Choosing love in a culture of fear

Democrats and Republicans do not exist.

People exist, and we seem to like to label ourselves.

Contradictory labels (Democrat vs. Republican) assigned to seemingly different groups of people, create an us vs. them fervor in the collective DNA of humanity.

But, there is no us vs. them. Not inherently. Beyond all the categories we’ve manufactured for ourselves, we are all simply human beings. Life-forms on planet Earth. That should matter more than any label, ideal, or belief, because we are all more powerful and capable together than we are apart.

Think of someone who really pisses you off. What about them gets to you? Why do such powerful emotions stir within us when we perceive that someone else is unaligned with our own values?

Why do we not take more moments to imagine, that the people we’re conflicting with have lived their own lives that are just as valuable and meaningful as ours? They have had their own childhoods, their own unique socialization, their own family and teachers, their own traditions and rituals that have formed them into the human beings they are.

They have learned their own lessons. Come to their own conclusions. Cried their own tears, bled their own blood. They have their own addictions, fears, problems, and weaknesses.

The most seemingly-evil person you can think of, has brought joy and hope into other people’s lives. They have made a positive difference for someone. Even if you have labeled them a terrorist, or miscreant, or monster.

Truth is, there are no monsters. There are only human beings, doing their best with what they have been given. Doing their best to be heard and understood in a global society that has so often turned away and plugged its ears.

Is it difficult to accept the notion that everyone is doing their best?

When I analyze my own life, I know I am always doing my best. I usually come up painfully short. Other people have judged me for that, and it hurts. I have judged myself for it, and it hurts.

Do you ever wake up and think, “I am going to purposefully do less than my best today”?

I don’t know. Maybe someone does. But it’s more likely that we all wake up and do our best within the current limitations of our beliefs, health, energy, environment and resources. Maybe our best is embarrassing sometimes. Maybe it makes us look lazy and misguided. Maybe it even makes us look evil. But it’s still all we can do.

Well, it’s all we can do, until we can do better. Then, we do that.

If that is true for me (it is) and true for you (I’m assuming), then why wouldn’t it be true for everyone in general?

Let me ask you this. When someone hates you for what they perceive to be your weaknesses and shortcomings, how do you feel?

When you hate others for what you perceive to be their weaknesses and shortcomings, how do you suppose they feel?

Then again, how do you feel when someone who seems different than you actually attempts to understand where you are coming from? Offers a helping hand? Treats you as an equal? Shows you love that dissipates all barriers of class, political ideals, skin color, and beliefs?

How would it feel to be loved for being yourself, even by people from drastically different backgrounds?

Some people may not know how that feels, or cannot imagine it. Because the pressure is building in our world, and our perceived differences can seem insurmountable.

But, try to imagine. Just try. Imagine a world, where love is bottom line. Love is the guiding principle.

So. How would it feel to someone who hates you, if you simply loved them unconditionally and genuinely endeavored to understand where they are coming from? Do you think their hatred could endure through that?

Could your hatred endure through a blatant, non-relenting display of unconditional, no-strings-attached love from the object of your hatred?

You are the object of someone else’s hatred. Love them anyway. Break the cycle.

Corrode the poisonous barriers around other people’s hearts, by choosing love. Don’t do it to expect something in return.

Just do it because it’s right, and it inspires others. It adds value to the world. It tips the scales, ever so slightly, away from the nightmarish division many of us have accepted as “just the way things are.”

It’s only the way things are if we consent to it. We will not tip the scales by whining, pointing fingers, calling names, and poking people’s wounds. We tip the scales, simply with love. Love that soars beyond political concepts.

Most people are born into their political destinies. They either accept what they’ve been raised on, or rebel and embrace the opposite.

I know someone who has voted straight-ticket Republican in every election for the past 60 or so years. Why? Because that’s how they were raised.

Does that make sense to me? No. I perceive that action as self-limiting and socially irresponsible.

Is there something about me that the same person could use against me as being self-limiting and socially irresponsible?

Absolutely. So, how about instead of attacking each other we just skip straight to the hugs and unconditional love?

Sounds good to me.

So, look. Today is inauguration day in the United States. Donald Trump is the new commander-in-chief.

Some people are overjoyed about it. Others are nauseous. Some label it a win, others a defeat.

Some who consider it a win say, “In your face!” to those who feel defeated. Some who feel defeated vow comeuppance.

That’s a cycle where everyone just eats each other alive.

When people start fires, the goal is usually to put the fire out. If the flames spread, they have incredible destructive potential. If we did not have a reliable system for putting out fires, the entire country could be reduced to cinder.

Imagine a burning building. The firefighters arrive. Prepare their hoses. And they douse the flame, but with gasoline instead of water.

Who would do that?

We would. We do. We do it interpersonally, in our conversations, in Internet comment sections. We spew gasoline onto the fires all across the world with our attitudes, prejudices, and preconceptions.

Others douse our fires with gasoline too.

It’s a never-ending cycle. Until we end it.

“We’ll never end it,” some people say.

But we can. Not by depending on other people to cease their vitriolic ways. Other people are waiting for you to change, and you are waiting for them to change. If neither side budges, we all just get driven further and further into the extremes.

The extremes make asses and villains out of everyone.

I am not a Democrat or Republican, but most people would probably see me as a liberal because I desire an inclusive, open society. I do my best to find the virtue in all sides of the equation, however. What I am seeing on the extreme left and extreme right, though, is a passionate and blind absurdity. The argument is becoming too toxic for us to even breathe anymore.

A bird requires two wings to fly. Superman flies without wings. I’ve never seen a one-winged creature excel at flight.

So, I implore myself and anyone who would listen, to try something new. Just love. No matter what.

Love Donald J. Trump. Does hating him do you any good? Does it do anyone any good?

Or maybe, you naturally and effortlessly love Trump. I’m happy for you. If that’s you, then love Barack Hussein Obama.

If you already unconditionally love Trump and Obama, then love members of ISIS.

If you are in ISIS, then love the infidels.

If we cannot love each other, then what’s the point?

If we cannot learn from each other, then why are we even here?

Right now, I am scared and anxious about what may happen next in the United States.

But even in the worst case scenario come true, what good would my hatred serve?

What could my hatred accomplish that love could not, other than to feed into the perpetual cycle of social division and destruction?

Let’s feed into a new cycle. Let’s just unrelentingly love the fuck out of everyone, not least of all ourselves.