Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Kindness Isn't Enough

We are 1 week past election day. And in the week that followed that election, there have been countless stories of women and minorities experiencing blatant, in your face hate.

I didn't want to share the stories but if you haven't heard about any of them (which would be a surprise), it's worth sharing. Keep in mind I am only going to share 5 stories and all 5 are things that either happened to someone I know personally or happened to a friend of a friend. These are not stories making the viral rounds. These are firsthand accounts.

A young woman who does not have white skin was approached and told she'd better enjoy the time she has left in this country. She is a college student and this is her first time experiencing blatant hatred because of the color of her skin.

A black female attorney was leaving the courthouse and a white man wearing a Trump hat walked up to her and told her to go back to where she came from.

A non-white woman was out for a run and a white teenager ran up to her and struck her on her bottom.

A white friend went to a peaceful protest and had a positive, peaceful experience. As she was walking back to her car, a large military truck with Trump/Pence signs on it drove up to her and the driver screamed at her out his window.... "Nigger lover."

An Episcopal church in southern Indiana was vandalized with graffiti - swastikas, "Heil Trump," and "fag church." The Episcopal Church is known for their progressive Christianity.

I am seeing people looking desperately for hope. Hanging on the possible "good" that they think the president-elect is doing when he looks in a camera and tell people committing acts of hate in his name to "stop it." Believing him when he makes a statement that the gay marriage law is already in effect so he won't overturn it afterall.

But then he names a known supremacist to a cabinet position.

But he doesn't change his rhetoric to truly address the hateful actions being done thanks to him or in his name.

But he doesn't state that Roe v Wade is also "already an existing law." Instead, he states he will get that one overturned.

I see people wanting desperately for things to go back to how they were before Nov 9 - when we woke up to this new, twisted world.

I see people wanting to practice "random acts of kindness" in response to the hate happening around them. Wanting to spread good news and warm fuzzies and stories of hope and humanity.

I have previously been one of those people. It's a tactic I've practiced often. Let's focus on good things, let's do good things. Not because I want to discount anyone's pain but because, honestly, I want to alleviate my own and also spread some love in the world.

It isn't enough anymore.

A string of people paying for each other's Starbucks isn't going to fix this.

All of the holiday generosity isn't going to fix this. Not even folks who go in and pay people's layaway bills or even past due utility bills.

Videos of cats afraid of cucumbers isn't going to fix this.

I don't have the answers. I'm going to keep saying that.

And I still think kindness is important. And we should be doing nice and generous and thoughtful things for each other.

But we can't expect those gestures to comfort people who are reeling, hurting. Yes, people need to see there is good in the world.

But please do more. Please. I know that I feel incredibly powerless. Maybe that's why a "random act of kindness" doesn't feel like enough. Because what we need are people in positions of power to create the needed gridlock to stop Trump from having power. Republicans who have been voted into office need to be willing to refuse his Supreme Court nominees, to stop legislation that will cause harm. And people who vote Republican need to make their voices heard to their chosen representatives - tell them you voted for them and tell them what you expect.

Please keep being kind. Maybe try focusing your kindness efforts on people who are most at risk right now.

Just don't get upset when people tell you it won't change the world right now.

I don't think any of us know exactly what to do right now. We want life to go back to normal. We want to be able to just focus on raising our kids and loving our friends and families and working our jobs and driving our cars and going on our vacations and celebrating our holidays.

But the world isn't normal right now. Normal has to be fought for and it is still going to look different when we come out of this.

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