Strive to be kind.
Newtons Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
We have to choose whether our actions will be based in Fear or in Compassion. Whichever we choose, that is exactly what we can expect in return.
Let them be the insult. Don’t make them the insulted.
By all means, kvetch with your friends. Air out your frustrations. But know that, however public or private your platform, when you use unkind words to speak of the opposition, only your allies can hear you.
Every time we sling insults, obscenities, and actual punches, we not only give them permission to do the same to us, but also the opportunity to be the victim. We can’t out brut this bully. What we can do is understand them.
I have had several very successful conversations with people who voted differently than I did. I avoided doing so before the election and now see that was a mistake. It turns out, many of them just don’t understand where we are coming from. How could they? Just as we are in our bubble, so are they in theirs. In the crowd of five thousand peaceful protestors, they are only being shown the violent two. You know how scary they seem to us? That’s how threatening we seem to them. There are good, well meaning people who only voted the best that they knew how based on the information they had ready access to. If the first thing they hear from us is F*** You, how can they be expected to hear anything else. To say you and everyone you know are idiots in one breath and Build Bridges Not Walls in the next is completely antithetical. It is remarkable how much more people are inclined to hear you when you first agree to listen.
Some of the best advice I’ve received was from a long time friend and former mentor who suggested we all read up on being in a relationship with a narcissist. And that is not name calling. That is a text book term which describes the person I speak of so well, that I don’t have to say their name. We have to learn to navigate a relationship with this administration. Screaming is only an effective way of alerting and communicating with those who are already on your side.
Make no mistake, we are going to have to fight. Hard. For a long time. But to perpetuate toxicity with our words will only contribute to our infection. And I do mean Ours as in all of us. All who are standing on opposite sides of the same giant, seeping wound. This is ours. Collectively. And we have got a lot of healing to do.