Love Trumps Hate, Always
A deep chasm has nearly divided our nation. Whenever you have an election this close, where one candidate wins the popular vote and the other the electoral vote, a nation is deeply divided. While I and most of those I love have spent these post election days lamenting, the other half of our nation, and others I also love, are rejoicing.
How has the divide become so deep? The bipartisanship so pronounced? The halves so polarized?
Most frightening is the level of anger and hatred, the intensity of the vehemence. Even many of those who voted for Trump have admitted that his platform normalized hate speech and bullying, and was openly and blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, laughingly dismissive of sexual assault, and mocking of persons who are physically challenged. “We are not voting for THAT,” they assured me. “We are voting for change. We are voting for him because we are tired of the the political system. We are voting for him because he is outside that system.” I “get” the desire for change. I “get” the desire to change the system. What I will never “get” is when the desire for change or bucking the system supersedes human rights. Hate is never okay. Racism is never okay. Sexism is never okay. Sexual assault is never okay. Homophobia and xenophobia and mocking of persons with physical challenges are never okay.
As a faith leader who has worked for the past thirty-five years, averaging seventy-five hours per week, seeking to follow the way of Jesus by preaching, teaching, educating, advocating, organizing, and being a social activist, fighting for the full equality of ALL, I am saying nothing different than what I have been saying for the past thirty-five years. At a recent community-wide forum for which I was asked to speak, one man concluded, “So everything you have given the last thirty-five years of your life for has been undone by this election?”
I prefer to not look at it through such a dismal lens. In fact, if anything, I feel that the work I have been doing is more important now than ever.
The tricky and ironic thing about hate though, is that when we return hate for hate, we can end up becoming the very thing that we hate. We must not return hate for hate. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “When we return hate for hate, we only add to the amount of hate in this world. When we respond to evil with evil, we only contribute to the amount of evil in this world. Dr. King urges us, instead, to follow in the way of Jesus, and to respond to hate with love. As a Baptist minister, Dr. King was referring to God-like love, which he knew was the only thing strong enough to transform hate and evil. A few days after the election, my friend since the seventh grade, Peggy Lebo, posted this on Facebook:
No matter how we feel about the election results this is a call to take a stand for love- our world needs our love more than ever- no more time or attention on hate speak or division- we’ve been hearing that our vote counts but greater than that- our love counts- our love for the environment, our love for a world that works for everyone, our love for gender equality, our love for a government that would actually be “for the people,” our love for a vibrant, revitalized economy, our love for a world that supports true freedom of religion/spirituality… this is a call to action for our part as individuals and as a global community to bring what we love into the world- YOU ARE WHAT YOU LOVE- what do you love?
Rather than be embroiled in hate, I choose to continue to work to bring what I love into this world: equality for ALL, and environmental stewardship of our precious earth.
What about you? What will be your legacy for this world? What do you love? As Gandhi said, “BE the change you wish to see in this world.”
May you see the Light and Love of God in ALL you encounter, and may you reflect the Light and Love of God to ALL you encounter.
Linda Forsberg, Copyright November 25, 2016