Michael N. Searles



It is interesting to write an article without knowing an election outcome. Who won and who lost is yet unknown to the writer. Even as this Wednesday issue appears on the stands, we may be heading for a runoff in the Georgia U.S. Senate race.

While we live in a world of uncertainty, there are things about which we remain certain. Life does not promise us the ending we desire and it can surprise us. Life continues to be a struggle now as it has been in the past. There are times when days have been dark for us individually and as a society. Shortly after the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, the nation began to mourn, and Americans began to commemorate the victims and demonstrate their patriotism.

Some flew the American flag from their front porches and car antennas. Others pinned it to their lapels or wore it on t-shirts. Sports teams postponed games. Celebrities organized benefit concerts and performances. People attended impromptu candlelight vigils and participated in moments of silence. 9/11 shocked the nation and the world and a morass covered the country.

Folks who did not usually talk to each other conversed on the horrific incidents that occurred on that day. Some put paper flags in their windows to show their connection to the nation. All the turmoil and rancor evident on September 10 seemed to dissipate. While the United Nations often is a contentious place where disagreement reigns, on September 28, 2001, that body adopted unanimously Security Council Resolution 1373 against terrorism and a few days later it implemented Article 5 that binds its members together to protect each other as an attack on one is an attack on all. This was the first time in the history of the UN that Article 5 had been invoked.

9/11 should be an inspiration to all of us that our differences are not as great as what binds us together. If the world can find accord even for one day, we as a nation can also. A common and somewhat trite notion of “sitting at the table of brotherhood” has been uttered many times.

Pope Francis called for Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together. Retired Admiral Panagiotis Kikareas, a well-known peace advocate and President and CEO of the World Peace Foundation called on the leaders and citizens of the world to embrace the Code of “The Human Brotherhood.”

Our own Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech gave five principle themes. He spoke of Unfulfilled Promises that America had made to African Americans: Promises made but promises not kept. He spoke of the need for immediacy in his cry for “An Urgent Need for Action.” He saw as a nation that there was a need for unity with the white community. Dr. King was a nonviolent warrior who stressed The importance of not meeting evil with evil. The Power of Hope fueled his movement and his life’s journey.

Dr. King also had a prescription for how the elements of his dream could be accomplished. Dr. King spoke of a “table of brotherhood” where people from different backgrounds could sit down and break bread and discuss their differences, all in the hope to know one another better.

There is no better time than now to have that “Sit- Down”after a very impassioned and bitter election. The need for such a gathering is evident; however, the leadership necessary is in question. Now is the time for political leaders, faith leaders, and civic leaders to meet and make plans for our community to come to the table of brotherhood and share our thoughts without rancor or recriminations.

As we really listen to our collective concerns, we have the opportunity to know one another better. Knowing each other leads to better understanding. A gathering also could occur where we break bread together since a good meal nourishes the body and enlivens the spirit.

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