Like for many Americans, these have been the most hurtful and distressing elections in my lifetime. I’m still grieving – and sometimes panicking – as I realize that many of the advances society has gained in the past decades are at risk, and if everything continues moving in the same direction, things will get a lot worse before they get better. What I’ve seen in these elections was a polarized society driven by intolerance and the surge of extremist groups from all sides of the spectrum.
I’ve taken time since the election results to reflect and listen to different points of view to understand why this happened to my country. I’ve been reading news and analyses, listening to people’s reactions and what they are planning to do now that we know that someone with unpredictable, erratic behavior has taken the most powerful job in the world.
I should say, much of the people I talk to – including myself – are pessimistic and afraid about their future. There are just too many things out of our control that can be disastrous for our safety, wellbeing or even our lives. Despite that, there are somethings within our control that we can do to bring more peace and unity to our surroundings. These small, personal actions may seem insignificant at a national (or global) scale, but if everyone of us commit to doing something in their capacity to bring unity, change is possible.
Inspired by a Facebook acquaintance who has shared her post-election commitments, I’ve decided to write below some actions I plan to carry out to bring peace and unity to my surroundings. Here they are:
- I’ll do everything in my capacity to be an instrument of peace and forgiveness. I’ll see any disagreement or conflict as an opportunity to love my enemy. I will always seek dialogue and understanding as opposed to judgement or name-calling. I will do my best to hear all perspectives that are different from my own and don’t evade from sharing mine in a respectful manner. I’ll be open to discovering new points of view and integrating them to my own opinions.
- I’ll oppose all forms of racism, bigotry, intolerance, torture etc. by speaking out and denouncing whenever I see someone doing these things. If a friend or acquaintance does any of those things, I’ll try to stop them in a respectful manner. If they prefer not to listen and continue to carry out these harmful actions, I’ll at least pray for them.
- I’ll strengthen my faith by praying more and seeking more personal time with God. I’ll write every day and seek daily moments of contemplation and silence. I’ll lead by example and will never, never, never force my faith onto other people or expect them to have the same actions or perspective on life as I do.
- I’ll fight for the planet and defend all creatures on earth and their natural habitat. I’ll condemn poaching, trophy hunting, irresponsible fishing or farming, deforestation, pollution etc. I’ll buy organic, local products as much as possible and gradually decrease the amount of meat and dairy I eat. I’ll drive less and walk or use public transportation as often as possible. I’ll encourage people to do the same.
- I’ll commit to making art that heals and bring about connection and understanding. I’ll try to show the world that we as humans are capable of loving, and that beauty can change the world for the better.
With those commitments in mind, and knowing that love and compassion can be passed on from person to person and reach people and places well beyond an individual’s social circle, I’ll challenge two friends of mine to share their post-election commitments and pass on the challenge to two additional people. I’ve created simple and flexible rules for this this challenge so it can be scalable to as many people as possible. Here are the rules:
- Once you are challenged, create your commitments to peace and unity. These commitments don’t necessarily need to be written down in a list like mine, but it should be communicated the way you feel more comfortable. You can communicate them through a video, painting, monologue, poem, photo, song or anything sharable on the internet.
- You can have as many or as few commitments as you wish.
- Don’t diverge from the theme Peace and Unity. This challenge is not for you to share your political views or generate any discussion that can bring controversy.
- Once you crate your commitment(s), post them to your favorite social media platform on a public way and use the hashtag #commit2unity
- Challenge two other social media friends to do the same.
- Refer to this blog for the rules.
Are you up for the challenge?