Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Backlash From the Campaign Trail

Everyone acknowledges that the recent presidential campaign was the nastiest in recent history. Lots of antagonistic and hateful rhetoric bombarded us via all kinds of media. Hate was spewed at many different groups of people. America is till reeling.

The Southern Law Center reports a dramatic rise in incidents of violence and threats of violence against blacks, immigrants, Jews, LGBTQ, and other minority groups. They note 892 hate groups in the United States. They even have a map that locates those groups [] They report significant rise in school harrassment and bullying related to the hate speech during the campaign and since.

This is all very troubling. And if all we know comes from the media and the internet, we can easily believe that the whole nation has become a hate-filled society.

But if we look closely there is a growing backlash of LOVE rising in the country. The nation's awareness has been raised at how much hurtful words and behaviors are filling our television, social media, newspapers, etc. And good people are feeling empowered. They are getting involved in what is happening in their communities and in Washington.

More people are stepping out of their comfort zone to be helpful, to stand up for anyone being intimidated, to share good news, to bring hope. On FaceBook there is more and more examples of goodness, of acts of kindness, of good news. The group Pantsuit Nation and the Safety Pin project are examples.

And look at the number of people who have shown up at Standing Rock to support the Native American people protecting the water and demanding justice. More people are volunteering to work on projects to help immigrants and to protect Muslim mosques and black churches. People are protesting the KKK demonstrations in greater numbers. Sexual assaults are being spotlighted and victims are getting heard. And women are organizing to march on Washington in January.

Mosques are holding open house programs to educate non Muslims about Islam. I attended one in our city last week and the number of people who attended was overwhelming. The Imam stated that they had rented one hundred chairs thinking that would be more than enough. Twice that many people showed up. They were all respectful and asked good, thoughtful questions. I gave me hope that there can be healing and peace among people of all different backgrounds.

So, while the campaign was very difficult and had some very negative consequences. There is also a growing backlash of love. Let's keep it going. Share some examples you see of people coming together in peace, people caring for those who have been maligned in the campaign, and of emotional healing and growth. Share ideas for acts of kindness.

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