Sometimes we publish stories I just don’t understand.
Take the front page of Wednesday’s paper.
Under the headline, “Hearts are united with hope,” we ran a lengthy story with four photos (and two additional photos on the Ohio.com version).
Staff writer Theresa Cottom reported that nearly 200 people had come together at an Akron church “to pray for unity between people of all walks of life despite race, political affiliation or religion.”
Yet in the second paragraph of the same story, one of the leaders of the gathering, Bishop Joey Johnson, was quoted as saying:
“I think that the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C., is racist, misogynist — it’s a whole lot things. And I’m not talking about Trump alone. I’m talking about the people who voted for him.”
Talk about stereotypes.
Talk about nasty rhetoric.
Lord knows, I am not a huge fan of the president-elect. He scares me, in part because he seems to be a vindictive hothead. And he has single-handedly lowered the level of public discourse to new depths of incivility, which I didn’t think was possible.
But nearly 63 million Americans voted for the man. And when you stand up in a meeting that supposedly is about unity and you imply that all 62,979,879 of his voters are racist and misogynistic, you’re part of the problem, not the solution.
The bishop also compared the challenges of the impending Trump Era to dealing with slavery, Reconstruction and “the civil rights days.”
Seriously? Trump hasn’t served one day in office. You may not like many of the people he is surrounding himself with, but can’t we see what he actually does before we put his presidency on par with the biggest civil rights crises of the past 150 years?
Fortunately, the rest of our story seemed to show that the participants — singing, praying, holding the hands of people with different hand colors — were heartfelt and enthusiastic in their desire to build bridges, to try to close part of the horrid gulf that has cleaved this land like the movement of a tectonic plate.
So I’m going to do some praying myself. On the eve of the day we honor legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., I am going to pray that Johnson’s comments were an exaggeration brought on by high emotions, or that he simply misspoke. And I will pray that, upon further reflection, he will remember that lumping together any large group of people simply isn’t right.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com. To find his podcast, “Dyer Necessities,” go to www.ohio.com/dyer. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.