Hippie in Disguise Kindness Mabo Nico Nico Kids on the Moon Wild flowers

Kindness is the Way

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.

Hippie in Disguise Kindness Mabo Nico Nico Kids on the Moon Wild flowers

 

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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2 thoughts on “Kindness is the Way

  1. Shareese Castillo says:

    This is such a relevant piece… as a woman of color and first gen immigrant married to an immigrant man of color, I am still feeling like my lack of money, options to flee this country have me trapped…I am not free to leave and it scares me to death every day. As a woman dealing with fertility issues, I question weather I want to go through IVF to bring a child of color into our world… engaging just seems for me, in light of the highly visible lack of value for lives of people of color, like I’d be making myself a martyr. It’s obvious that running away doesn’t help anything, but when you feel you and your voice is not only not valued but disposable, how do you turn towards that?

    • :: danielle :: says:

      Dear Shareese, First thank you so much for reading, but thank you most of all for sharing a piece of your experience. I should let you know that I am not American, nor do I live in the USA (never have). I live in Canada, so I can’t say that I know in a real way what the political climate is like there, nor what sorts of tensions exist. I can try to listen and try to understand, but I won’t pretend to *actually* know.

      I am absolutely so sorry to hear of your struggles, it is completely unacceptable that bringing a life into this world is fraught with such questions and concerns, life should be beautiful and bountiful and free for all. I am sorry this is something you must contend with. My hope for you is that if you decide to share your views, your experience, your voice, that others will listen, really listen. Every voice, even those we disagree with, has value — even if that value is simple to educate ourselves about the views held by our foe. (For clarity, I do not see you as a foe). Your voice, as someone who feels unwelcome, “disposable” as you say, is a voice that we all need to listen to. When I say engage in my post, I also mean to imply that a large group of people needs to start listening and do less talking. I hope that you will find a welcome space to share, as I think that will help bring us all collectively to a better place. We must listen to the voices of those who feel (and are) oppressed. Sending love to you and I am open ears. xo, Danielle

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