It can be difficult not to become incensed when faced with man’s inhumanity to man on a near-constant basis, to rise above it, with media flashing at you with new examples of it almost everywhere you look. It’s something you can try and limit your exposure to, but some of it will almost always manage to seep through into your daily life, and it would be unnatural for you to have no emotional response to it. After all, such stories are designed to elicit these knee-jerk responses from their readers.
But let us remember that your immediate reality does not need to be colored by the story of the day, or by an isolated incident that’s re-played and re-lived ad nauseam and to no good end.
Make no mistake: it’s a turbulent moment in history, and the most hateful and ignorant among us are becoming more organized by the day. The stress in the air is real. But when you subscribe and give in to a political narrative, if only to tolerate or make sense of this stress, and the ugliness of events, you necessarily take the view of generalizing people by their background, which is, in truth, only an admission of self-defeat. When you strip someone, an “other,” of their individuality—their humanity—you implicitly strip yourself of it, too.
To remind others that love conquers hate is to risk sounding naïve and inexperienced, but it’s so much more than a mere platitude if put into practice. You are at the center of your world, and this is the only world you have the absolute power to make a better place. If you practice decency in your life, even in light of and in spite of all the troubles and distractions directed at you, you are actively spreading goodness, if only in the smallest ways, and this is the only language understood between everyone in the world no matter their background. It’s universal goodness, righteousness, and not rhetoric, which transcends all boundaries and unites us in our common humanity.
In the words of Bob Dylan, who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, “We all wear the same thorny crown.”