"'Kindness' covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this an am happy I lived long enough to find it out" ~ Roger Ebert
Not enough people in society today have learned that making ourselves, and others, happy is the real definition of kindness. We cannot make all people happy, but each person has the ability to touch the lives of others and do something, or say something, to make them happy. It could be something as simple as holding the door open for someone at the store, or restaurant. Or it could be something less subtle, like paying for the person's food or coffee behind you at the drive-thru, or making a donation to a charity of some kind.
Selfless acts have not completely disappeared, but they are few and far between during the time that humanity needs it the most. Violence is on the rise across the United States, and worldwide. Meaningless wars are being fought, children are being murdered, babies are being killed, and bully victims are taking their own lives because they feel like it is their only way out of a painful life. So we have to ask ourselves, when does it become too much? When do we put aside our differences and just start treating people like human beings instead of using labels and being hateful towards one another?
Two of the most volatile topics in the United States, as many will attest to, are politics and religion. You will hear people say all the time, "Don't talk about politics or religion, it will just turn in to a big argument". Why? Is it impossible for people to have genuine discussions without getting ugly with one another? It is okay to be passionate about a subject, but when that passion becomes hateful towards the other person and their own beliefs, then you know it has went too far.
I have personally been witness to many of these conversations, both in person and over Facebook. I once was out with a group of friends for drinks, and the topic of abortion came up at the table. One girl supported abortion only for specific cases (rape, incest, stillbirths), while the other supported them fully and had actually had an abortion at one point. The conversation escalated quickly and both girls actually had to be held back to avoid any sort of physical altercation. All because the two sides disagreed on one single issue.
Friends, and family members, have actually went as far as to remove me from Facebook because they did not like something that I said. I never say anything to be deliberately hateful towards someone, but like many I am firm in my beliefs and I support them with strong convictions. To simply disagree with someone should be no reason to get upset, or hateful towards them, it is not worth it.
Facebook has created an avenue for these types of debates on a much larger scale, with hundreds or thousands of people having the ability to get involved at any one time. It has also provided the safety for many people to say hurtful things without the fear of a physical altercation arising.
So the question is, when does it become enough? When do we realize that another person's words, while they can be hurtful, are simply just words. Our actions are the real determining factors to our character as individuals and as a nation. Yet here we are, in 2013, and we are still not all seen as equals. Women are inferior to men. Blacks are inferior to whites (even our President, thanks Congress), Hispanics are inferior to everyone, Atheists are inferior to Christians, Muslims are inferior to Christians (I sense a pattern with this one), and somehow Gay and Lesbian love is inferior to Man/Woman love and can be easily compared to bestiality.
As white men continue to slowly become the minority, they still hold most of the power. With this it appears that the intent is to hold on to that power, and hold everyone else back, for as long as possible. But what happens when that power is gone? Equality is something that should not be hard to comprehend, yet it is. Two people are not free to love each other, because they are the same sex. Gay high school boys are killing themselves because they are being teased for being gay, and that is something that should make the stomach's of everyone turn over. A child feels as though death is a better option than being relentlessly teased for being "different" because our society labels them that way.
I urge people to make a change. Look in the mirror and realize that you are not perfect. For the religious people, realize that you are not the judge of others, whatever deity you believe in is. Stop oppressing others, and being nasty to them because they look different, act different, talk different, or simply think different than you do. Whites and Blacks don't have to hate each other. Christians and Atheists don't have to hate each other. And Republicans and Democrats don't have to hate each other. Conversations are how we strengthen our minds, and how we learn and grow. Without growth we will never be able to fully emerge and live our lives. Engage one another, with love, and as Roger Ebert said, with kindness. You can never be too kind to another person, but hate has its limits.