“Stop covering politics,” some of our dear readers cry every time we post something relephant. Look: politics are life. Equal rights, empathy, fair economy, healthcare. We can’t ignore what’s happening, and you shouldn’t either. ~ ed.
As a foreigner watching from across the Atlantic, I am proud of the American people who are peacefully protesting the actions of Donald Trump.
And I’m proud of the mayors who are standing up to him—and the CEOs who are reaching out to their employees to reassure them they’ve got their backs, while also spelling out to the White House administration how essential immigration is to the backbone of the American and global economies.
All of this is good and right and proper.
It fills me with hope that the moral backbone will not disappear from the collective consciousness, no matter how things pan out over the next four years. They may be long and utterly heart-wrenching years, but there can be no room for burying heads in the sand or denying the reality of what is unfolding.
And I fervently disagree with those who shake their heads, and say that the protests are a waste of energy and will be ineffective, because they are coming from the wrong place. That the way to heal and transmute is through love, not anger.
This, to me, reeks of spiritual and emotional bypass.
Yes, love is the transforming energy. But anger has a purpose—that’s why we’re gifted with the emotion. It draws our attention to the fact that a boundary has been crossed. And when our boundaries are crossed, it is up to us to draw a line and say, “No, this is not okay. You may not repeat this behaviour around me.”
If we do not bring attention and awareness to the reason for the anger, we cannot re-establish our boundaries.
It won’t be a picnic. But with anything, for real healing to take place, we gotta get down and dirty. We have to look the sh*t in the eyeball. We must recognize the ways in which what we despise may actually be present—in some way—within ourselves, and make peace with that—and then resolve to do better.
And follow through on that resolve with action.
Peaceful and loving action, but action nonetheless.
Opting for the inactive “love and light” approach is, in my opinion, a cop out.
Ignoring the calls to sign petitions and put your name to the cries for justice? My guess is that is rooted in fear. And fear is the opposite of love.
And here’s another uncomfortable possibility—it could be simple laziness. Sending love through prayer and meditation is easy (and good—let’s all do that too). Calling and emailing senators, making signs and giving up a day to march—that all requires some effort.
But overcoming this tyrannical regime will not come about without some effort.
And throughout the battle, there’s a critical distinction to be mindful of. Love may be fierce, but that’s not the same as being vicious or aggressive. Asserting our own rights doesn’t give us the right to attack others for their point of view. Doing so from a place of love means expressing our views in a respectful manner. They may be strongly expressed, but not viciously so.
Love is active, not passive—and with the current regime, doing nothing is worse than unhelpful. It’s dangerous.
For those of us who are not American citizens, what can we do?
Do the next right thing that presents itself.
That could be to join peace protests organized in our own cities.
Or signing the petitions calling for our leaders to have the courage to stand up to Trump. (These aren’t meaningless—they do make governments pay attention to the grass roots.)
Express support and solidarity in whatever way you can.
Focus on being pro what we do want, rather than anti what we don’t.
And meditate and pray too.
To those on the battle front, thank you for finding a way to protest and resist that which feels right for you. Please, practice self-care so that you may be able to continue to do this—and do it from a place of love.
This is not a time for passivity. Love speaks up and speaks out. It is not silent on issues that matter. (Fear often is, but the problem with silence is that it can be translated as support for the regime.)
But let’s all remember that love speaks from a place of kindness and compassion.
What the world needs now is mindful and loving activists. Let’s all get on board.
Author: Hilda Carroll
Image: Amandalynn Jones/Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
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