Be the Good

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. — Martin Luther King

Normally on a worrisome Election Day I consider that I have much more control over every aspect my life than any politician. That whatever the outcome, my actions matter more to my life than their actions.

That may be true today, but it doesn’t seem quite so certain.

I’m a white man working a high paying white collar job. Aside from liberal political leanings, President Trump won’t hate me. But his words and actions have proven that he hates anyone who isn’t like me.

He would casually objectify my wife, a woman. He would deport my neighbor, a believer of Islam. He would divide my daughter’s school friend from her family, a young girl whose father works, pays taxes, and is working towards citizenship.

He would actively hold back my brother-in-law, a young man whose girlfriend just last week was told to choose him or her family by her father, because his skin isn’t the same color as hers.

These are people I know. There are tens of millions more just like them in America, and billions around the world.

His conscious, deliberate, tactical racism, misogyny, and hatred have engendered more of the same, emboldening those who formerly schemed behind closed doors to operate in the open. An effect I am not sure will be reversed during my lifetime.

The fact that a man so callous, so angry, so utterly full of hate has taken the hearts of any measurable number of Americans is a tragedy.

The United States of America has stood for centuries as a beacon of hope and opportunity to its citizens and to people all around the world. Honoring this man with our highest office threatens to extinguish that beacon altogether. People at home and abroad are hurting, afraid, seeking out the light of hope and opportunity.

Let us get to work restoring the light. Let us lift each other up, and then let us lift up others in our homes and in our communities. Let us conquer fear with hope and hate with compassion. Let us make America great again, for everyone.

So how can we lift each other up and help others?

  • Reduce negativity in our lives. Turn off the news. Unplug from social media.
  • Get some exercise. Take a walk.
  • Seek to understand by speaking less and listening more.
  • Go out of your way to talk to people who aren’t like you.
  • Actively seek out and befriend those who have been marginalized or targeted.
  • Ask “what can I do to help?” and then do it. If the answer is “nothing”, find another way.
  • Build opportunities for others to serve and work and be important.

There is so much to do. But let’s start small.

Take five minutes right now. Write down your answers to a couple of questions.

  • Who do you know who might be hurting or afraid today?
  • Spend a moment in their shoes. Why do they feel this way?
  • What can you do today to help them feel better?
  • What can you do next week? And the week after? And over the months ahead?

Block out time in your schedule. Start today.

Government will not make our homes and our communities a better place. We must make our homes and communities a better place. Don’t sit idly by watching the world react. Be the good the people around you need.