compassion, respect, dignity

In these times of fear, worry, and stress, it is really more important than ever that we demonstrate compassion, respect, and dignity. It helps us all if we can do that.

So it makes me sad when I read or hear vehement rhetoric concerning various issues that only serves to alienate and to shut down meaningful dialogue.  Yesterday, once again, I ran into a diatribe in which folks holding minority opinions on vaccines were written off as “anti-vaxxers” and in a very negative way. In the typical step further, too, they were dismissed as stupid.

It’s a pretty basic phenomenon that intolerance does not win hearts and minds. Nor are censorship, thought policing, and shunning markers of a healthy society.

The people being written off this way are just like anyone else finding their way through these difficult times. They have families and friends they deeply care about. 

There are a multitude of reasons why they may hold the position they do.  It’s not outlandish to consider them just because media, government, corporations, and the people around you espouse and promote a single point of view. The skeptics are just as much entitled to their opinions as anyone else, and sometimes well-buttressed with research too.

I can’t help but wonder if the folks doing the dismissing aren’t subconsciously and fearfully questioning the security of their own position. Such a person “doth protest too much, methinks,” borrowing from Shakespeare. Or, perhaps, there is simply a very strong need to put their virtue or their presumed intelligence on display. Or maybe it’s just groupthink.

And if you want to complain that the vaccine hesitant folks (or those with other similarly marginalized opinions) are the ones who are trolls, perhaps give some consideration to the notion that some of them are noisy because they are never given a real hearing. Vaccine skeptics have been vilified for decades with support from corporate media and government.

The skeptic’s position is perfectly legitimate in the context of “science.” Science necessarily involves skepticism, questions, doubts. It drives ever-closer looks at things. Science is not good science without it. The person who insists “the science is settled” especially in the midst of a huge, long-term experiment apparently does not understand science.

Regardless, whatever side of the fence a person is on relative to any issue, let us move past all the righteousness and approach each other with fundamental respect and compassion. We all have to get through this thing, through life indeed, together. We will be a healthier and stronger society if we can do that on this issue and others.

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vote up a storm

veru11_6_18Go ahead, America, vote up a storm today. Let’s see how the dust settles.

Will most voters support politics of fear and authoritarianism? Will they rubber stamp politics of exclusion, lies, militarization?

Or will they vote to move toward politics of human respect and freedom? Will they show a congregate push towards love, justice, peace?

What is the real fabric of which we are made today?

Today’s voting is not a fix to our national problems and we may not have perfect choices, but it is nevertheless an important step in righting the ship. 

All hands on deck.

Vote! 🙂

And for those who, with consideration, don’t, I understand and respect the choice not to vote. Remember that choice, too, is a political act that will play into today’s outcome.

step into the light

veru10_28_18

Who is not weary with the state of our world these days?

Another week passes in which violent acts and the rhetoric of violence, hate, and fear ratchet up yet further. My heart breaks for the victims and their friends and families.

This senselessness is not visited on our society by accident.

We cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by this steady diet of fear and foment. We cannot shrink in fear, take cover, or button up in self-censorship before the emboldened bullying and horrific cowardly acts.

This is a time to walk, always and obviously, in love and respect. We need to show our true colors, love and respect.

It was just a week ago that the Women’s March on the Pentagon happened and received pretty much zero coverage in mainstream media. This was a demonstration and launch of a movement in support of peace in this world.

Could it be that there are those who just don’t really want us to be aware of our strength? To be aware that our values of love, respect, justice, and peace are met in each other and shared by so many? To realize our power in those shared values?

We need to force that hand with ongoing, persistent displays, both individual and collective, of what most of us are really about and what we really support – love and respect, peace and justice.

I remember a time not so many years ago that I planted a sign in my yard that simply said, “Peace.” This was so infuriating to certain elements in the area, that the sign was repeatedly ripped out or stolen in the dead of night. The word “Peace” was somehow a threat to those elements.

What if everyone who seeks and supports peace, love, and respect in this world simply showed it?

Although it’s most of us, we’re a pretty quiet bunch – and certainly in terms of media coverage.

Fact is, though, it is most of us, by far. And if we can just wake up, stand together, raise our non-violent voices, and use our unique gifts to express the message of love and respect, we will find we are stronger and more powerful than the dark forces that have seized the stage.

The oft-quoted thought by John Stuart Mill remains as true as ever: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

And Martin Luther King, Jr.’s observation remains sadly relevant: “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

We all share this space on our planet. “Every man for himself” is not a productive strategy.

Let’s change the discourse. Let’s move away from the steady stream of vile rhetoric and behaviors to which we have become all too much accustomed and somehow tolerant. Let’s just not stand for it.

We need to speak in the light. Our words should reflect the intelligence and wisdom of the ages. We have the benefit of thousands of years of human history, after all. Violence and the language of violence solve nothing. They never have.

Let us go out of our way to step proudly and openly into the light for peace, love, respect, justice.

Stand firmly there. You won’t be alone.