It’s a scary video to watch. My friend, Scott, caught quite the scene on his camera at the CAV’s hometown victory celebration in downtown Cleveland yesterday. In the video, you’ll see a young girl who had climbed-up to a very high second story ledge with her boyfriend to get a good view of LeBron James and the CAV’s parade below but, then, didn’t know how to get herself down.
What impressed me about the situation is how many people were hoping and praying that the girl didn’t fall and seriously injure herself. In fact, after a group of people caught her, the crowd roared with delight that she was safe.
It seems to me that there a lot of people in America today who are on the edge, too. They’ve lost jobs and opportunities. They’re struggling to keep-up in an unstable and uncertain economy. And more and more, America’s losing its once proud and successful social safety net. People are falling and there are fewer resources to help catch them.
But what Scott’s video reminds me of is that if we’d just stop listening for a minute to the media and the politics of fear, which tend to blame or demonize those who struggle, you’ll find that people are essentially good-willed and don’t want to let each other fall. In fact, turn off the television or computer and tune-out the political rhetoric and social-media vitriol and you’ll find that even in a crowd of 1.3 million people, the estimated attendance in downtown Cleveland yesterday, most people want and will do some very generous things if you let them. It’s in our godly DNA. As Russell Simmons, Def Jam records co-founder and humanitarian once said, “compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.” Give people and chance to express that highest-self, the divine self, and they will.
I pray that in the thick of this election season, no matter who wants to build walls, cut taxes, make deals, close schools, decrease care, blame the poor for being poor, or leave any friend or stranger out on a ledge, that we might remember the image of a crowd of good people in downtown Cleveland who would not let a young girl perish.