We Refuse to Live in Fear
Hitler’s motto “Make Germany Great Again” sounds suspiciously familiar.
Chanukah, Christmas, what do they have in common with Gitchi Manitou and Hashem, generically known as God? They are part of the rich diversity that makes the United States healthy.
It is 2:00 am I am weary but wide awake. Sunday night four chanukiah’s will light up our window, just one block from one of the most well-traveled streets in our town. A Holiday that should be only filled with joy and celebration is also tainted with a little anxiety.
I wrote in my master’s thesis that people think being a Native American with a Native worldview is romantic. They imagine teepees, chants and mystical connections to land that's such a narrow vision of Native Americans.
What little is understood of the worldview is romanticized or ostracized. The same could be said for Orthodox Judaism in both its modern and strict forms.
I am of the land and from the land, mother earth is my home and to be disconnected from her I am disconnected from my source. In my world nothing is separate.
There are many intricacies that could take reams of paper to try to explain. Perhaps the simplest and most accessible way to try to capture what is a core, concrete, and spiritual understanding for me is captured by quote “Thou cannot stir a flower Without troubling of a star” I am unsure of where I read this but it has always stuck with me because it so eloquently captures the heart of how I understand life; all things are connected.
It seems to me that hate is fear and ignorance multiplied to the extreme. The racism directed toward Native nations is closely linked to the hatred of anti-Semitism and these are linked to worldviews that project their own inadequacies onto others and commodify life in every form human and more-than-human.
The first Sunday night of Chanukah I and my children's father lit candles with our three precious children and placed them in the window for all to see because we refuse to live in fear. I write my truth in worldview, in a master’s thesis, and across many other platforms for the same reason, I refuse to live my life in fear.
Believing Gitchi Manitou and Hashem are one and the same understood and interpreted in some ways differently by the cultures they spring from isn’t popular and would offend some folks. I for one cannot ignore the core teachings in each tradition that match up despite the differences that also exist. I can hold respect and love for my children's father and his Hashem as I do my own Gitchi Manitou.
This is plurality. In my world, this is seeing connections and living in love. In my world, the sacred and the profane exist on the same plane to which am I going to give my time and energy.
Refusing to live my life in fear and choosing where I place my focus does not mean I don’t know we may wind up with a brick through our window or worse for openly living what we celebrate and believe. Refusing to live in fear does not mean I won’t put a feather in my hair or use the Earth and plant knowledge passed down for centuries.
Refusing to live in fear does not mean I won’t be ignored, shot down, or criticized for being who and what I am. Refusing to live in fear will give me certain serenity and kindness because I am executing my core beliefs.
The feelings of working to contribute and create more love, kindness, wisdom, and active communication across lines of difference in this world.
Working to help heal trauma and cross-cultural communications and understanding of differing worldviews; I find these worthy pursuits amongst many others.
There are those in our personal world that would sell us a worldview filled with fear. There are those in positions of power so frightened that they insist on building walls at the cost of nations.
Our country with all its mix of ethnicities and cultures is part of what makes it strong. Diversity is the bedrock that builds. Generosity and diversity build a kind tensile strength that does not exist without diversity.
From my worldview look at any thriving eco-system and you will see the example of what builds strength in life: it is a richness in difference coalescing into one whole. It is differing cultures holding to their beliefs while still harmonizing with others in the world different from them.
Remember Hitler? Who would take the ravings of one lunatic seriously? Hitler sent out armies high on methamphetamines, armies with insane strength and endurance and extremely limited compassion. Armies that slaughtered, raped, tortured, burned, and killed. More than 70 million people perished. Not one single country allowed Jewish people to cross their borders. The United States was among those countries that did not allow asylum for Jews…
Speaking of fear and walls at the cost of nations and not taking someone seriously. Why do we the people as part of the governing body of our country wave away the out-right lies and brutalities, and fear-mongering committed by our current president impeached or not?
Trump is damaging our country our way of relating to one another. Many did not take Hitler seriously in the beginning either, some considered him hilarious, while others admired his oratory skills and ability to whip an audience into a frenzy.
This last, our current president is very good at look at the rhetoric behind the MAGA hat. Make America Great Again? Oh, by the way, that was Hitler’s motto for Germany as well: Make Germany Great Again (MGGA) had he created a hat too.
I question which America?
The one that is responsible for the deaths of roughly 80–95 percent of the Native American population (historians disagree on number but it ranges between 8 and 110 million lives) before even forming states, the one that while building its empire imported 12.5 million Africans as slaves, The one that during world war two shut out Jews, The one that placed 120,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps wrecking their families and lives?
Or the one that in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution of slavery throughout the country?
The one that ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment which granted women the right to vote? The one that passed the constitution of the United States of America in 1789 a constitution that is still in force.
The one that on June 21, 1788, ratified the Constitution which became the official structure of the government of the United States of America, the one that 1791 created and adopted the bill of rights which is the guide to human rights?
The fall-out since Trump gained office has been dramatically injurious to many Native Nations north and south especially those on the borders of the United States.
I could go on listing shameful and exonerating actions of our country all of them carrying weight and we the responsibility for owning them and building the kind of America that is strong, vibrant, healthy, and tolerant of difference.
People like Nancy Pelosi the first woman in U.S. history to hold Speaker of the United States House of Representatives has a tough job not only is she the first woman to hold the position she is working to deal with the current mess now in play.
Some dismiss President Trump, think the problem will go away with changing the channel, riding out the storm; others he whips into a fury of action. He has a fascist point of view and liberally shares his fear-mongering with the public he is supposed to serve to incite violent tempers and rash actions. How much longer are we the people, the voters who have a voice going to let this go on? Are we going buy into his fear routine or will we choose our freedom?
As for myself just as during the last presidential election will not choose him, he is bad news for us, bad news for our country. He puts us in great danger just as Hitler left profound wreckage and impact upon the world and incredible shame in Germany. Trump will if we let him wreck our country, our lives and ways of life; all to feel safe himself which he is unlikely to feel given his history.
Will we let him? Or will we stand behind democrats whether we are democratic or not to get him out of office? Will we vote for the controlling fear monger or try someone new hopefully better qualified for the position? It’s a new year folks the choice is ours.