The most rancorous Presidential campaign in history has left us a nation seriously divided. In these weeks since the election, we have seen more hate crimes and harassment than ever before. The Clown Town Healing Fest wanted to address these painful divisions, and do what we do best “heal in community”. We sponsored a gathering in downtown Phoenix and invited a distinguished panel of representatives from beleaguered communities (Latino, environmental, civil rights, healthcare, LGBTQ, education, the arts), to speak about their concerns and then opened it to talk about how we can mobilize our strengths, and more effectively face our fears.
In my brief remarks I said, so far we have responded in our biologically programmed way of “fight or flight”. People are either: circling their wagons, preparing for an assault, and arming themselves against the coming Armageddon (a reaction that will only escalate the likelihood of violence and then invite greater repression) or: they want to run away…anyplace, (also futile because it relinquishes our responsibility as citizens to stand up and define our common goals as Americans).
We have got to come together as a collection of diverse communities, who make relationships and create a larger community; one that still articulates the dreams of our founding fathers of a Nation conceived and dedicated to the pursuit of liberty, justice, freedom, and equality, for all.
We don’t have to come together in massive displays of revolution, but it does require that each of us step up when we see racism, harassment, violence and injustice. Every one of us speaking for the other so that we cannot be silenced.
A couple of weeks ago in central Phoenix, a Middle Eastern bakery/restaurant, owned by refugees who are American citizens, had its front window smashed for the second time in as many weeks. A neighbor and regular customer, who knows and values these people was outraged and put together a neighborhood call for contributions to repair the window, which then expanded on-line, and then a local glazier offered to donate the glass and labor. Not in great acts of rebellion, but through these kinds of acts in every community in this Country will we light the way to healing….the light at the end of this dark tunnel is not an illusion, the tunnel is.