As a Christian:
- I can be kind. I can refuse to be spiteful or sneering.
- I can be truthful. I can call out dishonesty (kindly, persistently) when I see it.
- I can be humble, believing that through the communion of the saints a willingness to empty oneself can bear eternal fruit.
- I can be hopeful that virtue is both contagious and efficacious.
- I can pray, remembering that there have been much darker days in history.
As a neighbor:
- I can listen. The Boston Globe published a horrifying story about my hometown and I read it with disbelief. But we can't move forward together if we're not willing to listen to each other.
- I can speak up against racism, misogyny, xenophobia. Kindly, yes, but with rock-solid persistence.
- I can stay away from Facebook this week. Nothing good will happen if I spend time on Facebook this week, and I will remember ill-considered remarks for far too long. (Facebook is not the place to employ strategies #1 and #2.)
As a citizen:
- I can write letters. Even though I think I don't have time to write letters, it doesn't actually take much time. I can be like the widow in Luke 18, refusing to go away.
- I can get involved with the New Pro-Life Movement (which is a much better fit for me than the old pro-life movement anyway).
- I can speak up as a pro-life Democrat. We need a place at the table.
- I can vote the heck out of 2018 and 2020.
As a parishioner:
- I can keep trying with this new ministry to people on the margins, to let them know that they are welcomed and valued.
- I can encourage my fellow parishioners to read the Bible with me in 2017, because a deeper acquaintance with Jesus is an antidote to evil.
- I can speak up among my friends (again: kindly, persistently) as a pro-life Democrat, in response to the misperception that good Catholics vote GOP. I am here to tell you that you can be the kind of Catholic who reads the CCC cover to cover and who would never dream of using artificial birth control, and you can still think like a Democrat. The idea that Catholics must vote GOP regardless of the failings of the GOP candidate needs to die a speedy death.
As a professor:
- I can speak frequently and unequivocally to my classes about the inherent dignity of people with disabilities.
- I can encourage respect for and require awareness of the needs of patients from culturally/linguistically diverse backgrounds.
- I can teach with conviction about the miraculous nature of human development, in utero and beyond.
- I can continue my research into the experiences of families affected by disability, in hopes of creating a better support system for them.
- I can reach out to first-generation students, in hopes of building bridges between the people inside the ivory tower and the people who may regard academia with suspicion.
As a mom:
- I can be there today for my kids, who are stunned and sad.
- I can set the example of belief in the sovereign goodness of God.
- I can teach my sons to respect women's dignity and autonomy, and I can teach my daughter that she is strong and worthy of respect (and that if anyone ever attempts to grab her by the genitals, she should take no prisoners).
- I can be kind. People only learn kindness if we show them kindness.