It’s easy these days to only see how awful people are to each other. Murders, burning, looting. It seems as if the flames of hatred and divide grows incrementally day by day; as if the world is falling into pieces. Or maybe it’s just America that seems to be burning as the world watches in awe. And as America burns away, many are starting to believe that there exists a pervasive cynicism in most of us that stops us from seeing the best parts of one another. I’d like to believe that there is more love and kindness in our humanity than we might think or see. And we need to tap into this love and kindness, the very core of what makes humans human, to drive the change we seek.
I am by no means holier-than-thou or free from emotion. Nor am I excusing the murder of George Floyd. Not even close. I was enraged by the news. I felt my blood boil and my fury rise at the hatred, the murder, and the pure evil of then-Officer Derek Chauvin. And I was completely appalled at the other officers who had the audacity to just stand by and watch. “Are these really the types of people that we rely on to protect our country? To protect us? These savage individuals who abuse their power? There has to be justice for his death!”
I still do believe there has to be justice for his death. That there has to be protests for the inhumanity of his last breath. But as the demonstrations and protests have quickly turned into riots and violence, I have to wonder whether more violence will drive the change we’re seeking. How will dividing our country through anger and hatred solve or change anything?
The reality is that the current actions are just fueling the fire. Very little will change through shouting, attacking or demeaning. We all know this to be true from the fights we get into with our partners or friends or family members. When has yelling ever resulted in positive change? So what makes us think that the current issues of racial injustice, an issue of such massive scale, will change from us shouting louder? The other side will just do the same to drown out our voices. Or they’ll just cover their ears.
There is a better way to drive change. And it starts with heart.
Imagine what might be possible if everyone would listen with open hearts and genuine curiosity to learn. It’s easy to be angry and to hate. It’s harder to be calm and to love. It’s easy to yell and condemn to be heard. It’s harder to listen to learn. But love, kindness and listening is the only way we will be able to move forward together. The key is “together”. Because as long as we are divided, there is no moving forward. Positive change will not happen unless we work together.
We need to come together as a country, as humanity. Not widen the divide. And the first step is for you and I, as individuals, to practice complete love and compassion for those around us. Will it be easy? Certainly not. Emotions are rampant. But it’s the hard things that drive change. Not the easy thing. And perhaps if you and I can do the hard thing, then it’ll ripple out to others. After all, kindness is contagious.
In the meantime, I just hope and pray that no one else will be innocently killed.