Are you Okay?

Posted on November 2, 2018

Are you Okay?

I’m in the middle of an 11 week, 21 training, 15 city stretch. While I’m not sure what city I wake up in most days, a mix of exhaustion, motivation, and excitement keeps me going and looking forward to the next stop. During these times I try to focus only on the most important things and rest whenever I find the time.

It was in this haze that last week happened. As I’m training in New Orleans, our country experienced the most extensive assassination attempt in its history as a man in Florida tried to bomb many of our top political leaders. Also, a man in Kentucky failed to get entry into a black church which hosted a large crowd that day and later killed two at a grocery store. Then I get home to news of an anti-Semitic killing at a synagogue in Pennsylvania which took the lives of 11 worshipers.

I’m overwhelmed, disgusted, depressed, and worried about the trauma happening in our country right now. THIS CRAZINESS IS NOT NORMAL. It is not normal to fear that one of your leaders, their families, or our postal workers will blow up. It is not normal to fear for your life because you go grocery shopping. It is not normal to worry that a man wielding an assault rifle will kill your fellow worshipers.

How long can a civilized culture exist when people can’t open their mail, grocery shop, or worship in church without fearing for their lives? I’m a positive and optimistic guy, but I’m so terrified that last week is some crazy escalation of our political environment. Maybe the next couple of elections will provide an “opposite and equal” reaction of civility and maturity. I want to believe this with all my heart and fight off this lurking sense that we let a dark side of our collective nature take hold and it might not go back into its box so quickly.

Take care of yourselves, my friends. At the very least I can ensure you that there are so many amazing people around the country doing incredible work for those in need. Let’s all continue to hold a light up to darkness.

6 responses to “Are you Okay?”

  1. Nancy says:

    Thank you, Matt for so eloquently expressing the anxiety and fears that I am having too.

  2. Marie Cohen says:

    Thank you for posting about all of the traumatic events happening recently. The fear is real! I wonder everyday now as I pull up to work (in a federal building)…Is something going to happen? My name is on my cubicle (Cohen, big in Jewish community). The hate is not only a stressor, having family that attend synagogue is…Working full-time, Attending an accelerated Masters program. Married, with children. I feel like my head is going to explode. These stressors are compounded by worry. Am I now a target. What about my kids, my husband, am I safe going to night school? Finish 3 papers study for an exam, etc We tend to forget how important self care is!!
    Thanks for your blog.

    • Matthew Bennett says:

      Hang in there Marie, sometimes its okay just to hit survival mode and push through. At least we go to work every day and have the chance to make a positive impact on our community!

  3. Melissa Data says:


    I had exactly the same response. I am one of the most socially conscious and politically active within my circle of friends, but the events of last week prompted me to share on FB that I’m going to refrain from sharing any posts of a political nature. I urged people to vote in the midterms!

    Post-911, when I was working with immigrant and refugee youth (many Somali Muslims), I witnessed a surge in hate crimes that had not been seen in my generation. I was doing civil rights and social justice work at the time, and helped to convene a Hate Crimes Conference. Sadly, the work that we did to promote acceptance and understanding is needed now more than ever.

    I hope and pray for peace during these turbulent times.

    • Matthew Bennett says:

      It does seem like an “all hands on deck” moment to meet hatred and fear with love and kindness. We are making up an enemy invasion while our citizens kill each other. Your state and community are fortunate to have such a powerful advocate!

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