During the holiday season, normally a time for wishful thinking and lofty goals like world peace and a season of goodwill for all, the world should be more at peace. I was naive enough to think this year would be a little different, and the people around the globe would show us a glimmer of hope, making this world a better, more peaceful place to live. But more violence, retaliation, aggression. radical actions and more fear seem to be the message that is spreading instead. How many more people getting killed, hurt, sanctioned, imprisoned and castigated will make the other side right? And why are there sides anyway?
Why is it so important to be the religion, ideology, government or power that is right? How can we make stronger the dialog that will lead to a halt of all the violence, killing and extreme fear mongering. When small children are strapping on bombs, teenagers are carrying assault rifles and more hate and unrest is carried out in the name of religion on network news than any other subject, when can we as a world decide enough is enough and put an end to all of this craziness?
While I do believe this is something our government is able to take some responsibility for, the resolution, ultimately, comes down to us. Yes, each of us, individually can make a huge impact, simply by treating each other differently. We can make a difference by showing respect, gratitude, empathy and fairness. Maybe I am just being simple minded and failing to realize the bigger picture, but somebody has got to do something, and that somebody is all of us. One person at a time. Don't underestimate the power of one. Before you start commenting, critiquing and telling me about the issues, consider, for a moment, the possibility that you have within you the ability to change the world, peacefully.
Even without understanding all the issues, can't we all agree that hate is not the answer. Love is the answer. How many thousands of years must we endure pain to understand that hate and violence are not solutions to the problem. Compassion, empathy and respect should be our tools, not bombs, guns and ill will. Let's attack hate with love and kindness. I'm not a hippie, or rose colored lens wearing, picket sign carrying, dope smoking idealist. I'm just a guy that writes a blog, spreads a message of "nice is right," and cares about the world around him. Regardless of your skin color, religion, orientation or genetic makeup, I can and will see you for what you are inside. I'm going to "xoxo" if I like you and if I don't, I'm simply going to respectfully ignore you, but I will never interfere with your beliefs and I certainly hope you respect me enough not to interfere with mine.
Every single one of us can make an impact on the world. You don't have to believe me, just look at the lives of these individuals. Before they changed the world through their actions, they were just people like you and me.
- Martin Luther King - through non-violence, started a civil rights movement and changed our country.
- Nelson Mandela - Nobel Prize winner for his work helping to end racial segregation in South Africa.
- Gandhi - Inspired people all over the world to independence through a path of non-violence.
Although I have listed three iconic members of the civil rights and equal rights communities that have become household names, there lives and lived thousands more that are making a difference in their country, province, community or neighborhood that you may never know by name.
You may not feel you have the power to make a difference, but I can assure you, even a small change is better than no change at all. You have within you the power of gratitude, compassion, empathy, sympathy, warmth, appreciation and most importantly you have the power to love.
If you feel those words or actions are too distant from where you currently are positioned, I challenge you this holiday season to work toward being more tolerant, forgiving and open-minded. We did not create this violent world overnight. I am not so short-sighted to think that we can resolve all of our problems tomorrow, but we have to start sometime. Why not now? And we all have the power to hope. Hope for peace. Hope for love. Hope for change.