This is an appeal to white supremacists. The Western culture you and I seek to defend holds these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Western beliefs are rooted in natural law, the idea that humans are unique among other creatures because of our distinct ability to reason. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 13th century that men and women, while different physically, are equal in their humanity, created for the same purpose and with the same gift of reason.

Given the gift of human life, it falls upon us to figure out how to use it well. Threatening others or killing them, by design or in lonely panic, are not good uses of the gift. To make one’s way in the world requires practice and maturity, and it is true that some people have advantages compared to others: finer talents, possessions, and human connections they use well or badly to either foster human flourishing or rob others of the right to flourish.

So this is also an appeal to all of us who have far more than we need. No human should be compelled to labor in vain, wander in ignorance, or bear children for calamity. Welcome the strangers who need what all humans need to thrive: good company, food, shelter, and the means to learn the difference between truth and falsehood.

We honor our heritage by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with our creator. We find our way forward imperfectly, not with slogans and conspiracy theories, but with reason and compassion to dispel loneliness, anger, ignorance, and fear.

Ellen Ryan

Augusta

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