The state of our planet today and the political climate have left me feeling dejected and hopeless lately. I’ve struggled to put words to my feelings or to understand why I’ve felt so low. But I do believe in the power of hope and the power that 7 billion people have to do good and safeguard our future. So here is my best attempt to summarize my feelings about the United States today…
Remember how it felt in our country after September 11? Or perhaps more recently Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy? It felt like we were wounded. So compassion came more easily then. We were willing to help our neighbor, to be kind and a little more patient. In the aftermath of Sandy, Governor Chris Christie didn’t give a damn about political party just days before an election. His priority was New Jerseyans. Following Katrina, the Cajun Navy didn’t care what people looked like or what they believed. They saved thousands of lives.
What happened to us, America? Can we rekindle that compassion without tragedy striking? What about respect? The golden rule of “Treat others as you wish to be treated” transcends religious, political, ethnic, and gender lines. Gandhi once said, “We are all following different roads to lead us to the same destination.” Though he was referring to religion, America, we all want what’s best for this country. Our ideas of What’s Best are different and our ideas of how to get there are different. But that’s what has made us so great. We didn’t get here by not being great. There has and always will be divisiveness, but we owe it to our future, our children to cast aside hostility and hatred. Working together, hearing the opinions of others, that’s how great triumphs are won.
The intolerance and hostility seething in our country right now begins with you and me and is exacerbated by politicians and media that prey upon it. It is imperative to the success, not only of our country, but of our planet, that we stop yelling, stop obsessing over proving each other wrong. Is it from behind the anonymity of these screens and keyboards that we feel so emboldened to be accusatory? I choose to use this platform to preach kindness.
Next week, I encourage you to vote with your moral conscience in mind, not only political party. Those candidates that speak hatred and incite unnecessary fear, who put party over people, are not your candidate. The ones that treat their supporters and adversaries with respect and open-mindedness are your candidate. We’re not going to mitigate climate change, provide adequate healthcare, offer asylum, safeguard our borders, feed and shelter our families with anger. We will do those things by supporting one another.
In these days of digital news, we can’t escape the barrage of negativity. How many of you are absolutely exhausted with all of the negative reports cluttering your screen? Now it’s more important than ever to be reminded that we’re in this together. There are more of us than ever on this planet and there is more access to one another than ever; we can’t let that be our downfall.
So when you vote next week, when you return home for the holidays, when you go to work, when you meet a new person, withhold judgment and extend compassion. If you do, we might just make America even greater.