PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Mister Roger’s Neighborhood Would Be Such A Welcome Place Right Now

“Well @JoeBiden @ABCPolitics town hall feels like I am watching an episode of “Mister Rodgers Neighborhood” Tweet by Mercedes Schlapp, Senior adviser to the Trump/Pence Campaign.

I like Fred Rogers. His show debuted when I was in kindergarten, and I grew up adoring his slow-paced, intentional focus on accepting who we are, being kind to others and showing empathy.

As a pastor, I am SO proud that he is a brother in the cloth — a Presbyterian minister who lived out his calling by caring for children, and in so doing, sending a message to adults. He exuded all of the qualities of goodness and decency to which I aspire, as well as gentleness of spirit.

His neighborhood was not one-dimensional. He dealt with tough topics, like death and divorce. He shared a baby pool with a black man who portrayed a police officer, as they both cooled their feet on a hot day. If you don’t think that was sending a message in 1969, think again.

He was kind, but he was not a pushover. He probably as much as any public figure of my era, embodies what Micah was talking about when her wrote “What does the Lord require? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

The fact that a senior Trump campaign advisor considers it an insult to Joe Biden to compare him to Mister Rogers says everything about why I am so ready for this reality show we are living through to be canceled.

Beyond the graft and corruption, the breaking of all norms, the lack of common decency, honesty or basic human dignity, I am exhausted by the volume of the noise that comes from this administration as well as its omnipresence. The constant chaos is crushing.

Do you remember back to a time when you didn’t think or hear about the president every day and wake up in fear, wondering what he had said or done now? Do you recall a time where the barrage of news was not overwhelming and exhausting? When there were days at a time when you weren’t horrified by something that was said or done that was embarrassing for our nation, or cruel, or combative?

I am just so tired at the frenetic, break-neck pace of what is unfolding. I feel obliged, as a good citizen who wants to be aware, because democracy does die in darkness, to keep up to date. But that is slowly but surely breaking my back and my spirit. IT IS JUST SO MUCH.

Yet, I know, in the words of Professor Mad Eye Moody from the Harry Potter series, that we need “Constant vigilance” because autocracies succeed by overwhelming people.

When we take a break, things slip through that are unjust or unfair. If we just wear down and quit caring, we won’t stand up, speak up, and show up when it matters.

So I keep up and I am worn down.

I don’t want to live in a constant barrage of antagonism, anger, divisiveness, and disparagement. I don’t want to my country to be a reality show. I want some peace and quiet. I want kindness and unity. I want decency. I want integrity.

I want to live in Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. And I feel sorry for anyone who thinks that’s a bad thing.

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