Love One Another
No matter what happens with the election outcome, one thing I know for sure is that we need to start loving each other a little bit more. As a social media influencer who has frequently asked difficult and thought provoking questions, I have never been more stunned by the lack of civility and empathy in the responses about our democracy. Of course, I expect us to disagree on almost most everything. I am fully prepared that my friends and neighbors will not share my point of view about immigration or gun reform. But what has surprised me over the last two years is how often people are willing to forget they share a community and a country, even if not the same party or ideals. What I have been surprised by, is how often we forget we actually do truly love that person we are disagreeing with, and soften our tone accordingly.
For most of this country’s history we have had a divisive electorate. Certain times have been worse than others, but there have always been multiple sides to every position and at every point in our contentious history. It seems that only with the advent of social media have we forgotten how much common ground we truly share. In the old days when you went to your place of worship or gathering spot in the town square and discussed the issues, you remembered that you would have to meet that same person tomorrow at the grocer or at your children’s school. It wasn’t worth it to be a complete a$$hat because being part of a community and being a good neighbor required you to stand together during the hard times. During droughts and floods and famines ‘we all did better when we all did better.’ (Paul Wellstone) With the obvious exception of the Civil War there has never been a time where families and neighbors cared less about their common bond than about politics.
We seem to have somehow forgotten that after November 6th very few of us will actually be running the country, but the rest of us will most certainly still be living in it. Most of us want good schools, safe roads, access to health care, and equal rights for everyone with a just, color blind and equitable judicial system. We want safe food and drinking water. We want an economy that is better for future generations and our children. There are so many problems, and few of us would dispute that as well as so many different ways to solve the deep dilemmas which face us. I just know that if John McCain were still here right now he would be saying “lets figure out how we can solve this in a bipartisan way,” rather than “screw the other side, I’m right and they are wrong.”
Tomorrow when you go to vote for what you deeply believe in, be kind to that person behind you in line who holds a different point of view. Be gracious to that person who had a different life experience informing their choices. Remember that not one of our great spiritual or civic leaders has ever said “hate the other side.” Remember that not once has a politician ever been judged kindly by history who did not embrace our country’s whole electorate but instead said “some of us are more worthy than others.”
If love and compassion are not informing your choices in this election, then please let them be part of the way you conduct your conversations and interactions with one another. I have one rule on my Fb page and that is to attack ideas and not people. Argue, vehemently if you chose, the position which you stand for. But, in the name of all that is HOLY and RIGHT and DECENT and GOOD remember that there is a person on the other side of your argument. Remember that as citizens and not politicians we are a sum of our words and actions and will be remembered for those words and deeds and not who we voted for or which political party we were in.
I once had a boyfriend who I shared not one political value with. I love him still and chose not to discuss politics and policy because my relationship with him is far more valuable than my potential to sway his vote. He is a good person, kind and decent and loving and I cannot imagine not having his friendship. Isn’t that really why we live in this country? Because we have the right to disagree? Was it worth making a stand on gun reform and losing the friendship? In my mind, no. Not ever. We will never agree, so we just agree to disagree and still continue to love one another. It is a simple equation for me.I have many people in my life who I have made that same calculation about. I would rather just love them than hate them.
I, for one, will reiterate my commitment to civil discourse as part of our democracy. I ask each of you to do the same in the coming two years of very hard fought political battles.
Get out and vote but most importantly BE KIND, BE LOVING, & BE GOOD