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February 26, 2016

Kindness as the Goal of Politics.

Any political discussion should start with kindness as the political goal.

This is why I don’t usually like to join in on political discussions; because I tend to feel that most political conversations are akin to ignorance yelling at more ignorance. So, as a good yogi and practitioner of empathetic and compassionate communication, I try to steer clear of these kinds of chats. But I’m not immune to the discussions that are happening around me.

It is only natural that people are talking about the American presidential primary elections, it is what is happening and we, as a nation, are at a critical point.

Who we elect to lead our country and represent us to the rest of the world will greatly impact not just the American people, but our global community as well.

Politics is a big business and political parties and even individual politicians have become machines for corporations and special interests. The cause of all of our present suffering, in my humble opinion, is politics. It is not religion, it is not racism, it is not cultural differences, it is not sexual orientation, it is not trade or business—it is politics.

And what politics has lost is wisdom and compassion.

“Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.” ~ Khalil Gibran

There is a level of morality and compassion that has been lost, buried under supposed differences and petty arguments. Sadly, there are lessons that have not been learned and are in danger of being repeated in this country: how the Irish were discriminated against and persecuted; how the African slave population and later the freed slaves were brutalized and discriminated against; how the Japanese were brutalized, put in internment camps and discriminated against; and now again, as a group of people, the Muslim people are being discriminated against, isolated and threatened.

How can we allow for leaders who are unwilling to hear validity in another perspective, or to look to another model for inspiration and guidance?

That kind of selfish pride is devastating to compassion and empathy and kindness.

How have we not learned this lesson already? How has our government—our leaders, the ones we entrust to take care of us and guide us—not looked back on the history they purport to be so important that they build museums and statues to help the people remember and realized the mistake they are making?

I will not cross lines of religion, or endorse one candidate over another here, or anywhere. I will point out that every religion carries the same fundamental principal of the golden rule: “Do not do to others what you do not wish done to you.”

This is not about how I treat my neighbor, or how you treat the stranger at the market. This is about how we as a collaborative group of people treat one another. We are so interconnected that every harm done to the refugee being denied safety and basic human needs is harm done to the ones you hold most dear to you.

We, as a nation, cannot claim to be led and governed by “good Christian morals” out of one side of our mouth and deny safety and aid to those most in need of protection and care out of the other. There is no prophet in any religion throughout history that would approve of this treatment of our fellow brothers and sisters.

We have lost touch with our own inner compassion as individuals—we have lost touch with our spiritual center, mistaking our religion for spirituality and not seeing and sometimes blatantly ignoring the dividers that arise separating us. We can no longer shrug off the responsibility for our government to another generation. It is our responsibility to demand kindness and compassion and to embed these qualities in our leaders and our laws.

So, before you engage in political conversation, before you support a political party, before you walk into your voting booth: look closely at your husband, wife, partner, mother, father, son, daughter, friends and neighbors and consider what kind of compassion and wisdom you would want caring for them if the tables were turned and you were the ones in need.

“Tenderness and kindness are no signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” ~ Khalil Gibran

If you want to “make America strong again,” try kindness.

~

Author: Ariana Almaee-Nejadi 

Editor: Caitlin Oriel

Image: @elephantjournal on Instagram

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Ariana Almaee-Nejadi