The day after the inauguration of President Trump, millions of women with their friends and families from around the world marched in peace and mutual respect to support women rights. There were many signs and speeches that touched my heart, but the one that most resonated was that of a girl of around 9 on the back of her father carrying a sign that read “Make America Kind Again”. In part the kindness and calm of the marches most strongly reflected the inner longing of many to return to a time that when we disagreed, we did so with respect; that when there was a disagreement on policy or politics it did not mean that the other person was an ignorant, immoral person, or, even worse, a traitor to the country.
The primary teachings of all of the major religions of the world extol us to love one another, to help those less fortunate and to show compassion and concern for all. It saddens me greatly that some have desecrated the precious teachings of the world religions through using them as an instrument of hate and judgment and a call to violence. We are at a choice point to decide if we want to strive to be our best selves or to allow our personal frustrations and disappointments to be whipped up into anger by politicians who manipulate those frustrations to further their own personal strivings for power, wealth and fame. Shortly after President Trump announced a temporary ban on people coming to America from seven predominately Muslim countries, a mosque was burnt to the ground in Victoria, Texas. Within four days over a million dollars had been raised to re-build the mosque. We can strive to be our best selves; we can meet hate and violence with love and kindness. We can make America kind again.