Praying for peace over violence

There’s an elephant in the room, and it’s high time to face the truth.

Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, and instead of facing his loss, he has stoked rage and conspiracy among his multitudes of followers. MAGA has emboldened paramilitary, domestic extremism to historic levels and far-right media outlets have stoked the rage and hate toward Democrats, immigrants, environmentalists, BLM activists, gay kids, women, science, public health professionals, librarians and now the sacred foundation of democracy: Elections.

Until Trump faces the truth (don’t hold your breath) and reasonable Republicans speak up for truth (the elected ones are too scared of being primaried), we’re in for more than trouble from the radical right.

Early Friday morning, a man rapt with QAnon and Big Lie conspiracies beat our speaker of the house’s husband with a hammer yelling “Where’s Nancy?” You can bet he’s part of the problem, but the ecosystem of denial and violence is fed by all who support lies over truth and violence over democracy, all who deny the results of 2020 and spew their Brandon-coded hatred in the now blood-sport of politics.

We all lose from time to time. When we were young, playing sports and games offered important experiences that taught us how to lose gracefully, how to lose without throwing a tantrum and maybe even how to be a good sport and congratulate the victor.

Perhaps parents and coaches stopped teaching sportsmanship. Have they been muttering about unfair refs to kids? Is that how it become acceptable to lose and throw a hateful, violent tantrum?

Losing is tough. I’ll be the first to admit it. After my first decade of living and voting on my one main issue, environmental stewardship, I sadly watched the winner of the popular vote but the loser of a party-line vote in the Supreme Court be declared the loser of the 2000 election.

Al Gore’s work to wake us all up to the truth about global warming had given me hope that we would finally start the hard work of fulfilling our Constitution’s promise to our posterity and build on the conservation and stewardship of Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon before Reagan ushered in anti-environmental extremism to the GOP platform.

But it was just too much of the truth for us to handle at the time. Gore’s vision required too much forethought, too much creativity, too much innovation, too much sacrifice. In a turnabout of tragic proportion, we would be led by an oil man rather than a conservationist.

Millions of Americans were heartbroken, but we watched Mr. Gore concede on Dec. 13, 2000, with these words: “… I call on all Americans — I particularly urge all who stood with us to unite behind our next president. This is America. Just as we fight hard when the stakes are high, we close ranks and come together when the contest is done. And while there will be time enough to debate our continuing differences, now is the time to recognize that that which unites us is greater than that which divides us.” Now that’s class.

Fast forward two decades of consistent opposition from the right on climate action and stewardship and all the other forms of violence cultivated by the right, and I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights of worry about my students’ and my kids’ future and here we are a week before another most important election of our lifetime.

Let me say to my fellow American Republicans — the reasonable ones who might read this far into an editorial on losing and truth from a bike-commuting, equality-embracing liberal — that I know how hard it is to lose.

I have watched my home state of Alaska burn and melt and my children’s future set ablaze. I have watched our nation squander two decades of opportunity to responsibly and gradually phase out fossil fuels. But hating you is still not an option for me. Supporting violence even though I see your support of violence is not an option.

Even though I’ve never heard a single Republican apologize for opposing action on the climate and have only heard a few mea culpas for Jan. 6 by the poor sots who did Trump’s bidding that day, I am willing to forgive.

On Nov. 8, I pray for peace over violence, for compassion over killing, for truth over conspiracy, for stewardship over waste, for science over hysteria, for posterity over greed, for dignity over tantrums. If not, then we’ll surely all be losers.

Steve Plasse is a father, teacher, recycling coordinator and musician who has lived in Jackson County for 16 years. Currently, he spends his time raking leaves for next year’s compost. Send comments to [email protected].