I was reading an article this week about forgiveness and there were some pearls of wisdom that was helpful to be reminded of in the aftermath of the election. As the cabinet assignments are being made, the anger and discontent continues across our country the likes of which we have not seen…ever. Don’t get me wrong, I am still frightened about what the future may bring and continue to believe that in the face of abuse or abhorrent behavior none of us should turn our cheeks in a passive response (or bend over at least not in this circumstance), because I still have no doubt that what we permit, we promote. Yet, there was something to the words I read that hit home.
I was reminded about what was written on the Martin Luther King memorial, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Our emotions and reactions to the election are real, but hate and anger are not, nor will they ever be the answer.
I haven’t asked my sister or her husband who she voted for, because I was afraid of the answer. I, like many others, considered a vote for Trump as a personal affront to me and my choice of a spouse. It was so easy to go down the hate path, to feed that dark wolf like in the old Cherokee story of two wolves. Here’s the link: Two Wolves…it’s a very wise story. My sister and her husband are both very deeply religious people and I suspect their votes reflected not their hate for my choice of partner, but their other very passionate views on other issues. I know my sister loves me and I love her, so why would I begin to hate her or de-friend her for her views that may be different than my own.
Fear generates hate and we are no better than some of those hate mongers who do support Trump for nefarious reasons when we lump every person who voted for Trump in that same category. Instead, we need to ensure that those who did vote for Trump hold him accountable to their own personal values of love and acceptance…because make no mistake I have to believe that not every person who voted for Trump is a white supremacist just waiting to trample over the rights of others not like them.
I have to challenge my stories and not villainize any person who does not think exactly the same as I do. Only when I seek to understand, rather than to be understood can I have the conversation that needs to happen. To let my sister know I still love her even if I believe that there are very real possibilities that Trump will take the country in a direction that none of us want to see after fighting so hard for decency, civility, and basic human rights.
Education and love is the way we’ve won the war, never hate and proselytizing. Let’s leave that to the other side. When I let people get to see how normal my wife and I are, we become the norm and not a deviant to avoid. It is that gentle, subtle education that has always worked, oh and a little boycotting here and there has also been an effective tool. However, I don’t consider boycotting hate, but rather an effective tool using a language that is the only one understood by those in power. I like to remember the teachings of Margaret Mead and her famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
I also believe in the power of one. Here is another link to a very fascinating social science experiment: The Power of One. This teaches us that we all have the power to right a wrong and role model human decency in the face of mob mentality and peer pressure that may cause otherwise good people to make the morally incorrect decisions.
Perhaps my books don’t quite have the impact of the power of one, nor do they create the kind of change Margaret Mead is talking about, but I hope that some small amount of social consciousness sneaks in here and there. If you want to search for those subtle passages, feel free to check out my books. You know the drill….click the links below!