These are photographs were taken by our youngest son, Matt, at yesterday's vigil that he and his girlfriend participated in. Ron and I will go today and bring our own flowers and prayers. The assault and murder of the men who stood in protection of two teenage girls, one wearing an hijab, who were being verbally attacked by another man occurred within sight of a Trader Joes I shop at and very near other places I frequent. I weep in this moment as I share about this horrendous tragedy. I am also deeply conscious that violence is an every day occurrence that to one degree or another affects us all, and most especially the most vulnerable among us - Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks, gays, and the list goes on. This tragedy in Portland also illuminates that the largest threat of "terrorism" to us all is not from those from far away lands, but is most often found right here in America in our own communities. The question is - where do we stand regarding violence in all its many forms directed at anyone? Can we increasingly make a profound commitment to peace, beginning within our own hearts? Will we please join with all those who are committed to standing up to violence, injustice, ignorance, oppression, prejudice, and greed? May our numbers grow and grow... I am also moved to share the below letter by Dan Rather to our current president, the essence of which needs to be voiced again and again.
Peace & blessings ~ Molly
|Matt's girlfriend, Rubi, at memorial of flowers and other offerings.|
Dear President Trump,
Their names were Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Ricky John Best. One was a recent college graduate. The other was an army veteran and father of four. I wish we would hear you say these names, or even just tweet them. They were brave Americans who died at the hands of someone who, when all the facts are collected, we may have every right to call a terrorist. A third brave man, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, was wounded in the knife attack.
This story may not neatly fit into a narrative you pushed on the campaign trail and that has followed you into the White House. They were not killed by an undocumented immigrant or a "radical Islamic terrorist." They were killed in an act of civic love, facing down a man allegedly spewing hate speech directed at two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab. That man seems to have a public record of "extremist ideology" - a term issued by the Portland Police Bureau.
This "extremism" may be of a different type than gets most of your attention, or even the attention in the press. But that doesn't make it any less serious, or deadly. And this kind of "extremism" is on the rise, especially in the wake of your political ascendancy. Most people who study these sorts of things do not think that is a coincidence. I do not blame you directly for this incident. Nor do I think other people should. But what a President says, who he has around him, and the tone he sets can set the tone for the nation at large.
Perhaps Portland, Oregon is off your radar. It is, after all, a rather liberal place. It's even a "sanctuary city." But it is still an American city. And you are its President. Two Americans have died leaving family and friends behind. They are mourned by millions more who are also deeply worried about what might come next.
I hope you can find it worthy of your time to take notice.