“For Whom the Bell Tolls”

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne

The tragedies of this weekend in El Paso and Dayton have been much on my mind this weekend. I came here to write more than once and stopped every time. I thought about safe harbors, we have none. I thought about being insulated from the rest of the world here in Vermont – I am not. I thought about the overall silence from our nation’s leaders – if anything, the silence resonated. Oh, there were a few words, just enough from a few to show they knew what happened, but mostly silence.

I thought about the rhetoric and the words the president uses almost every day. He seems to find the most comfort in being on the attack. He uses the power of the presidency to make his attacks hurt. Almost every day we wake up to some new twitter attacks launched against some American by this president. There has never been an effort to unite us, to bring us together. Vehemence is the tone we find in this president’s words. Vehemence directed at us, at Americans – “…send them back…”

I have said this over and over for the last few years, “Silence is complicity.” I have to ask those that continue to choose silence, what will it take for you to rediscover your morality, your human decency? How can anyone lay claim to either and support this president?

I go back to John Donne’s poem, “…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Whether it is a father and his daughter floating face down in death’s embrace, or our neighbors and friends out doing what people do, we are all diminished by these losses.

And, we have the power to do the right thing, yet we continue to choose not to. A Christian might say Satan works among us. We seem to have lost our will to resist, and we will reap what we sow. I am always mindful to be careful what we build…

“…the bell tolls for thee.”

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