Given protests and riots and slew upon slew of angry articles, I propose that we as a nation put a temporary ban on the words “Love” and “Respect.” Here’s why. NOBODY is being loving, and nobody is respecting anyone.
Besides that, what is love anyway? And what is respect? Some are going to say that both love and respect are something like being open to everything and there will be others who say they are more like being closed to most things. We don’t know. At least we don’t agree on what we’re sure we know. And like I said, nobody is practicing these things anyway.
Instead of using words like “Love” and claiming we are so damn “Respectful,” we ought to take a step back and use different words.
For a while we ought to focus on active listening. Understanding. Compassion and suffering with others. Making (generous) space for others in our lives, especially if we are different. Related to this is hospitality. We also out to use and practice concepts like serving others, making sacrifices for those in our care. We ought to practice mercy and forgiveness. We ought to practice long suffering in relationships instead of running away from everyone who makes us angry.
We all need to do this. Democrats, Republicans and 3rd parties. Conservatives and Liberals. Christians, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, and everyone else. Men and Women. Black and White. Old and young. Rich and poor. Sensible and idiotic. All of us are guilty of jumping to ill-informed conclusions about our most feared/hated Other. All of us have prioritized our own needs over the Other’s. All of us have a tendency to think our own experience is supreme and the most important. We have all been treating each other very badly.
All of us have needs. All of us have fears. All of us have insights and perspectives. All of us have something to offer. We can’t all get everything that we want, but those who tend to be receiving more can be extra mindful of their Others and practice even more generosity and compassion.
If we can do all of these things, and master these ideas, then we can dare to presume we know a little about respect. If these other things can become a reality for us, then Love will become more than a dream.