Assist or resist: A choice must be made NOW

By Reade Brower | Aug 09, 2019

There are many opinions being written about two recent mass shootings in Ohio and Texas. This will not be one; this will be about humanity and how do we put that above politics so that we can work together toward a better society. How do we move society forward? We don’t if resistance is the strategy chosen.

A “need to blame” appears ahead of the “need to solve.” A Republican friend offered up a simple slogan the other day; something that would need to go both ways. “Assistance rather than resistance” is how she put it. Her point is well-taken; we have too much resistance, a first-cousin to hate, and that prevents progress.

There are bipartisan solutions to our immigration challenges, as well as current economic and social issues. Mostly, we choose other paths, rather than assistance, and until resistance subsides, little will change.

Our governor, Janet Mills, spoke to a small group a few weeks back and was asked about her accomplishments. She rattled off many; when asked “How have you got so much done in such little time,” she told her audience that Republicans were working with her and the Democrats for the good of Maine. Why and how is this being done? The “why” is because if the left wants progress, they need to work with the right and middle and compromise.

What would help is to harness this “assistance vs. resistance” to create commonsense agendas that deal with gun control legislation? Should the general populace own assault rifles? How about better background checks? Some legislators are asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring back senators now to fix this.

On the table is a bill with bipartisan support, including commonsense approaches to better background checks, a “red flag” provision allowing family or law enforcement to limit guns to those deemed “threats to the public,” and the ban of assault rifles. There is nothing limiting law-abiding citizens from owning firearms for protection, hunting or target shooting.

Same goes for an agenda targeting mental health and isolation. Creating a society where everyone fits in, diversity is embraced and hate is not tolerated, is critical. Blaming President Trump for the hatred is misguided if you think he started it; as our president, he can fan the flames or put water on the fire, creating embers.

When recently writing “morality matters,” there were comments that bordered on hate. When asked “why you got to be so rude,” one reader talked about truth and another about free speech. The reply was that name-calling and hate-filled language like “go back where you came from” don't move the needle, and shouldn’t be tolerated.

A comment about boycotting our papers was not over the line, but threats are inappropriate in civilized discussions. Calling someone a “jerk,” even if the person is a public figure, in an online comment can, and should be taken down. It has nothing to do with “free speech”; newspapers can demand more from readers, just as you have the right to respectful conversation in your home.

If a guest in your home called you, your wife, or a family member “jerk,” is that acceptable “free speech”? Not in my house; I once asked a family member to leave during a Thanksgiving meal, when my three active boys were younger, after he called my wife (who had just spent days preparing a wonderful meal for her family and our guests) a “lousy mother” during a discussion about child-rearing.

Free expression allows for dialogue, even on Thanksgiving, about how we parent, but when it gets personal, insulting or rude, the only way to stop it is to stop it. Asking this family member to leave, before dessert, allowed the rest to go on to the business of being a family. No matter how you believe in raising children, sharing ideas and supporting each other is better than insulting those who think differently.

That is where “assist” enters; how do we work together to be better as a society? When we recognize a situation where a parent needs help and guidance, figure out a way to show, through actions, not words, how to help.

Calling someone a “jerk” or a “lousy mother” isn’t the answer.

Grace and humility help; my wife has a great saying she imparts on newly married couples. She offers: “Always hand the tea cup with the handle pointed out.”

President Jimmy Carter, when asked about his 72-year marriage, shared a story about their nighttime ritual. If they had a quarrel during the day, they resolve it before bedtime. They can still be angry, but they can’t have angst. Quarrel or not, every night they turn to the Bible and connect by reading two pages, out loud, in Spanish, to each other.

Politeness and connection; that’s a starting point.

Are you resisting or assisting?


“Kind words, kind looks, kind acts, and warm handshakes — these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting their unseen battles.” — John Hall, pastor (1829-1898)

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Comments (5)
Posted by: Paul Sheridan | Aug 11, 2019 00:36

Nice is one thing, silence when you need to speak--and yes, to RESIST-- is quite another.

Let us not forget words from a few great leaders of the 20th Century:

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. "

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees."

- Gandhi


"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right".

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


“A community that permits within itself members who do nothing will be destroyed by them.”  — Dietrich Bonhoeffer


“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”

-Mahatma Gandhi


"The time is always right to do what is right"

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


"A time comes when silence is betrayal. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak out with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


“We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal" and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."

-Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963




Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 10, 2019 12:03

The Power of Encouragement

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Aug 09, 2019 16:02

A wonderful thought provoking read! Thank you and God Bless!

Posted by: Valli Genevieve Geiger | Aug 09, 2019 13:42

Dear Richard, you have no worries on that score. Each comment you make adds a little light to the world, thank you.

Valli Geiger

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 09, 2019 12:34

Just came home from a funeral and thought the only thing would be nice to hear at my own would be very simple: "He was kind." 

It isn't difficult if we remember God's words: "Love one another as I have loved you."

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