pride, which has been stripped from them though centuries of lack of opportunity.

But if I may ask, how many countries in the history of mankind have gone into a devastating Civil War so slavery could be abolished? Did we not produce MLK, the Great Society, the Civil Rights Bill and others? Not enough, but as Lao Tzu said, a voyage of a thousand miles starts with the first few steps. Do we have to destroy civil society so our dreams can be accomplished?

I condemn the violent, senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd. The vociferous protesting of this injustice to a human being, created by God in his image, is not only a legitimate and necessary exercise of our constitutional rights, but also the exercise of our civic duty so we can preserve our moral compass. We must demand change, a change in direction toward a more perfect Union.

I nevertheless condemn the rioting and looting, which is a degradation of our moral fiber, while at the same time upholding the strong protests to the violation of human life and dignity. Can we support anarchy and disorder while we are seeking a better life-sustaining framework, a better life for all and importantly, the development of redeeming programs for those that have not achieved the American Dream? For the American Dream is for all of us.

In this dark night of the soul, I would like to end with a poem by Thomas Hardy, “Song of Hope.” I will only include the first stanza:

“O sweet Tomorrow!

After today

There will away

This sense of sorrow.

Then let us borrow

Hope, for a gleaming

Soon will be streaming,

Dimmed by no gray —

No gray!”

RENE R. RIGAL, MD

Williamsport

Submitted via email

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