Commentary: Right now, we are not our brother’s and sister’s keeper

Commentary: Right now, we are not our brother’s and sister’s keeper
November 01
12:15 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

It is safe to say that our world is in a deep divide. The level of vitriol from all fronts in my opinion has never been higher. Headline news keeps changing from hour to hour.

Events that shake and shatter the human spirit are occurring every day. Just a few weeks ago, Jamal Khahoggi, a journalist of Saudi Arabian descent who worked and lived in the United States was killed at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Details about the incident thus far have been sketchy. Some reports say that a rogue group murdered him. The body has disappeared, and some say it has been dismembered. It seems now that going into an embassy you once thought was safe has now become dangerous.

We are in a virtual free fall, not knowing our direction as a world and as a country. Will the upcoming midterm elections have any effect on where we land? That probably depends upon whom you ask. These elections may serve as a defining moment for our country, at least for now.

I have been an observer of politics for a while now and I can honestly say these are some interesting times. There was a time in American politics where there were some limits on what you could say and do. Candidates didn’t talk about their opponent’s family members and attack ads were non-existent. There was simply a line of decency you didn’t cross. There wasn’t a “win or else” mentality. Potential office holders did not create an atmosphere of fear and hate among the electorate. As a community, we honored each other’s right to vote. We didn’t participate in acts of trickery and deception to disenfranchise voters. Every voter had the same set of guidelines.

For some in our democracy, lives were lost, and blood was shed to get us the right to vote. So, these recent events in some states aimed at voter suppression will not deter us.

Just a few days ago, 14 pipe bombs were mailed to persons who have spoken out publicly against the current administration. The FBI said these were not hoax devices. Included among the targets were former presidents, fundraisers and movie stars. The alleged guilty party, Cesar Sayoc, according to national reports lives in Florida, has a criminal history and has ties to New York. There will be more details to follow.

It is my opinion there is a tone in this country that has at its foundation to divide us. There are violent acts that bring on hate and bigotry. On Friday, the president condemned the act and called for peace and love as fellow Americans. The president uses the words peace and love, but his speeches aren’t peaceful and loving. On the contrary, they are mean-spirited and disrespectful. His tweets are anger-filled. So, it is difficult to believe that he can flip the script.

His rhetoric, in my opinion, has influenced others to commit acts of aggression. Those who support this form of speech and activism see nothing wrong with our country today. Threats, bullets and bullying are the remedies for all that ails us. This happens because of the way we treat one another. People who want a United States are being challenged by those who want a divided state of the union.

This terrorist investigation is only in its beginning stage. Keep your loved ones and friends close.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem.  He can be reached at

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