“I would rather make mistakes in kindness and compassion than work miracles in unkindness and hardness.” (Mother Teresa)
It’s been a bit disheartening this week to see that kindness—simple, elemental kindness—has become a political issue.
For the most part on this blog, I have avoided writing about politics, as I’ve avoided writing about religion. I have a possibly old-fashioned view that these are private matters and little benefit comes from either proclaiming one’s religious or political beliefs or denouncing somebody else’s.
I will admit that I did write about Donald Trump a couple of times last year—not so much as an aspiring politician, but as a practiced bully.
In recent days, Hillary Clinton has called for “more love and kindness” in America. Seems like a reasonable observation to me, but it has issued forth a storm of criticism and downright vicious comments. On news sites that reported candidate Clinton’s statement, comments were overwhelmingly negative. And not just negative, but mean, sarcastic, at times even crude. A call for love and kindness unleashed comments calling Secretary Clinton a murderer in Benghazi, a crook, a liar, a cheat. They further criticized her marriage, her looks, her voice, her authenticity, and her intentions. One blogger mocked Clinton thoroughly and concluded her remarks by saying love and kindness were “completely irrelevant in public life.” She further said “we need integrity and courage to live our values. Love and kindness optional.” I’ve always thought that integrity and courage go hand-in-hand with love and kindness, and that none of these qualities are inconsequential.
Perhaps that’s why we are where we are today, why there is so much anger and incivility, and so much inequity: love and kindness are viewed as optional.
Even those who may agree with Hillary’s politics made jokes about the fuzzy, woo-woo nature of her call for love and kindness. Really? Are love and kindness that ridiculous that they can’t be viewed as a possible pathway to a stronger country? If I learned one thing during my year of living kindly it’s that kindness is a strength, not a weakness. Choosing to be kind is not wimpy or weak. It takes courage.
Although I said earlier I don’t want to use my blog to talk about either religion or politics, I’ll make an exception here: I stand with the Dalai Lama who says, “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
I’m not here to endorse Hillary Clinton or anybody else. I’m endorsing kindness.
“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” (R.J. Palacio)