It is November and I'm trying, folks. I'm trying to understand what is going on in this country. I'm trying to understand where we are headed. What happens to a country when human beings are inundated with hateful rhetoric all day and everywhere they turn?
When I think about recent events, I feel sick.
- A celebrity rapper inciting violence condemning an entire religious group and blaming them for his so-called problems and threatening them with "def-con 3."
- An 80 year old man being violently attacked in his home because his attacker wished to break the kneecaps of his wife, the Speaker of the House.
- The son of a former president AND the former president himself making fun of this heinous crime on Twitter.
- The owner of Twitter, a billionaire, irresponsibly spreading conspiracy theories that further incite violence.
This is actually in the last week. And it is just on and on.
In the last month, I have seen NON-STOP negative political ads on TV. These ads (on both sides) only bash the opponent and do nothing to explain how the candidate can serve their constituents. The rhetoric is mean. The ads are nasty. The ads play on fear and hate. They are not decent, have nothing intelligent to say.
I was discussing this situation and wondering what would happen if candidates refused to behave this way. What would happen if a candidate just did not participate in bashing their opponent?
And the answer I got was this:
- "It can't happen."
- "If they could do that and win, they would. They can't win like that."
- "Obviously, they have tried that before and it didn't work. "
So is this what happens when we lose all sense of decency in a society? Make no mistake. We are at war with the seduction of hatred. One glance at Twitter/social media and you will see the amount of people who have no problem spewing their hatred toward others religions, race, sexual orientation/preferences. The normalization of this behavior is changing us as a society.
I understand that people have different views about politics, as they should, as is their own right. I understand that people disagree.
But what happens when we no longer see each other as human beings?
What happens when we have become completely desensitized to daily shootings of children and innocent people? What happens when our political leaders and candidates behave like bullies in a schoolyard? What happens when leaders, celebrities, and parents normalize hatred, violence and bullying all in the name of Free Speech?
A line has been crossed in our country. What is this line?
It is: FIRST, DO NO HARM.
Yoga teaches Ahimsa, non-violence. In words, in actions, in the way we conduct ourselves, in our interactions. But the seduction of hatred and the normalization of bullying behavior from politicians, celebrities, and our neighbors is changing the very fabric of our lives and the future of our country. Violence is becoming normalized and even celebrated!
I'm trying to not be discouraged. I am resilient, I tell myself. None of this really matters, I tell myself. These people are crazy, I tell myself. But in the back of my mind, I hear a whisper of a time in history when this behavior became the law and a crazy person became a leader and killed millions of people because of their religion. In the back of my mind, I hear the whisper of a time when women and black people did not have rights in America. Yes. This happened. And it was people who did this to other people.
So what can I do? Well, The Om Lounge teachers and myself will be over here taking some deep breaths, teaching some yoga and holding space for you as always. But more importantly, I will continue to NOT look away when this hatred stands in front of me. I will vote and I will continue to remind everyone I know to DO NO HARM, to not participate in this culture of violence.
Wear your "I Voted" sticker to The Om Lounge classes on November 8th, and receive a free class in your account! Your vote is your voice. Not a hammer or a gun.
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