We are in the middle of a social media battle, within a political battle, which is within a national and global battle.
The right versus the left, with their “likes” and “comments.”
Everyone has an opinion, their sources ambiguous in their reliability.
Who is right?
Who is wrong?
What should I believe?
What do I believe?
Take any issue:
Kneeling for the National Anthem.
President Trump. Hillary Clinton. President Obama. President Bush. Bill Clinton.
And the list goes on and on and on…..
Social media creates a one-way dialogue.
“Friends” urge on one another, repeating the rhetoric of their “reliable” news source.
The message is the same, “I am right, and you are wrong.”
This isn’t a four-year old screaming match.
These are adults, and their belief is their truth.
Consider the concept of truth.
People believe what they believe.
As insensitive or out of touch you and I may feel a post is, someone believes it. They may see my post and disagree as much as I disagree with them.
It may be due to socialization, advantage, privilege, lived experience, difficult times and struggles, lack of experience, or simply an understanding that drives passion and truth.
As the world turns, we only grow further in our division.
So where do we turn.
Political leaders cannot unite us as they focus on from election to re-election, party loyalty to financial stability.
Many religious leaders lack the credibility they once held, and people’s understanding or investment in organized religion is decreasing.
Even for those with actions matching their words, can the world listen?
Can we understand?
So here lies today’s challenge….
We cannot change the world today in great magnitude, but we can in the interactions we experience.
Can we close our mouth, and listen.
As Winston Churchill said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
So if you want peace today, listen.
Listen with your heart, and try to understand- even if you disagree.
Maybe, someone will listen to you in return.
Then dialogue can follow.
Then bridges can be built.
Do not misunderstand me….
In the face of injustice, we must advocate for justice.
We are called to bring love, to be love.
We are responsible for one another, especially those without a voice, and those on the margins.
Protests, social media posts, articles, rallies, speeches, and all other forms of social movements are good and necessary, but they must include a listening heart.
Listen today to those you encounter.
Hear their words, and feel the meaning behind them.
Empathize and understand.
Listening is the first step to unity. Let’s listen together.
And maybe, we can move through the noise to a place of love, where we can find ourselves appreciating our differences while securing equality and justice for all.