It's not kindness when we allow vulnerable people to be harmed.
It's discouraging how the hate and fear in this country keep escalating! But you're right. The only way to get it to stop is by being kind to others, trying to find common ground, and working through our differences. I have friends from all political persuasions, so I know it can be done.
Appeasement is wishful thinking; it has a long and inglorious history.
You bring new meaning to the word "kindness," and a challenge to us all. I do think we are in a fight - in a war for the soul of the country - one that needs to be addressed. We may have already waited too long.
I've thrown plenty of elbows, even cheap shots, the past 6-plus years out of anger. I've also gotten plenty busy as an activist. We just won a huge election up here in Wisconsin by an uncommonly huge margin. We did this because there were enough people in the middle who were listening to both sides, and made the decision that the Right was wrong. So I'm going to stay busy talking (and listening) with these folks. Good job here, Ramona.
Yes the States, why not start by getting a unique name for your part of our Continent. Kindness, being 'nice' is a strength indeed. But make no mistake it is not for the weak and that is something the US fails to grasp. I grew up with US cousins screaming #1 USA and now they see the truth. Yes United, but things are divided quite seriously there and here too now. Multi Cultural experiment has yet to function as pitched. Multi yes and mono a lot here. But, the culture end not happening and can't when folks cluster in neutral corners, act for themselves and don't talk let alone fight. I wrote about these very topics in previous articles. I agree with every word on offer here, and to evolve revolution is often necessary. Those bad actors can't go forward if their sheep don't give them egress!
I’m glad you shared it here!
Ramona, I wasn't listening in on the Substack Notes conversation, but want to say that I felt energized by this memo and thank you for writing it. I love this country dearly (I am an immigrant so have a very special feeling for the admirable qualities and aspirations of this nation--in particular, the rule of law, and the fact that we are built on the sweat and the energies of a great diversity of people.) I still believe, and agree with you that we must be active in protecting the highest aspirations of this nation, improving access to basic necessities for all, speaking out against injustice. I am open to listening to others with different viewpoints, but not open to tolerating injustice and destructive anger.
I may be damned for commenting because I'm not American and live on the other side of the world. So from the outset, please understand I'm not being unkind.
From an outsider's POV, there does appear to be great community kindness in the USA.
But the media provides us with the shocking and the disgraceful on repeat. It's this that allows the unkind and vicious to thrive - because they're constantly getting airtime, being given oxygen because the media's sole purpose is to generate shock.
Maybe Americans (kind ones) need to blackball their chosen media, maybe they need to fight back with marches, actions. A groundswell of such HUGE proportions that it can't be ignored. But people have to be committed. Sitting writing about it does nothing. You have to care greatly and put actions where the words are.
Because the thing is, at the moment, international opinion of the USA outside of the USA is pretty damning. And that's pretty sad...
Ramona, I've been cogitating on this essay for hours now, dipping in and out of it in my brain as the obligations of the day(s) demanded. Read anything I write and you find that I lean into kindness. It's my modus operandi. But, there is a world of difference between being kind and being complicit. Too many of us, myself included at times, simply because I run out of ideas for how to effectively respond, are confusing one with the other. Telling the truth and speaking out for those who are undeservedly under fire is not the same as engaging in an online argument with someone whose mind cannot be changed. Conversely, silence is not kindness. I have more thinking to do on this, but I respect and appreciate your call to action!
This will probably be an unpopular comment but here it goes. I think the corporate media and social media platforms in general are all-in on the culture war and they know what drives traffic: outrage. And it's amplified everywhere we look. Both 'sides' are being told relentlessly that they are under attack and it just spurs a slavish dedication to tribalism. Yes, people are engaging in really bad behavior AND they should be called out for it. Marginalized groups should be defended, absolutely. But the reality is that multi-billion dollar corporations are using fear and misunderstanding to distract us from all those good things you listed in your post; health care, education, peace. All things that could cost them money.
And this isn't just the Right. MSNBC, CNN, Politico. They hold up Democrats that engage in performative allyship and virtue signaling while marginalizing anyone who challenges the current neo-liberal mindset. All the the issues - of which there are many - that could unite people of vastly different viewpoints are ignored or worse. Yes, there are some bad people saying and promoting very bad things, but please don't forget that we are all being manipulated and the puppet masters like it this way.
We should really demand better from the actual people in power; Big Business, Congress, and whatever presidential administration occupies the White House whenever. When that gets put in order, most of the 'hate' will disappear. Too bad this is all easier said then done.
Thanks, I appreciate you allowing us to comment.