Editorial: From hate springs love

In the wake of Republican Donald Trump election as president, more than 700 incidents of “hateful harassment” were documented in the first week after the Nov. 8 election. It was, without doubt, a reaction to the hate-filled rhetoric used by Mr. Trump to pit one America against the other. It was, we now know, a deliberate and calculated tactic to win the election by pitting angry, white middle class Americans against minorities of any sort — and, unfortunately, it worked.
Trump tapped into America’s ugly underbelly, stirred up their resentments, and brought that anger out into the open. Two previously reported incidents occurred here in Middlebury — the scrawling of swastikas on the door of Havurah House in Middlebury and F*** MUSLIMS/#TRUMP2016 on a whiteboard outside a Middlebury College dorm room occupied by two Muslim students.
Yet, from such ugliness springs hope.
This Saturday, Dec. 3, the multi-faith Middlebury Area Clergy Association has organized “A Community Gathering of Love and Hope.” According to the group, that’s when “area citizens — of any faith or no faith — will be invited to assemble at meeting places around greater Middlebury between noon and 12:30. Shortly before 1 p.m. they’ll begin to make their way toward the Green, carrying donations of cash, winter clothing and food for H.O.P.E. (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects). On the Green, a parked truck will receive the donations. Participants will be invited to leave messages of solidarity and hope.”
That event will allow the community to gather and unite, but many in the county have already responded, according to the clergy group.
“After the swastika incident, we received hundreds of e-mails and countless letters of support,” said Sarit Katzew, the director of education for Havurah House. “Our sidewalks and walkway were covered with uplifting messages of hope and love. Kids from area schools and churches made us cards, and people I’d never met would stop me to say how upset they were by what happened and that they stand with Havurah.”
And this from the Rev. Tim Franklin, past of the Bridport Congregational Church: “My faith teaches me that the best and most powerful response in any situation is love, and my faith connects me to a supply of inexhaustible love. On Dec. 3 we’re inviting all people, no matter what they’re experiencing or feeling, be it fear or anger or intimidation or anxiety, to choose to respond with a tangible act of love.
“Bringing our donations of food and money to H.O.P.E. helps move us toward what we all want Addison County to be, a community of love and justice and peace.
“My prayer is that the love and goodwill that already exist in our community will deepen and grow in the face of the acrimonious times we find ourselves in, and that this gathering will be just one in a continuing series of everyday expressions of love that make Addison County a beautiful and ennobling place to live.”
That, at least, would be a silver lining to these post-election events.
Angelo S. Lynn

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