I saw this in a shop while we were in Florida.
It’s one of those magnetic signs that can be put on a car and it’s now on my car.
It has sort of a sixties vibe, doesn’t it? Well, I came of age in the sixties and I’m proud of it.
It matters a great deal. Kindness comes from the core of a loving heart. Love for our fellow man, love for animals, love for our planet – love for everyone, no matter their color, race, or creed, no matter their economic status, no matter their sexual orientation, no matter what.
It doesn’t spring from fear, which seems to be ruling our world right now. It is certainly where the inflamed rhetoric that has been spewed out on a regular basis during this Presidential campaign comes from. It’s ugly, vile, hateful, and beneath contempt. The fear-mongering, the disrespect shown to women, the disrespect shown to fellow candidates, the disrespect shown to our sitting President, the disrespect shown to those who have suffered, are suffering, to those with disabilities – is this what we want to be made of? Is this how we want to conduct our lives?
I’ve known a few people in my life who have resorted to verbal attacks that were blistering, hurtful and cruel – not just once, but many times. This is what happens when a bully is cornered. They come out swinging, saying anything and everything in order to ‘win.’ And there is never an apology because that would mean taking responsibility for their actions. Winning is all, even if it means losing a friend or making an enemy in the process.
I do not continue those toxic relationships, though I have compassion for their obvious pain and a wish for peace to envelop their hearts.
We’re seeing much the same thing in this election process. Bullying. Hateful rhetoric. When cornered, attack. When challenged, attack even more. Never admit you’re wrong. Be a winner, not a loser. Make fun of those who have less. Make fun of the way people look. Make fun of those who might disagree with you.
Not to mention the strong-arm tactics that look like something I thought I would never see in this day and age, that bring to mind newsreel footage of fascists who would rough up those who protest, throw people out of a rally based on the color of their skin, deny any sort of healthy discussion.
They’re afraid. They react from a place of fear, which quickly turns to hate.
Why do we tolerate this in anyone, let alone someone who is running for the Presidency?
I see no kindness there. I see someone who talks about excluding, about winners and losers, about torture, about punishing women, about bombing the innocent in order to win. I see someone whose ego needs to be constantly fed, who needs to have his name in the news – it’s like mother’s milk to him – who, at heart, is a child who never grew up, who knows nothing except how to bully, how to attack. His ego will never be fed enough. It will always crave more.
“He started it.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake, are you 6 years old?
Look, I have strong political beliefs and if you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you probably have a pretty good idea of where I stand. I have issues with other candidates as well, big issues, but those I will keep private as this is not a political blog.
This however, is different. This is shameful behavior. This is behavior I wouldn’t tolerate in a child, let alone an adult. This is embarrassing to those of us (and I have to believe it is most of us, please, let it be most of us) who believe differently and are horrified that this is getting media attention all over the world.
I have a theory. We now have a whole group of people who watch reality television and think it’s real. It isn’t, of course. It’s staged. (If you think it’s real, you need a reality check.) There is a segment of that programming that plays to the worst part in all of us. People say vile things, they physically attack each other, they say and do all that we were taught not to do. And people watch, just like spectators cheered as they watched the horrors in the Roman Colosseum, or watched gleefully as people were executed at the guillotine.
They think it’s real and, even more disturbing, they think it’s acceptable.
Public discourse has sunk to a low that I haven’t seen in my lifetime.
And in walks a carnival barker who, like any shill worth his salt, knows how to play to those people. He plays on fear, on xenophobia, on racism, on the very disrespect we see on the shows of Jerry Springer or Maury Povich, or in political discussions on cable news, or on ‘reality’ television.
He’s speaking to the worst part of us. And, like those who are sure they will be the ones to win the carnival barker’s game even though it’s rigged against them, people are buying this crap, even excusing it.
There is no excuse.
Hate breeds hate. Love breeds love. Kindness breeds kindness.
Like most of you, I was raised to say please and thank you, to respect my elders, to admit when I was wrong, to take responsibility for my actions, to treat everyone as my equal, to be kind to animals, to love my fellow man.
I have a real problem with the theory of American Exceptionalism – at least as it’s used today. It bothers me. I’m not a flag waver, which doesn’t mean I am not patriotic, it just means that I think we need to show who we are by our actions. Waving a flag is easy. Doing what is right is harder.
But if you believe in that concept of Exceptionalism, which is based on the idea of a free nation with democratic ideals and personal liberty, then surely this sort of exclusionary, hateful rhetoric is directly opposed to that concept. It’s everything our forefathers fought against.
Kindness cannot exist in exclusion. Kindness cannot exist in hate. Kindness cannot exist in bullying. Kindness cannot exist in bigotry or xenophobia. Kindness cannot exist in cruelty. Kindness cannot exist in anything other than love.
Kindness Matters. It matters now more than ever.