I found myself in tears this morning, listening to stories of hate crimes being committed against children, just hours after the election results came in. Here are two:
There’s my author friend whose daughter was told today by a boy in her high school that “Trump will get rid of all the non-Christian losers.” When she stood up for herself and pointed out her Star of David necklace, he said “Good. They’ll know where to find you.”
Another friend’s child was told “Isn’t your place in the back of the bus?” by three female fellow students. They are white. She is black.
And half the country celebrates.
What in the world can I do?
- Metta. So much metta. Practice lovingkindness and compassion for myself, for those I love, for those I struggle to understand, and for a world that is hurting.
- Change my giving – part 1. No more funding the bloated endowments of higher ed that concentrate education on fewer and fewer instead of making quality education accessible to more and more. Education => freedom, but only if it’s available to all.
- Change my giving – part 2. No more giving to causes tied to religion. 85% of evangelicals voted for Trump. They may talk love and acceptance on Sundays, but they’ve shown their true hearts in the ballot boxes. Message received.
- Change my giving – part 3. Put more support into helping the most marginalized, the ones most left out and even endangered. Civil rights causes, Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ support (especially for teens), refugee relief. Adjust as I see how the next months and years pan out.
- Volunteer to help those in need in my community. I don’t know how to affect change in an entire country. I do know I can make a small difference in one life. And then one after that. And then the next one.
- Speak, even if it costs me friends (or perhaps I should say “friends”). Why should I be afraid to talk about and model loving behavior? If challenging hate costs me something, isn’t that a price worth paying?
- But speak with right intention. Listening as carefully as I speak. Not simply repeating inflammatory sound bites. Remembering that there is a person on the other end of the discussion, worthy of compassion, as all beings are.
- Don’t let hyperbole and hand-wringing cloud my judgment. Things could be worse. Indeed, things might get worse. But things can also get better. Even today.
This is hard. But I can do hard things.
You can too.
Photo taken by me with an iPhone.