My Hope for More Healing in 2023
I got an unexpected Facebook message from someone I had unfriended a couple of years back. We disagree on politics, and I just could not handle all the hateful rhetoric in their feed. So, I clicked the unfriend button. This person hopes we can be friends again. "I am more for human beings than for politicians. I've had enough of them," they wrote. I agreed. I am pro-kindness and pro-humanity.
I was really close to this person as a kid. We grew up together. It amazes me how two people side-by-side can develop into two completely different humans. But that's part of life's beauty. It's diverse. Diverse in thought, diverse in culture and therefore diverse in experience.
If we were all the same -- looked the same, thought the same and behaved the same -- it would be a boring life without new ideas. Why do we insist on surrounding ourselves with people who are just like us?
A world full of writers but no engineers, nurses, lawyers or fry cooks would not be a productive or collaborative world. Our differences are important. Our individual contributions are important. Our diverse experiences inform our differing perspectives. All of this leads to a happier, healthier world if we can just celebrate those differences instead of judging them.
We need to be open to productive discourse with the objective of contributing solutions to community issues. But Americans seem to have devolved into divisive us-versus-them identity camps that follow extreme political rhetoric.
We will not get the good work done until we sit down and have hard conversations with the true intentions of contributing -- not judging. Helping. This means making sure everyone is represented at the table. We cannot continue to have a majority of white, wealthy men as our solution-making teams. Political, community or otherwise. Both locally and nationally, people most affected by the laws and policies being developed must also have a voice in the development of said legislation and policy.
This outreach and inclusion start at home, just like everything else. If you value what happens in your community then behave as if you do. Engage with your community. Stop watching national politics on cable news networks. They only serve to fuel your rage and foster your vitriol for the "other side." Get local. Learn what your local community needs and what they are doing to address those issues. Find your seat at the table.
Local government, local organizations and local issues are where the rubber hits the road in your town. You don't have to run for city council, but you can show up to community meetings or sit on a local nonprofit board. Support an area of interest that means something to you. It's as simple as showing up at your school board meeting or volunteering for your local library, soup kitchen, YMCA or community church.
2023 is brand-new and for me it's full of hope. It sparked when my dear friend reached out. Yes. Let's keep talking. Let's lay the groundwork for kindness, speak without name-calling and be part of community solutions.
"I want to engage in our human-ness," I wrote to my friend. I know this person to be a good, loving individual. I'm grateful they are back in my life. It's a great way to start the new year.
Check out Bonnie's weekly YouTube videos at https://www.youtube.com/bonniejeanfeldkamp. To find out more about Bonnie Jean Feldkamp and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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