It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us.
I’ve done a lot of thinking this week.
I’ve thought a lot about what President Trump said and what he could have said. I’ve thought a lot about symbolism, about manners, about civility, about tone, about politics, and about democracy.
Most of all, I’ve thought about my country. I’ve thought about where we are and how we got here. I’ve thought a lot about where we are going.
At times, when I struggle to find the right words, I sit in silence. I read the words of great spiritual leaders. I turn to poetry.
One poem I read was Langston Hughes’ “Democracy.”
Talk of our democracy and citizenship has gotten a lot of play this past week. Hughes’ poem reminded me that we all have ownership of our great country and we all must stand on our own two feet and own this land.
As I wrote right after President Trump’s speech, I wish it had invited more people in. I know those who voted for him may have felt like it did, but I know millions didn’t, and that broke my heart.
Inaugural speeches are opportunities to reach out and across the divide. They are openings. I hoped for a vision of uniting one president’s vision of “we” with the other’s. I hoped for language that would bring the two halves of our country together. I hoped he would reach out to the millions who didn’t vote for him and acknowledge their fears.
The truth is, we the people are the strength and the backbone of this country. This country doesn’t belong to Obama’s “we” or Mr. Trump’s “we.” It belongs to all of us.
It will be up to the majority of us to remind this president who we are, what we care about and what is most important to us. We, the large “we,” must stand on our own two feet and use our own voices to speak for what we believe.
Our founding fathers weren’t afraid, nor should any of us be. May we all focus on Moving Humanity Forward one person at a time, and may we watch our tone, our language and our words. For our words tell us — and our global neighbors — who we really are.
Every week at The Sunday Paper, we want to go to an inspirational place. That is our mission. Every week, we want to honor individuals who are using their voices, their hearts, and their minds to Move Humanity Forward.
We call these individuals Architects of Change. They come from all areas of human endeavor and they make our world better, one idea and one person at a time.
This week, our Architects of Change of the Week are all of the women and men who participated in The Women’s Marches on Saturday. From Washington D.C. to San Diego to Sydney, Australia, millions of people flooded the streets of cities and towns across the globe. They assembled in a statement of solidarity to send a message that they expect elected leaders of both parties to protect the rights of women, their families and their communities.
These individuals gathered to remind us that this nation belongs to all of us. Search the hashtag #womensmarch on social media to get a closer look at the women and men who represented the march.
(Courtesy Stacey Schultzman)
(Courtesy Boston Police Department)
Over the last 50 years, Tom Brokaw’s voice is one that has guided us through many of our nation’s most important moments. While many feel that we are experiencing uncertain times, he insisted that we’re still living in a very strong country.
“We have been through difficult times before,” Tom told me in a special Architects of Change conversation. But he said now more than ever, Americans need to stand up and actively participate in our democracy.
“They have to get involved,” he said. “They have to set aside their emotional commitment to somebody and do it on a practical basis. Does this work? Does this make sense? Is he going to have success with it?”
WATCH: View our conversation here.
I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about those words from my friend Sister Joan Chittister. Joan believes all of us must aspire to be peacemakers and that we must find a way to come together for the common good.
In the days ahead, we should not be afraid to use our voices to advocate for the issues that matter most to us. But the manner in which we use our voice will make all of the difference.
Joan, an author and a Benedictine nun, is someone who has always ignited my spirit. She has written more books than I can count and is someone I deeply admire. She wrote the words below especially for you, readers of The Sunday Paper. I’m grateful to be able to share her wisdom here with you here today.
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