In my blog Why I’m voting for Hillary http://www.fortheloveofwriting.net/why-im-voting-for-hillary/, I addressed my outrage and concern over the political circus that has become our means of choosing candidates for election to the highest office in the land. And, along with many of you, I’ve posted my fair share of clips on Facebook, deriding candidates like Donald Trump, from people like Elizabeth Warren, whom I admire and who can express herself more articulately than I. I’m not sure any of that did any good, but it made me feel better.
My sense of indignation and chagrin really hit home and reached a new level, when I learned of the actions of the North Carolina General Assembly in the passage of House Bill 2–otherwise known as the Bathroom Bill. As soon as I read that it was on the floor and to be railroaded through that very day, I e-mailed my two legislators from Forsyth County to express my disapproval and hopes that they would reject the bill, knowing that they would probably be complicit in its passage. Now the bill is law; North Carolina is once again the target of negative press; and, business in the state has been thwarted by the decision. But the most devastating consequence is that it is now legal in North Carolina to discriminate against and to deny the extension of employment protection and public facilities protection to targeted groups of citizens, even when a local governing body is in favor of it.
I have reached the point where the expression of indignation and outrage is not not enough for me. The clever retort on social media or the posting of a well-chosen Youtube clip provides momentary satisfaction. But sometimes it feels like I’m participating in a one-upmanship of indignation, like I’m saying, “Look at me! I can be more outraged, more devastated by a catastrophe, more sensitive, more attuned to an issue, more (fill in the blank) than anybody else.”
Recognizing and articulating problems and issues is certainly the first step in solving them, and it is always re-assuring to read the comments of those with like-minded opinions. But co-miseration never solved anything. I’ve decided to explore ways that go beyond mere expression of disapproval. I’m seeking actions that can make a difference–actions that, no matter how small, will contribute to making the world a little more just, a little more compassionate, a little more peaceful place.
I’m starting by adding a new category to my blog titled Making a Difference. I’ll use it to share my action steps with you, but I hope that the site will become a forum for others to share their ideas on making a difference as well. So many people are engaging in acts of kindness and compassion every day! So many people are coming up with creative solutions to the myriad problems facing our society! Let’s use this space to share some of those positive actions and give our outrage and indignation a rest.
My first goal is to refrain from firing off a comment on any post that expresses political or social outrage until I have taken some positive action to address the issue being raised. For example: making a donation, volunteering time, writing a letter, making a phone call, researching solutions to the problem, or whatever else I can think of. I’ll let you know how that goes.
In my next blog, I’ll write about how I have become involved in the online course Emotional Intelligence for a Compassionate World, which is offered through the Charter for Compassion Education Institute.