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August 20, 2016

How to deal with Hate.

waylon_lewis_quote_politics_hate_argue_kindness
“I disagree with you! I’m therefore unfollowing you and I hate you!”
~ elephant readers, in social media
[we’ve blocked the worst of them, but see links below]

We welcome other points of view as long as thoughtful: elephantjournal.com/submit

Elephant covers politics. Always has. Always will. Politics is a part of life. We cover “the mindful life.” Always have. Always will. The mindful life is about how you and I can be kind to ourselves, and serve to the benefit of  others—how, together, we can all create a more enlightened society. Politics is, like it or not, a part of our ability, or lack thereof, to nurture kindness, eco-responsibility, equal rights, access to healthcare in our society. Always has been. Always will be.

I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter, and small donor. Now, largely thanks to his and his supporters’ work, the Democratic party’s platform is the most liberal we’ve ever seen. I’m happy to see that Hillary Clinton is committed to fulfilling that platform in concert with those across the aisle. Democracy is messy stuff, but fighting Climate Change, improving upon Obamacare instead of throwing it out, and keeping the nuclear button away from Trump’s itchy twitter finger are among the reasons I can support Hillary.

And I might be wrong. And you might be wrong. And if we’re wrong, or half-right, or half-wrong, or both wrong…we can dialogue with mutual respect. I respect Republicans, especially moderates. I have a harder time with Tea Partiers, who like to say “no” and talk about strangling our government by, of and for the people, who talk about the poor and the middle class with contempt. But, still, I am more than happy to talk respectfully with those of you who hold those views. Why?

I might learn something.

Why? Because listening, and respect, and communication, and education—not close-mindedness—are vital not only to democracy but to any form of a kind, fair, just and intelligent society.

But, these days, largely thanks to the “like” culture that is Facebook and the “troll” culture that is Twitter, whenever we post about politics, we get a lot of hate.

And that’s sad. Because elephant is not liberal. I am. Elephant welcomes articles, and thoughtful articles particularly, from you, and you, and you, and you—from anyone, of any view, as long as it’s thoughtfully expressed without hate.

A photo posted by Waylon Lewis (@waylonlewis) on

We are not here to be “right.” We are here to engage in respectful, enlightening dialogue. But when I posted our new Thanks Obama hat, or our new Hillary hat…wow. The hate is strong in America, right now. And that’s not Trump’s fault. That’s not Hillary’s fault. That’s our responsibility.

You and you and you and me, we have to remember how to disagree agreeably. To respect those we believe to be “wrong.” That doesn’t mean that we are weak, or that there is not truth, or that everything is relative. It means that we are more concerned with kindness and respect than self-righteousness. It means that we can agree to disagree, and live side by side.

Just as this nation is made up of vegans and meat-eaters—we’re never going to be all vegan—this nation is made up of conservatives, libertarians, socialists, and progressives. We’re not all ever going to agree. But diversity of view is as wonderful as diversity of culture. We can afford to live side by side with those we differ from, and to all have a good time together at a barbeque in my backyard or yours. That’s the notion of a melting pot. The diversity that made America truly great.

So next time someone showers you with hate—remember, you can learn from it. Don’t block it out. Take it in. Listen. Reply respectfully. If they return hatred yet again, they aren’t listening. Block the hell outtuv ’em. Let go. Move on. Deep breath.

So, whatever your view, as long as thoughtful—send it to us, and we’ll edit and feature it.

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

…If you want to check out our new Obama hat, or Clinton hat, or Boulder hat, you’re welcome to do so. Just spare me the hate.

Yours in the Vision of an Enlightened Society,

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