Originally posted to my Instagram account on November 9, 2016, the day Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States of America.
My first thought this morning, after learning the outcome of the American election, was that I didn’t want to diminish the relevance of this event by posting my thoughts to social media. I felt as though, to some extent our cultural distraction with social media is one of the problems that contributed in no small way to the character of our global political challenges. Depending on the day, Facebook is the most popular website in the world. Instagram has over 300 million daily users. These are by far the most relevant places to communicate – and therefore are the place, the stage, to say important things to [potentially] lots of people. To speak up on social media is not to debase the conversation, it is to cast one’s net of influence as wide as possible. And so…
I am troubled by reactions to a Republican win that encourage divisiveness, in social media speak “unfriending” – this is tantamount to building a wall, a wall that many people were, rightfully, deeply offended by the concept of. If divisiveness brought about this situation, divisiveness will not solve it. We all need to work harder to understand each other, to listen to our foes, to listen to people who think differently from us and to find a way to live together.
Reflections from great thinkers who have lived the experience of hate, violence and oppression push me to think that engagement rather than withdrawal is the path:
- “Darkness cannot drive our darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King jr.
- “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then s/he becomes your partner.” Nelson Mandela
- “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friend. You talk to your enemies.” –Desmond Tutu
- “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” –Dalai Lama
Please let this event be the pressure we need to pursue kindness whenever possible, to make kindness the way.
With much love to each and every one of you, Danielle
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