The other day I posted a “status” on my personal Facebook account which received many comments and various types of likes.
It was Inauguration Day. I had recently had a discussion with a friend about the election and how negative things had gotten. I had read about an experience of an acquaintance who had been a target of a rude, homophobic comment (he is married, to a woman, and has children, and the person didn’t even know him). I had seen hateful things happening on Twitter to at least one person I follow. So the sentiments I expressed had been on my mind for awhile.
I wrote the following:
The most depressing thing to me since Trump was elected has been how it’s given people permission to be openly hateful, rude, and vile. For so many, it has caused them to eschew so-called “political correctness” (aka respect for all people), kindness, and tongue biting. It’s allowed people to overlook charity and instead figuratively spit on others instead of turning the other cheek.
Matthew 7:16-17: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
3 Nephi 11:29-30 (Book of Mormon): For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.
Backlash, good and bad
Over the course of the day, myself and others commented and discussed this status and the various issues it got us thinking about. Of course, hate and intolerance are not new sentiments, not against women, men, people of different political parties/religions, those who have mental health or physical disabilities, or those of other races. Hatred, unfortunately, has been with us for a very long time.
So, of course, has love. And charity. And tolerance.
We can choose which emotion we want to lead out with in our interactions with others. My husband commented that people tend to follow whatever leader is in power. If a leader tends toward hateful or discriminatory speech or remarks, people will feel more at ease or protected in doing so as well. If a leader exhibits respect and consideration, that kind of behavior trickles down.
We must learn how dangerous it is to protect or cover for people who do not honor the sanctity and validity of other people, even if those people are different or strange to them. This go for liberals or conservatives. It applies to religious people or atheists, to those of any color or creed.
We are all in this together. We are all human, and when we forget that, we allow ourselves to be led into a very dark place. We cannot succumb to hatred or else we risk losing the characteristic that can make us truly like the Savior—charity, the “pure love of Christ.”