Remember that video from Art On Ice a few years back? I took the song title this month not only because it’s AOI time again (shout out Gary Scott and the gang!) but because listening is what’s sorely missing these days in our country’s discourse. I fully understand that seeing your President’s chants go from “Yes We Can!” to “Lock Her Up” hurts. I also understand that if your team won you are tired of seeing violent protests. But…can we just listen to one another? Not jeer and name call, just listen. If your Twitter feed is laced with derision and mockery, YOU are a big part of the problem. If we all practice more kindness in discourse, we’ll be able to move forward as one team more quickly. Kindness doesn’t mean not having a voice, it just means using that voice graciously and more effectively.
Kindness means not regurgitating every angry thought onto the pages of social media. Instead, if you have something worth saying, call your congressional leaders, tell them they’re doing a great/awful job and tell them why. At home teach your children about the values you hold and why your leader does/does not represent those values. Donate time or money. Buy or boycott products and companies. And if you find yourself typing on Reddit, Facebook & co. in a spittle-slinging fervor, just stop. The world doesn’t need another angry rant. Instead, find someone in your corner of the world who doesn’t think like you and just listen. It’s not easy and you may hear something you don’t like but take the high road. We’ll all be better off for it.