This has been a sad week in the US. So many deaths---families are burying people that they value, cared for, who taught them, guided them, inspired them. Then there are the deaths that make the news---the “if it bleeds, it leads” stories. And then there are the deaths that simply make us sit back, gasp, and wonder where we are going as human beings, citizens and Americans.
News came through, this week, of the death of Senator William “Bill” Armstrong, of cancer, at way too young an age. My deepest condolences to his family—having lost both my parents in the last 2 years, it is a scary, depressing and lonely time, even when you are surrounded by loved ones.
The pain that this country is going through: Sons and daughters that will never come home; fathers and mothers that will never hug their children or put them to bed, parents who leave us with more questions than answers. And the news continues in its hunt for the “if it bleeds, it leads” stories.
Why have I linked Senator Armstrong and the high profile deaths of this past week? Senator Armstrong touched thousands of lives during his life and he has left a legacy throughout the U.S. and Colorado. People in search of knowledge were touched by Colorado Christian University. People interested in justice were touched by his belief in the ability of man/woman to achieve heights that they did not know existed in themselves. In a word, he believed that everyone had the key to be their best self.
The people who are left to grapple with the carnage of last week, wrestle with the same issues. They, as well as many, many of us, believe in the humanity of those around us. All of us, need, nay, must work to bring the best of humanity out in times like this. There can be no color barrier, no line in the sand. We must come together---we all want the same for our families and communities. Bad must be punished, righteousness, kindness and grace rewarded. There is no lack of virtue on any side of this situation. And bad public servants should go, disciplined, reviled and punished with the same ferocity as the self-proclaimed vigilantes should be. Rebuilding begins when people speak to each other, rather that sling, and fling, slogans at each other.
Therefore, I think it is very much important that the passing of Senator Armstrong be met with the actions that he would have had. Elevate all, walk humbly, and realize that we are all flawed. Our redemption is in how we try to make ourselves, and our community better. In Judaism, that is called “Rebuilding the World”, and it starts by trying to rebuild the world in which you walk in. Senator Armstrong left the world a better place…and so should we all. Rest in Peace, Senator.