I take up “the pen” today because it’s the only way I know to wrestle with disquieting feelings I’ve had recently.
Through one of the non-profit facebook sites I run, I received a message where the writer asked whether the organization I posted for is truly community-oriented, or “a liberal propaganda house.” He pointed out that there are conservatives and libertarians in the community.
We had a relatively positive message exchange, where I indicated the organization welcomes everyone, and that, as a public access television station, we broadcast everything submitted, except media that advocates violence.
The individual pointed out that recent posts were “Left of Center.”
I thanked him for pointing this out, and stated that our purpose was not to alienate anyone.
Now I will say that the leanings of most of the people who work at this organization ARE, in fact, “left of center.” As one of the more diverse organizations in the city of Rochester, attracting people of all ages, socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, political leanings and religions, that is the mindset of those who tend to apply for jobs and work there. It also tends to be the mindset of many of the independent producers whose work is shown on the channel. So, the individual writing is probably accurate in his assessment that the posts I have made have a tendency to be somewhat liberal. Following his comment, I actually thought about the fact that we should, perhaps, reevaluate our social media strategy to make it “more balanced.”
Then, in thinking about this exchange, I was curious what had prompted his note. I clicked on the story I’d posted. That is when I became unsettled.
It was a story and photo, originally posted by Malia Obama, about Anja Ringgren Loven, a Danish woman doing social working in Nigeria. The first photo showed her feeding an abandoned and severely malnourished two-year-old Nigerian child. In the second photo, it shows the same young woman holding the child at some later point in time. She has now adopted the child, who she named Hope. He is the picture of health and clearly shines with the love he feels.
When I originally shared this post, I considered it a purely inspirational story…the story of one human coming to the aid of another.
As someone who has adopted children internationally, I know that there are some who would say this child has been robbed of his heritage. To those critics, I would say, “Better robbed of his heritage than robbed of his life,” which is likely what would have happened. Every child should have the chance for love, no matter what.
But to discover that this post could, in any way, be construed as a political message totally flabbergasted me.
I am distressed and disgusted that this election cycle has catalyzed a toxic environment that has become so divisive and so polarizing that politics trump humanity and a story such as this can be construed as anything other than inspirational.
What have we, as a nation, come to when we cannot simply rejoice in the rescue of A Child Named Hope?
Disclaimer: This is the opinion of Carol White Llewellyn and should not be construed as representing the opinions of anyone within any of the organizations with which she works.