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We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows
                    Robert Frost

I’ve been trying for days to write about my feelings during this complicated time for our country. We are divided as a nation. Many families are also divided by our recent election. All in all, I find it heartbreaking. There are protests all over the country some of which are violent. It seems we’ve come so far away from the secret center where there is harmony and calm. 

On Sunday, at a service I attended at the Grants Pass Center for Spiritual living, we held hands and sang, “Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me.” There were tears streaming down faces. There was fear and disappointment. There were probably many differing opinions, but we were acknowledging in the joining of hands, that we are all one.  I believe this is the center we need to find during this time of diversion. 

The election is over. We have a new president. While he didn’t win the majority vote of the American people, the Electoral College has put him into office. Many of us, like in Robert Frost’s poem, are dancing around in a ring, supposing what will happen next. Some of us are fearful our new president will fulfill his campaign promises to reverse LGBT rights, throw out people who’ve come to America for what she has always promised, “A better life.”  We fear he will empower white supremicists, build walls, take away health care from millions of poor Americans and end a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. We are terrified he will be the dictator he has promised.

We all know our country needs to unite. But unity is impossible with so much fear and hatred. We have to find the center which I believe is love. I know that sounds idealistic, but we can disagree and still love each other as long as that disagreement doesn’t take the liberties, the rights, or the dignity away from other human beings. That we cannot and must not tolerate.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

                                            Emma Lazarus

Is it any wonder why she is weeping? 

Who among us doesn't love the Statue of Liberty and everything she stands for? It welcomed so many immigrants into our country, including my husband and his parents who fled Hitler and the atrocities of the Holocaust. My husband's parents were physicians who came to love this country. They learned our language. They became certified to practice medicine here. The first thing my father-in-law did after receiving his citizenship was join the Army to fight for the country that saved his family. My husband became a medical school dean and spent his career ensuring that every qualified student regardless of his race, gender or religion, could be admitted to medical school and, with hard work, become a physician. These were good people who deserved the chance this country gave to them. They contributed to our society through their service for the greater good. I get teary eyed thinking about what they must have felt when they first saw our Statue of Liberty.

 At its dedication, President Grover Cleveland said, the statue's "stream of light shall pierce the darkness of ignorance and man's oppression until Liberty enlightens the world." 

Let's not forget those words or what it has always meant to be an American. 

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with every one of us.